15 In Main Courses

The Vegetarian Reuben

The Vegetarian Reuben | A Couple CooksThe Vegetarian Reuben | A Couple Cooks

Here’s another sandwich, one from our archives that we wanted to re-photograph and post again because it’s just that good. There’s something about tangy Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and rye bread that’s terribly comforting and homey. While we’ve tried vegetarian versions of the Reuben sandwich with meat substitutes (for example, tempeh), we’ve found that it’s just as satisfying to omit the meat entirely. Essentially a Reuben grilled cheese, it’s a nice quick dinner or special lunch with family or friends, alongside a green salad or some sweet potato fries.

It may not be classic “health food” fare, but we’re strong believers in the fact that simply making food at home is the first step towards health. When you know exactly what’s going into your food, it’s much easier to keep it balanced and focused on real, natural foods (including mayonnaise, which we use sparingly but have included it here since it’s essential to the flavor).

A meal like this is often just what we need after a long day at work: not too involved, but still tasty enough to feel like a special meal. Hope you enjoy!

The Vegetarian Reuben
Serves: 4
What You Need
  • 1 small shallot (2 tablespoons chopped)
  • 4 small dill pickles (2 tablespoons chopped)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 1½ cups sauerkraut
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • Swiss cheese, shredded
  • Butter
What To Do
  1. Make the Russian dressing: Finely dice 2 tablespoons shallot and 2 tablespoons dill pickles. In a small bowl, combine the chopped shallot and pickles with ¼ cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons ketchup, and a dash of hot sauce. Stir to combine.
  2. Squeeze the liquid from 1½ cups sauerkraut.
  3. Spread butter on one side of each of the 4 bread pieces. Heat a griddle pan to medium high heat. Place 4 pieces of bread on the griddle, buttered side down. On each piece, spread some shredded cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, more cheese, and then another piece of bread. When the bottom bread is browned, flip the sandwich and cook until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.


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  • Reply
    April 24, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Funny you should post this combo! The other day when I, oops, at all the sweet potato fries on my plate out to dinner, I also had a reuben with it. But I had to pull off most of the meat and really wanted more kraut instead. I think you are reading my mind! Love it and am making this for lunch this weekend.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Thanks so much for posting this! I love vegetarian twists on classics that don’t try to substitute for the meat–I would much rather just omit it. My mouth is watering looking at this!

  • Reply
    molly yeh
    April 24, 2014 at 10:29 am

    omg this looks and sounds SO GOOD.

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    April 24, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Agreed that making food at home is the first step to health, and you do a good job of inspiring people to cook! I recently made Naturally Ella’s cheese toast with caramelized onions, grainy mustard, and cornichons. There’s something about that pickled component like here with the sauerkraut too that goes so well with cheese. This looks so good!

  • Reply
    Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
    April 24, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Holy smokes! This looks amazing – can’t wait to give it a try!

  • Reply
    Matt Robinson
    April 24, 2014 at 11:38 am

    This is literally the most perfect reuben I have ever seen. I’ve got to make this soon. Wow.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Yummy! I love sauerkraut. Thank you for this idea – it looks perfect for my (not sad) desk lunch :-)

  • Reply
    Jennifer Andrews
    April 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    This sandwich looks to-die-for! I’m not vegetarian but enjoy meatless meals quite frequently, so I plan to add this sandwich to my weeknight repertoire. The husband will also enjoy it which is always a bonus :)

  • Reply
    Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures
    April 25, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Love this! Our local co-op (Bloomingfoods) makes a Tofu Reuben and I always usually end up removing half the tofu because it’s too much. Love that you also agree that theres no harm leaving out the ‘filler protein’!

  • Reply
    April 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Yum!! I always feel a little bit left out when my friends rave about reubens, since I don’t eat red meat. These vegetarian reubens look super satisfying!

  • Reply
    Jess @whatjessicabakednext
    April 27, 2014 at 3:22 am

    This sounds and looks so delicious!

  • Reply
    April 28, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    This is hilarious, I find this post today and last night I attempted to teach my husband the art of making a authentic (meatless) reuben sandwich- he didn’t pile on nearly enough sauerkraut and *definitely* didn’t grill the sandwiches long enough. I said ‘Oh my god, I need to do a blog post about these!’ and of course, I couldn’t do it as you well as you have. I love that you shredded the Swiss! We had pickles, baked beans, and kale salad on the side- I like that you had fries, though. Fries go with everything!

  • Reply
    Nicole Brown
    May 16, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I mean… you guys should just open up a vegetarian home-style restaurant in Greece, NY. Immediately…and specifically Greece. :)

    I’m drooling over these meals! We don’t have many vegetarian restaurants out here… only restaurants that have options. Never anything like what you have on your page!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    I found your blog a few weeks ago and have been cooking things here and there with inspiration from you. Tonight’s vegetarian reuben really hit it out of the park. Thank you so much!

    • Reply
      November 17, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed this recipe.

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    Happy Cooking! ~ Sonja & Alex