Kenny’s Favorite Vegan Recipe: Tempeh Reuben

What is tempeh?  Tempeh (pronounced “tem-pay”) is cultured soybeans, water, and brown rice.  It is an ancient food from Indonesia that is “savory and versatile.”  It is high in protein (22g in 4 ounces) and fiber (12 g in 4 ounces) and a good source of calcium and iron.

Where can I buy tempeh? If you live near a Whole Foods, that is a great place to buy tempeh.  It is also starting to show up in grocery stores!  I shop at Kroger, and I can get it there in the Nature’s Market section.  You can also check your local health food store.

Tempeh Reuben Recipe


Reuben Sandwiches:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf (or thyme)
  • 8 oz tempeh, sliced
  • 6 slices rye bread, toasted
  • 3 slices vegan cheese (e.g., Teese or Daiya) optional
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut

Thousand Island Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup Vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise)
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp sweet relish


  • Combine first 4 ingredients in frying pan over medium heat, then add tempeh and bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Toast bread.
  • Remove from heat and drain tempeh.
  • Put tempeh slices on 3 slices of bread.  Top with cheese.  Leave open-faced.
  • Broil or toast 3-5 minutes.
  • Top with 1/4-1/2 cup sauerkraut on each sandwich.
  • Put dressing on top of sauerkraut and place other slice of rye bread on top.
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • Makes 3 sandwiches.
eating our delicious, messy sandwiches!

tempeh rueben with maple cayenne brussels sprouts and a pickle. Didn’t get a picture in time to see the plate before it was all messy!

What great recipes have you tried with tempeh?

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19 thoughts on “Kenny’s Favorite Vegan Recipe: Tempeh Reuben

  1. Thanks, I’ve been contemplating taking the tempeh plunge ever since I learned the health benefits of this and other unfermented soy products. Question: what is the texture of tempeh? Is it soft and mushy in this ruben sandwich above? Just curious! It sounds great.

  2. Pingback: 7 Day Vegan Meal Plan | heallovebe

  3. Pingback: Plant-Based Sources of Protein and Iron | HealLoveBe

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