During a visit to Seattle a couple of years ago, my husband and I stopped in for a bite at the Wayward Vegan Cafe. I don’t remember what I ordered, but my husband got their tempeh reuben and it was the greasiest, clumsiest sandwich I’ve ever seen. It was also one of the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever tried. I’ve attempted to recreate it here, and added a touch of sriracha to the vegenaise spread, which complimented the sweet smokiness of the tempeh, the brininess of the sauerkraut and the gooeyness of the daiya mozzarella. After the first bite, this instantly became our favorite weekend lunch.
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 package of tempeh, preferably pre-sliced
a few dashes of liquid smoke
a few dashes of soy sauce
1 TB dark brown sugar
dark rye bread, sliced
Earth Balance spread
Daiya or Vegan Gourmet vegan cheese, mozzarella style
prepared raw sauerkraut
4 TB Vegenaise
1 tsp sriracha, plus more to taste
In a dry skillet, lightly toast the cumin seeds over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Set aside.
Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the slices of tempeh and saute until nicely browned, about 5 minutes for each side. Before removing the tempeh to cool, sprinkle with a few dashes of liquid smoke and soy sauce. Toss in the brown sugar and flip the tempeh until well coated. Remove the tempeh to cool, and wipe out any brown sugar that may remain in the skillet.
Butter the bread with plenty of earth balance. Place in the skillet and sprinkle with a thin layer of vegan cheese over the top. While you are waiting for the bread to crisp, make the sandwich dressing by mixing together the Vegenaise and desired amount of sriracha. Set aside.
Once the bread is nicely browned and the cheese is slightly melted, remove from the skillet.
To assemble the sandwiches, place some raw sauerkraut on top of the cheese, sprinkling it with some of the toasted cumin seeds. Layer the tempeh over that, and then spread the sriracha-vegenaise dressing over that. Serve warm.