Reuben Sandwiches w/ Slow-Cooker Tofu “Corned Beef”

Posted by Noelle on April 21st, 2012
Categories: Entrees, Sandwiches

One of my first ever vegan food experiences, before I was even a vegan, was a Reuben sandwich from Liquid Earth in Baltimore, MD. I took a bite and literally almost fell off my chair... It. was. that. good. It's one of the places that I hope will be serving up good vegan food anytime I want in the afterlife. Anyways, they made their "meat" with tofu, and man it was amazing... It inspired me to work over the years on my own tofu "meat" creations. That's right, it inspired me for years. Really, it was that good 🙂 Tofu is wonderful thing, if you get brave and experiment, it will most often surprise you with it's versatility and adaptability. This recipe is my take on a vegan Reuben. Let me apologize now for the lack of vegan cheese, I just don't like it. Even the ones that everyone seems to love, I just don't. So I go without. If you like it, please feel free to add it. Don't be scared by the long list of ingredients, they are mostly the foundation for the pickling spices. In fact, you could cheat and just buy pickling spices, but I didn't have any in the cupboards when I made this. Everything gets thrown in a slow cooker or crockpot, if you will, and cooks with little attention needed. Several hours later you will have meaty, spiced slices of tofu ready to be smothered in gourmet thousand island sauce and topped with a mountain of sauerkraut. Oh yes, I did say gourmet thousand island sauce. What makes it special? Dill pickles, and wait for it... capers. It's like they were meant to be together, you'll understand when you taste it. I like to control my sugar, so the standard sweetened pickle relish is not for me. This gets sweetened perfectly by agave. The capers are what really makes the sauce shine. I lucked out and found this beautiful loaf of organic marble rye for this Reuben photo shoot. Thank you universe! Hoping the universe will be just as kind to you too 🙂


Tofu "Corned Beef":

Thousand Island Sauce:

Remaining Reuben Ingredients:


For the tofu "corned beef"... Combine all ingredients for the tofu "corned beef" except the tofu and oil in your slow cooker or crockpot, stirring to mix well. Set the temperature to high. Next preheat a thin layer of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Now it's time to cook the tofu, I do this in batches... add a single layer of tofu slices to the hot pan and cook until golden, usually a few minutes. Flip the tofu and cook the next side until golden and crispy, then remove to a plate covered with a couple paper towels. Cook the remaining tofu slices in as many batches as you need to until they are all golden and crispy. Place all the cooked tofu slices into the slow cooker pushing them down to be submerged in the liquid. Put the lid on and let it hang out for 4-6 hours. Check on it occasionally, and carefully stir or rearrange the tofu as needed to make sure everyone gets a chance to absorb the cooking liquids. Taste after a few hours and stop it whenever you are happy with the flavor. You can turn it down to low or warm if it seems to be cooking too quickly or if you're not quite ready to eat. It's ok to leave it in the slow cooker as long as there is still enough broth to keep the tofu moist.

When the tofu is close to being done, squeeze the diced pickles in paper towels until a good bit of the liquid goes out, then in a small bowl combine them with all the other thousand island sauce ingredients, folding gently until well combined. You want to be gentle with the Vegenaise as it tends to break down and get watery if stirred too much. Removing some of the juice from the pickles also helps it to stay thick. Taste and add salt if needed. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

In a small saucepan, heat the sauerkraut over medium heat until hot.

Now you are ready to assemble the Reuben sandwiches. Take 2 pieces of toast and spread sauce on both sides. Next grab several slices of tofu "corned beef" out of the slow cooker, patting them dry before placing them on top of the sauce on one of the pieces of toast. Add a big spoonful of sauerkraut, again making sure to let the juices run off first, onto the tofu slices, then top with the remaining piece of toast, sauce side down of course. Carefully cut in half with a sharp knife. Place on the nearest plate, repeat with remaining toasts, etc until you have 4 sandwiches. Now go find someplace to enjoy these quick, so your toast does not get soggy. This recipe makes 4 large NY deli style sandwiches 🙂