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RECIPE: Tempeh Reuben

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

Get your mouths ready for this fermented food extravaganza of a meal! Nearly every part of this meal has a fermented food in it!!

A traditional Reuben would normally contain pastrami, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Instead of pastrami, we went for the fermented food powerhouse tempeh!

Tempeh (pronounced tem – pei) is native to Indonesia and is made using fungal spores of Rhizopus Oligosporus. Traditionally made with soya beans, the spores act as a binding agent to bind together cooked soya beans and produce a firm, meat like texture patty. Tempeh is widely used as a meat substitute in western countries, but we like to consider it in a category of its own. Tempeh is plant-based and can be made with any combination of pulses (legumes) and grains.

For this recipe we used homemade tempeh, but commercial tempeh can usually be found at various health food stores and some Asian markets. Look for it in the frozen section or in jars on the shelf.

Tempeh Reuben (vegetarian or vegan)

Ingredients (serves 2)


½ block of tempeh (sliced in half)

4 slices of hearty bread (we used homemade sourdough)

2 slices of Swiss or Emmental cheese (or vegan cheese if you prefer)

1 Jar of Crafty Kraut

Marinade for tempeh

1 tbsp soya sauce (or equivalent)

1 tbsp rapeseed oil (or equivalent)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp of marmite

A few drops of liquid smoke (optional)

1 clove of garlic (finely minced)

Pepper to taste

Russian dressing

3 tbsp mayonnaise (vegan or regular)

3 tbsp ketchup

2 tsp of Sriracha or equivlant (optional)

1 tsp or prepared horseradish (can use whole grain mustard if you can’t find horseradish)

½ tsp. smoked paprika

5 chives (chopped finely)


1. Take the sliced tempeh and place in a container with the marinade. Marinate for at least 1 hour or longer.

2. Meanwhile prepare the Russian dressing in a small dish and place in the refrigerator to chill.

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Once hot place the marinated tempeh in the pan and let it sizzle away! Flip after 5-7 minutes. Place cheese on

top of each piece of tempeh and cook for a further 5 minutes or so.

4. While the tempeh cooks get the bread toasted. Once toasted, smear a generous amount of Russian dressing on each slice.

5. Tempeh is done cooking when it’s a bit charred on both sides and cheese is melted.

6. Transfer cooked tempeh to bread and top with a generous portion of Crafty Kraut!

7. Enjoy this luscious creation!

Had a go? We want to know! Tag us @craftypickleco on Facebook and Instagram

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