Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich

This vegetarian Reuben features rye bread, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and creamy, savory Russian dressing to make one incredibly delicious sandwich.

The Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich

There’s something about tangy Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and rye bread that’s terribly comforting and homey. The Reuben sandwich has something figured out. Alex and I eat a flexitarian diet, meaning that we eat vegan and vegetarian most of the time and meat some of the time. But we wanted to find a way to make a Reuben without the meat so that it could appear at our dinner table more often!

Related: Coleslaw & Swiss Melt Sandwich (a vegetarian Reuben with coleslaw!)

Vegetarian Reuben sandwich

How to make a vegetarian Reuben sandwich

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. So this Reuben sandwich features Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing: almost like a grilled cheese! The main part of preparing this vegetarian Reuben is making the Russian dressing; it’s a super savory mix of mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, and minced shallot. You’ll be blown away by the flavor!

This vegetarian Reuben sandwich is 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. 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!

Make your own sauerkraut

If you’re into kitchen DIYs, you can even make your own sauekraut for this reuben sandwich! It only takes about 15 minutes of hands on time, then you’ll wait about 6 days for the full fermentation to happen. Homemade sauerkraut tastes way better, and you get the full benefit of all the live probiotics! To learn more, head to How to Make Sauerkraut.

More sandwich recipes

Outside of this vegetarian Reuben sandwich, here are some other sandwich recipes we love:

This recipe is…

This vegetarian Reuben recipe is vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free bread.

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Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (14 votes, average: 4.43 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This vegetarian Reuben features rye bread, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and creamy, savory Russian dressing to make one incredibly delicious sandwich.


  • 1/2 recipe Easy Russian Dressing
  • 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • Swiss cheese, shredded
  • Butter


  1. Make the Easy Russian Dressing.
  2. Squeeze the liquid from 1 1/2 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.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegetarian reuben, Vegetarian recipes with sauerkraut

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • 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
      Lori Layden
      January 17, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      Made this sandwich for lunch today. Outstanding!

  • 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
    [email protected]
    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.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Sorry to write here so long after this recipe was originally posted…but I wanted to say that I’ve made this Reuben sandwich (following your recipe to a tee) countless times now and it’s so damn good!! My fiancé, who is not vegetarian, loves it too. Looking forward to trying more recipes of yours ;)

    • Reply
      July 26, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      No need to apologize — thank YOU for letting us know! This is a favorite of ours too. We’re so glad you enjoy it!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Easy to veganize, too! To save time you can also use prepared dill relish.

    • Reply
      March 14, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      Yes! Great time saving idea — thank you!

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