If you’re looking for a delicious and hearty vegan Reuben sandwich recipe, you’ll love this meat-free Reuben. Made with Instant Pot corned beets, this sandwich is perfect if you are not a vegan meat fan.
This recipe will blow your mind, and it’s healthy too! The red beets are sliced thin on a mandolin, and I recommend that you pile them up high like a NYC deli does.
Corned beets are so easy to make in your electric pressure cooker. Just slice, cook in a marinade, and you are set. Plus, you can freeze any extra beets for later.
What is a Meat-free Reuben, Anyhow?
It’s just a plant-based variation of the classic Reuben with a few simple vegan instedient swaps. It’s made with sauerkraut, vegan Swiss cheese, and Russian or Thousand Island dressing.
We take the dairy out of those ingredients with non-dairy cheese and vegan dressing.
The traditional corned beef is replaced with corned beets, but other versions include tofu, tempeh, seitan, or even sweet potatoes!
What does a Reuben Taste Like?
It’s been decades since I had corned beef, but the star of the sandwich was never the meat for me. It’s the tanginess of the sauerkraut, the gooiness of the melted (vegan) cheese, and the melange of flavors from the Russian dressing.
If you make this on rye bread, you get that yummy flavor in every bite too.
What ingredients do I need to make corned beets?
In addition to the most important ingredient, thin slices of beet, you’ll need:
- Vegan beefy bouillon powder recipe – or a mushroom bouillon or mushroom powder. This adds a beefy flavor
- Pickle juice – use some from an open jar
- Worchestershire sauce – make sure it’s vegan! Many contain anchovies.
- Ground ginger
- Mustard powder
- Salt or salt substitute
- Ground black pepper
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Ground coriander
How do I make corned beets?
Use a mandoline to get consistently thin slices of the beet. Add these to your Instant Pot with the marinade.
Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, then manually release the pressure.
If you aren’t using the beets now, store them in the marinade in the fridge.
Not a beet fan? Alternatives and Substitutions
I love beets, but I know not everyone is a fan. You don’t have to give up this sandwich, just cook one of these in the marinade, sliced thin where you can,.
- sweet potatoes
- soy curls
What ingredients do I need to make a plant-based Reuben?
Once your beets are ready to go, you’ll need a few other ingredients to make the whole sandwich.
- bread – preferably marble rye for the prettiest sandwich possible or your favorite gluten-free bread
- sauerkraut – homemade or store-bought
- vegan cheese slices – my fav is Violife smoked Gouda slices
- Russian or 1000 island dressing – make sure to find a vegan version or in a pinch, try the hack below to make a quick and easy version
What’s the difference between Russian and 1000 island dressing?
The classic Reuben sandwich is usually made with Russian dressing, a combination of mayonnaise, ketchup, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and various spices like mustard and paprika, plus a punch from horseradish.
However, some recipes opt for 1000 island dressing instead, which is made from a mix of vegan mayonnaise, relish or chopped pickles, and ketchup.
While both dressings add a delicious flavor to the sandwich, the 100 Island offers a slightly sweeter taste, while the Russian is more spicy and savory.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which dressing to use on your Reuben.
What can I substitute for sauerkraut?
If you are looking to make a Reuben but don’t have any sauerkraut, there are a few options, though it’s best with it if you have time to grab some at the store.
Plant based Reuben sandwich lovers need not worry if sauerkraut is not available. Substituting vegan coleslaw for sauerkraut is an easy way to enjoy a vegan sandwich.
You can also just use this easy boiled cabbage recipe and leave out the butter or use vegan butter.
For a similar effect, pickle relish or diced red onions with apple cider vinegar may be added. With these simple substitutions, a delicious vegan Reuben sandwich can be enjoyed in no time.
Ack – I don’t have dressing! What can I do?
Mix up vegan mayo and ketchup until it’s the perfect dark pink color, then add in some pickle relish or chopped pickles. Enjoy!
Missing the traditional Swiss cheese?
I prefer a nice smoky vegan cheese, but you can get Daiya Swiss and keep an eye out for local brands that might make that flavor.
While I do recommend a mandoline, you can use a sharp knife and cut as thin as you can in a pinch.
This recipe is for an Instant Pot, but you can cook it on the stove, and simmer until the beets are done.
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Assembling the sandwiches
The preparation process for making the sandwich is easy. Assemble the ingredients around a cutting board.
Your first decision is will you grill them or not. If you are, heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat or get out that panni press you never use – now is its big moment!
I pan fry mine dry, but you can add some vegan butter or even plant-based mayo on the outside of the bread to crisp it up more.
Then layer a slice of vegan cheese, the sauerkraut, the corned beets, some of the dressing. Put on the top piece of bread.
If you grill or not you’ll enjoy this sandwich with a few napkins – it can be messy!
Grilled sandwich tip
It helps to have 2 pieces of cheese – one on the top piece of the bread, and the other on the bottom.
When it gets hot and melts, the cheese helps keep your sandwich from falling apart.
What vegan sides should I serve with this vegan recipe?
The vegan Reuben sandwich is great served with air-fried chips, veggie sticks, or some slaw.
- Vegan Instant Pot Baked Beans
- Air Fryer Potato Chips with No Oil
- Vegan Instant Pot Brazilian Potato Salad
Looking for more vegan sandwich recipes?
- Gluten-free Vegan Hot Dogs
- Instant Pot Orange Lime Chile Jackfruit
- Cauliflower Po’ Boy Sandwiches
- Air Fryer Vegan Crab Cakes
- Sloppy Buffalo Beans
Instant Pot Corned Beets (or Jackfruit)
- 1 large red beet peeled and sliced thin using a mandoline (or 1 can young jackfruit in water or brine)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons Vegan Beefy Bouillon Powder , recipe at https://healthyslowcooking.com/vegan-beef-broth/
- 1 tablespoon pickle juice I used some from a dill pickle jar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt or salt substitute
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch ground ginger
- Pinch mustard powder
- Add all the broth ingredients to your instant pot and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- Serve on toasted rye (rye swirl if possible) with Russian dressing and sauerkraut