A Rueben sandwich hits the spot for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The core ingredients are hardy amounts of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and dressing between slices of rye bread.
If looking for an alternative, other high-protein foods such as turkey, turkey pastrami, or a vegetarian’s choice tempeh can be substituted for corned beef.
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product combined with another grain, such as barley, and other flavours and spices, making for a distinct texture experience and a somewhat nutty taste. You do not have to be a vegetarian to enjoy tempeh and it has a completely different taste than tofu.
Tempeh is a great source of protein packing in as much protein as corned beef. Tempeh as a vegetarian protein source is considerably higher in protein with 16 grams compared to 9 grams for tofu and is naturally cholesterol-free and low in sodium, fat, and calories.
Nothing compares to the taste of corned beef, turkey, pastrami or tempeh, and they make for a great modern day Reuben sandwich and protein source for St. Patrick’s Day or any other meal time.
Irish traditions that go well with a Reuben are anything with a potato such as baked potato wedges or potato salad, and for a drink Irish Breakfast tea or Irish Coffee with or without alcohol.
Being third generation Irish, my memories of St. Patrick’s celebrations were being the hostess at my aunt’s and my parent’s parties. They invited almost everyone they knew as a form of saying thank you. My mother would cook for weeks ahead of time in preparation of the party. Reuben sandwiches wrapped in foil straight from the oven were one of my favourites. My aunt would invite her friends on another evening to have an Irish Coffee or two or three. This year, it is tempeh Reubens at our house capped off by an Irish Coffee.
Traditional Reuben With a Modern Twist
Makes 1 serving
2 slices dark rye, pumpernickel, marbled, or hardy grain wheat bread
Thousand Island dressing or Russian dressing
Slice Swiss cheese or vegan cheese
Sauerkraut, drained well (rinse before draining if you want a milder taste)
Tempeh or a generous amount of sliced turkey, pastrami, or corned beef
Preheat oven to 200º C (400º F).
If using tempeh, cut into 5 mm (1/4-inch) thick strips and brown in a well oiled frying pan. Spread a generous helping of dressing on one side of bread slice and spread butter on the other slice. On buttered slice, add tempeh, turkey, pastrami, or corned beef and sauerkraut, adjusting the amount to your taste, then add Swiss cheese. Put bread with dressing on top of sauerkraut.Wrap sandwich in foil and heat approximately 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and sandwich is hot. Cooking variations: Basting the tempeh with Worcestershire sauce or 15 mL (1 tbsp) of Balsamic vinegar mixed with 5 mL (1 tsp) of dried mustard.
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