- 1 package Tempeh (this is your "meat"), cut into 4 thin sections
- 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
- 4 ounces swiss cheese, sliced thin
- 4 tablespoons Russian dressing, or not
- 8 slices Rye bread, You can use my Rye soda bread recipe or store bought
- 8 sprays Bragg's Amino Acid, or a light brushing of soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons butter or margarine
- Start by removing the tempeh from its package. It will be longer than it is wide. Take a knife down the middle making two long thin slices and then cut those in half. You should have 4 thin squares of tempeh. Spray both sides with the Braggs or brush on a light coat of soy sauce. I then heat them in a non-teflon, non-stick pan. I don't use any oil but you could use a small amount of peanut oil if you are looking to amp up the browning process. I prefer to save the calories. Tempeh is a good meat substitute as it can absorb seasoning and keep a "meat-like" texture.
- Butter one side of each piece of bread. Lay in a non-teflon, non-stick skillet the 4 pieces of bread buttered side down. Lay in the sliced swiss cheese. Then layer in the drained saurerkraut. Once the tempeh is hot and brown lay that on top of the sauerkraut and top with the other piece of buttered bread. The buttered side is facing out so it will touch the skillet when you flip the sandwiches over.
- Turn the heat on medium and let sandwich brown along with melting the cheese on one side for 5-8 minutes. Check at 5 minutes. When the bread is nicely brown carefully flip the sandwich. At the bottom of the pictures you can see the tool I use to flip the sandwiches. It keeps all the sandwich together and keeps you from burning your fingertips. Not like that's ever happened!
The legend behind this sandwich can be found on my "Rye, whole wheat and soda bread" blog. It was born because I am impatient when I get a taste for something. I like to serve this sandwich with sweet potato fries. They are fast, easy, and delicious. To make your own sweet potato fries just scrub and peel the potatoes. Next, slice them long, "steak-fry" style. I then put them in a large bowl, add 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of a neutral tasting oil, Lastly, transfer your steak fries to a roasting pan or aluminum foil covered cookie pan and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 400 degree oven. They are a go-to favorite in this house. I serve them with my homemade cinnamon ketchup. Since, I know you'lI like my own cinnamon ketchup, I'll be blogging about how to make this yummy condiment very soon!
As for the Russian dressing, I used to use it, but it's too high in sugar, and frankly, the sandwich has so many other flavors going for it, you may just want to skip it too. If you don't have any Russian dressing handy or don't want a whole bottle of it, you can whip up your own. Just take a tablespoon of mayo, a tablespoon of ketchup, and add a teaspoon of pickle relish. That will get you pretty close!
Also, if you don't have the time or energy for making your own rye soda bread, you can of course, buy a loaf of rye at the grocery. I have yet to find a "real" loaf of rye bread. It's always white flour disguised as rye. I also thought I could substitute with pumpernickel bread. This is rye-based but that too was made with white flour using either carmel coloring or molasses. So now you see why I make my own bread! White flour just doesn't offer much in the nutrition arena.
This is a super fast comfort food that will make you feel like you are eating at your favorite deli, just a more healthy version of an old classic. Try it tonight!
Update: I have found that Trader Joe's has a house brand Sprouted Rye bread that is delicious and works great in this recipe. Also check out my Rye/Oat bread with dried onions and caraway seed blog. It also makes a fabulous Vegetarian rueben. It pairs well with a fresh red pear.