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Vegetarian Reuben with Homemade Russian Dressing

January 15, 2011

My friend David, who has his own music review/novice cooking blog, and I occasionally walk  across the street and have sandwiches at this odd little sandwich/sushi/ happy hour joint in Van Ness called Epicurean. It is the sort of place one should never recommend, but is very grateful to work near. Have an urge for a giant salad bar? check? Want lunchtime sushi to go made right in front of you? Yup. An urge for a hot sandwich with fries? Uh huh. Need unusual Japanese candy? Check. Want to meet your co-workers after work at a $2 Happy Hour? Well, they have that too. None of it is good, but all of it is close to our work.

The hot sandwiches have slim pickings for vegetarians, so David and I like to convince the staff that they have a vegetarian Reuben on menu. Usually our request, “Uh Yeah, I would like a Reuben, but with a veggie burger,” meets confusion and consternation. There is whispering behind the counter, sour looks. “You know you have made this for me.” More discussion behind the counter. Eventually, they make it for us, but, the next time we meet the same debate and discussion. On several occasions they have told me I can’t order it. Instead, they compile all the ingredients that make up a Vegetarian Reuben, and then charge me the same price. I am not really sure why, but it makes for an entertaining lunch trip.

When deciding to make a Reuben, I realized that Russian dressing isn’t really sold in stores anymore. Gone with the days of fruitcake and jello molds, most companies don’t make the dressing. That’s ok though, because making the dressing is super easy. I also chose to try pumpernickel bread and fresh cabbage with this recipe, instead of the traditional rye and saurkraut, the former was not at the store and the latter kind of scares me. I know, totally unorthodox, but hey it is already vegetarian, so why not take it an extra step? I used a pannini press for the recipe, but if you don’t have one do what my mom did growing up, make it like grilled cheese in a pan and push down on it with your tea kettle or a heavy dish. Finally, I do use a frozen veggie burger with this. It works best, and well most vegetarians have them in their freezer for backup at BBQs, why not find another use for it? I made the recipe below for two, but you can easily adjust this recipe for the number you need, especially since the dressing makes enough for the sandwiches and additional salads.

Vegetarian Reuben with Homemade Russian Dressing

Sandwich Elements

  • 4 slices of pumpernickel bread
  • 2 defrosted veggie burger of your choosing
  • 1 cup of cabbage sliced and chopped
  • 4  slices of Swiss cheese (optional, Vegans remove)
  • Spray oil

Russian Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tb of mayo (regular, lowfat, veganaise, or whatever )
  • 1 tb and 1 tsp of ketchup
  • 1 tb of relish (or chopped gherkins for an extra treat)
  • 1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce

1. Heat up your panini press or pan.
2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour the majority of the dressing, leaving a thick coat,  into a separate container for a salad on another day. Then lightly toss the dressing with the cabbage.
3. Assemble your sandwich: bread, then veggie burger, then Russian dressing cabbage, then Swiss cheese, then bread.


4. Place on a sprayed panini press or a pan and cook until the Swiss cheese is melted and the burger is cooked.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2011 11:53 am

    Now, I’m staaaaaarrrving, thx for the treat!

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