Tempeh Reuben Salad with Vegan 1,000 Island Dressing

by Sarah on June 5, 2012 · 8 comments

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about Blend, but I did warn you it would be a long time before I stopped, right?

Although there was plenty of planned time together, including many meals and fitness activities, one of the most fun parts of Blend was the opportunity to simply explore Boulder a little bit, and enjoy the “Colorado vibe.”*

*I really believe it can only be described as a vibe.Thus, on Saturday evening, Maria,  Jen, and I found ourselves at Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, which I immediately wanted to go to upon hearing Ashley say it was “inexpensive” with a “variety of foods” and “very Colorado.” [Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!]

The fact that there was a chalkboard involved only further solidified my decisions as a good one.

Since I had spent the day becoming a (faux) fitness guru–with boot camp, followed by mountain climbing, followed by yoga–a salad just wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, my eyes were drawn with a force I couldn’t resist to the words “Tempeh Reuben.”

Also the words "Vegan 1000 Island." Because that meant dressing made with ketchup. And that made me happy.

The sandwich was amazing. (And I know Heather agrees.) I ordered it without cheese, but the dressing oozed out over the incredibly tasty beer-baked tempeh on absolutely phenomenal fresh, thick rye bread.

Oh my goll, y’all. Yes. It was as good as it looks.

I (of course) have been fixated on it ever since. And (of course) I couldn’t just recreate it.

 I had to go and turn this––into this.

You see, I don’t really eat a lot of sandwiches. Therefore, I don’t really eat a lot of bread. So, although I do love a good slice when I get it (especially of sourdough and rye), I didn’t want to invest in a loaf of bread that I would then feel financially (and morally–hate waste…hate it!) obligated to consume.

Besides. Tempeh is made with whole grains. That’s almost like eating bread, right? 

But before I could take on this “vegan protein powerhouse,”* I had to assemble the other key reuben components.

*That this package bears this label only makes me love Trader Joe (and yes, I do mean the imaginary man behind the store) even more. The sauerkraut was easy. In the process of moving I realized I still had a can of my absolute favorite sauerkraut–which I have not been able to find outside of Texashoarded stashed away for just the right time.

Obviously, the time had come.

The Vegan 1,000 Island was a little bit trickier to tackle. I could have taken the obvious route and simply subbed the mayo in the traditional dressing for a vegan mayo. But when do I ever do anything obvious? Instead I figured, “Why not put soy on soy?” and took advantage of the tofu I had bought a long while back and never used.I combined 1/4 block of tofu with 1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon dill relish, 1 tbsp. finely chopped onion, and a half-teaspoon (or so) of tamari (instead of the standard not-always-vegan-friendly Worchestershire).Yeah, be skeptical. If I didn’t love pickles and ketchup so much, I would be, too. But whirred together in the food processor with some water or tofu soaking liquid creates something rather magically delicious.*

*Although I would NOT suggest pairing with Lucky Charms.For the tempeh, I didn’t feel the need to attempt to recreate the “beer baked” aspect of the original. Instead I just quickly cooked them in a fairly dry pan with a good glug or two of tamari.Since I’d left out the rye bread, I figured a sprinkling of caraway seeds would do the trick. (And they did. They made it, I think.)

It was so good, I found myself saying, “I want to eat that all over again right now.” Of course, eating it wasn’t all that pretty.

But then again, neither is the inevitable drizzling of 1,000 Island and sauerkraut down your chin when you bite into a really good Reuben sandwich. (At least, it’s inevitable for me…)

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count June 5, 2012 at 7:47 am

This looks so tasty!!

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Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers June 5, 2012 at 7:53 am

Mmmm, I’m a big kraut fan. Luckily the hubs is too, so I can buy big jars of the stuff. Well, not Costco size jars, but you know…

Oh, and that’s my fav brand of tempeh. Sooooo yummy!

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Liz @ iheartvegetables June 5, 2012 at 8:07 am

This is why we’re soulmates. Well, not THIS but this is one more thing to add to the list. I do the same thing, turning sandwiches into salads/veggie scrambles, because I can’t justify buying bread for one thing!!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table June 5, 2012 at 8:19 am

That place was amazing – I STILL think about their Reuben. Your version looks amazing, as always. trying this as soon as I get back! :)

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sarah @ sarah learns June 5, 2012 at 9:12 am

oh yum! i love reubens and while i’m not usually one to try vegan versions of dishes that i am perfectly ok with consume non-vegan versions of, this one looks great too! and i do enjoy some tempeh! :)

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Claire @ Live and Love to Eat June 5, 2012 at 9:56 am

I LOVE TJ’s tempeh. The best!

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Tricia @ Saving room for dessert June 5, 2012 at 10:49 am

Wow – this one looks like a real winner! Glad you had such a great time in Boulder. If I had known I could have introduced you to my triplet nephews (all age 24 and handsome) living in Boulder. Sounds like you were pretty busy anyway :) I lived in Denver and the surrounding area for 5 years some time ago. Nice place!

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Brittany @ Delights and Delectables June 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm

That looks so good!! I wish that tempeh was gluten free! We need to arrange a girls weekend so we can just hang out and go eat and be foodies together! :) Miss you friend.

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