I’ve always been a huge sandwich fan.
I think it has to do with the infinite amount of possibilities and the fact that there really are no rules when it comes to sandwich making. They can be intricate and complex or the simplest of simple.
My childhood favorites were peanut butter + jelly, turkey + cheese, and open-faced salami + swiss cheese sandwiches.
While sandwiches aren’t quite as fun with the mostly lackluster gluten-free bread options they definitely still hit the spot. Udi’s GF Whole Grain is my typical bread of choice these days but while we were in North Carolina I stumbled on thee.best.ever. gluten-free bread from Sami’s Bakery [based out of Tampa, FL].
This bread was the gluten-free bread option at Rosetta’s in Asheville [where I first found it] and it was so “real” tasting that I had to ask the waitress if it was really gluten-free! I then found it at the local co-op and Whole Foods.
It was this millet + flax bread which also happens to be vegan. The ingredients look so simple that I think I might try and recreate it. When we were at the co-op they also had a millet banana walnut sandwich bread, which I obviously bought. I devoured it in 3 days. Oh my word. It was subtly sweet with a hint of banana and walnuts studded throughout. Pretty spectacular for a PB + J. I was kind of freaking out. Chris said it was definitely the best GF bread he’s tried of mine. The texture was the most similar to “real” bread and it didn’t weigh 37 pounds per slice. It was light and fluffy and…okay, I’ll stop now.
If you’re gluten-free get your hands on Sami’s Bakery bread!!! [Please note that Sami’s Bakery may not be a 100% gluten-free facility as a reader pointed out in the comments below. For your safety, please contact the bakery for more detailed information!]
So now that I’ve gone on + on about gluten-free bread I’m going to show you photographs with marble rye bread that is obviously not gluten-free. Nice, right? I bought the bread for Chris’s sandwich and it was just too pretty not to photograph.
This sandwich creation has been a long time coming here on the blog. It’s one I tried many years ago but just didn’t nail. It’s basically Chris’s favorite sandwich ever. Whenever he sees “tempeh reuben” on a menu he orders it. No questions.
This particular recipe is inspired by his #1 favorite tempeh reuben from Mountain Sun Pubs + Breweries. They beer bake their tempeh in one of their in-house brewed beers which completely tenderizes the tempeh and makes the sandwich. It’s not a strong beer flavor but if you think about it while eating you’ll notice the hint of beer. It’s served on toasted marble rye with all the fix-ins and nestled in a basket with a heap of fresh cut fries [that he quickly douses in malt vinegar].
Basically, a show stopper.
This sandwich was Chris’s birthday present and he was totally okay with that. Cookies for dessert.
My gluten sensitivity somehow excludes beer. Bread and other gluten food products are a no-go, but beer has never caused a bad reaction [except, you know, hangovers]. So I roll with what works for me. I do have a favorite GF brand of beer that is actually worth drinking if you’re on the lookout. Check below!
Beer Baked Tempeh Reubens gluten-free + vegan* options // yields 3 sandwiches
for the tempeh:
- 1, 8oz package tempeh
- 1, 12oz Wheat, Ale, or IPA beer, or Green’s gluten-free beer
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari
- 2 teaspoons stone ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free worcestershire sauce*
for the Russian/1000 Island dressing: adapted from: Russian Dressing
- 3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise*
- 3 tablespoons diced dill pickles
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free worcestershire sauce*
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of salt
for the sandwich:
- 6 slices of marble rye or gluten-free bread
- 6 slices of Jarslberg or swiss cheese*
- 3/4 – 1 cup sauerkraut
Preheat oven to 400* F. Slice tempeh into large strips about 1 1/2 inches wide and 4 inches in length. Then slice each strip to about 1/4-inch or so thickness [no thinner].
Pour the beer into a 9-10-inch pan and stir in the tamari, mustard, and worcestershire sauce. Place the strips of tempeh in the pan in a single layer and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until about 1/2 of the liquid has cooked off. Flip once and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the last bit of liquid is simmering in the pan.
Place about 3/4 – 1 cup sauerkraut [for 3 sandwiches] on a towel and blot to soak up some of the liquid. Place in a bowl to come to room temperature about 30 minutes before assembly.
While the tempeh bakes place 3 tablespoons of mayo in a bowl. After dicing the pickles place them in a fine mesh strainer and drain the liquid or blot mostly dry with a towel. Place the pickles, ketchup, horseradish, worcestershire, and pepper in the bowl and stir with the mayo. Taste and add more mayo, horseradish, or salt if needed. Place in the fridge until 10-15 minutes before using to take the chill off.
A few minutes before the tempeh is done baking toast the bread [easy to do right in the oven directly on the rack while the tempeh bakes] and then spread a layer of butter on each piece. Place the cheese on each slice of bread and then place back on the rack in your oven for just a few minutes to melt.
Generously spread the dressing on 1 slice of bread, add 2-3 strips of tempeh, about 1/4 cup sauerkraut, more dressing, and then top with the other slice of bread. Slice diagonally and serve immediately.
notes: Be sure to lightly blot or strain the pickles and sauerkraut or your sandwich toppings will turn runny.
to make gluten-free: For GF beer I highly recommend Greens and then Omission. Be sure to buy gluten-free tempeh, tamari, worcestershire sauce, and bread if needed. Lea & Perrins makes GF worsestershire sauce but it is not vegan or vegetarian as it contains anchovies.
to veganize: *Be sure to use vegan worcestershire sauce. Sub vegan mayo and vegan butter and leave out the swiss cheese. Annie’s worcestershire sauce is vegan but not gluten-free.
Long live the sandwich.