Homemade Russian dressing, sautéed tempeh, and vegan Swiss cheese are sandwiched between slices of rye bread to make this Vegan Tempeh Reuben. It’s comforting, smoky, and delicious!

vegan reuben sandwich sliced in half with sauerkraut and russian dressing leaking out

This Tempeh Reuben is loaded with hearty sautéed tempeh and layered in a homemade vegan Russian dressing and Swiss cheese. It has all of the comforting flavors of a classic reuben, but without the animal ingredients!

Your new favorite vegan sandwich is made from a handful of delicious elements:

  • Melty vegan Swiss cheese
  • Pan-fried tempeh
  • Vegan Russian dressing
  • Sauerkraut
  • Bread

Tangy and salty in the best way, you’ll find that you’ll be treating yourself to the rich flavors of this tempeh reuben every weekend. It’s the best sandwich to enjoy with potato chips, Crispy Potato Wedges or Creamy Potato Salad and a pickle on the side. As a bonus, most of the components can be prepared ahead of time so all you need to do is assemble and dig in!

2 halfs of a vegan reuben sandwich on top of each other

How to make a tempeh reuben sandwich

There are a handful of components to this sandwich, but each one comes together easily. When they’re done, either serve the sandwich hot and fresh or store them away to enjoy later on.

  1. Make the Swiss cheese by blending the soaked cashews and the rest of the cheese ingredients in a high powered blender. When it’s smooth, pour the mixture into a saucepan. Heat and stir until it becomes one melty mass of cheese. It’s similar to my popular stretchy mozzarella.
  2. Next, sauté the onion, garlic, and tempeh pieces in a large skillet. Remove everything from the heat once the tempeh has browned.
  3. Make the Russian dressing by whisking all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Butter the bread and lightly toast each piece.
  5. Spread the Russian dressing on the toasted bread and top with the tempeh mixture.
  6. Add the cheese and sauerkraut on top. Finish by placing the other piece of bread on top and enjoy!
6 images showing the steps to making a tempeh sandwich

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes! The homemade vegan cheese, dressing, and tempeh can all be prepared a day or two ahead of time. Here’s how:

  • Vegan Swiss cheese: Once the cheese comes together, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It should solidify slightly as it sits, meaning it will be easy to slice or spread when it’s time to assemble the sandwich.
  • Vegan Russian dressing: Store the dressing in a sealed jar or container in the fridge.
  • Tempeh: Store the cooked vegan corned beef in an airtight container in the fridge. You can either reheat it in a skillet when it’s time to eat or serve it cold.

Tips and substitutions

  • Instead of homemade Swiss cheese – Replace it with storebought vegan Swiss or provolone style cheese.
  • Not a tempeh fan? Use slices of marinated tofu or seitan instead. Make it with leftover Vegan Turkey Roast around the holidays!
  • Bread – Sandwich your toppings in a thick and hearty vegan bread, like rye bread or sourdough.
  • Toppings – Add more, like slices of pickles, coleslaw, or pickled red onions.
  • Gluten free – Replace the soy sauce with tamari and use gluten free sliced bread to make this recipe completely gluten free. And make sure to use gluten free tempeh (I use Lightlife brand.)
woman's hand lifting 1 half of a vegan reuben sandwich

Want more vegan sandwich recipes?

vegan reuben sandwich sliced in half with sauerkraut and russian dressing leaking out
5 stars (7 ratings)

Tempeh Reuben

Homemade Russian dressing, sautéed tempeh, and vegan Swiss cheese are sandwiched between slices of rye bread to make this Vegan Tempeh Reuben. It’s comforting, smoky, and delicious!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 sandwiches


Melty Swiss Cheese*

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine optional
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons tapioca starch


  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely diced about 3 cups
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • (2) 8-ounce packages tempeh, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Russian dressing

The rest

  • 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, warmed
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • vegan butter, for toasting bread


Make the Swiss cheese

  • Boil 2 cups of water and soak the cashews in it for at least 5 minutes. Discard the soaking water and add the cashews to a high powered blender along with 1 cup fresh water, wine, lemon juice, miso paste, salt and tapioca starch. Blend until very smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until it starts to clump. Keep stirring until suddenly it becomes one melty mass of cheese. Remove from heat immediately and cover until ready to assemble the sandwiches.

Make the tempeh

  • In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil then add the onions and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the tempeh pieces and continue to cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned. Now add the soy sauce and paprika and stir to coat. Remove from heat.

Make the Russian dressing

  • Whisk all dressing ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.

Assemble sandwiches

  • Lightly butter one side of each piece of bread and toast for 1-2 minutes in a pan, until lightly golden brown.
  • Using the toasted bread, assemble each sandwich. Spread on some Russian dressing, top with tempeh mixture, then cheese and sauerkraut. Place another piece of bread on top, toasted side up. Serve immediately and enjoy.


  1. To make the recipe easier, skip the homemade Swiss cheese and use store bought vegan Swiss or provolone slices. 
  2. You may prepare the cheese, tempeh and Russian dressing ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until ready to assemble. 
  3. To make the sandwich gluten free, use gluten free bread, tamari instead of soy sauce and gluten free tempeh. 
  4. For oil free, omit the oil and use vegetable broth to sauté the tempeh, and use my homemade vegan mayo OR unsweetened vegan yogurt for the Russian dressing. And you can toast the bread dry in a pan instead of using vegan butter.


Serving: 1of 4 servings | Calories: 665kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 1430mg | Potassium: 578mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 763IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. AH-MA-ZING! We subbed tofu for the seitan and the flavors were just fantastic. We’ve bookmarked this recipe and it will go into the regular lunchtime rotation.

    1. Yahoo! I’m thrilled you love the Reuben! Thanks for sharing your experience and fantastic feedback. How great that you’ve added this to your meal rotation!

  2. As a carnivore that dabbles in a plant based whole food diet, I have to say this sandwich is fantastic.

    1. You made my day! I’m so glad you loved it, David! Thank you for sharing your great feedback!

  3. Thank you for another amazing recipe, Nora!! My husband just kept saying, “Wow. this is really something special”, while shaking his head in blissful disbelief :-). I didn’t have wine on hand so I subbed an IPA in the cheese recipe–so good! I have no doubt that the called for wine will be even better. But it was also so very good with beer (like really really good). Thank you again!

    1. Thank you for sharing your great review, and for using my recipe! I’m glad you loved the reuben!

  4. I just made this and omg it’s so good! A lot of firsts for me here…cooking with tempeh, making vegan cheese, and then below sub and it was super easy and I’m looking forward to more of your recipes.  

    One sub, if it helps others. I’m sober now so I looked up white wine subs and saw that apple cider vinegar is a 1:1 sub. But WHEW either I’m sensitive to ACV or that’s too much. I then added more of everything else and it turned out fine so I may add 0.5:1 ACV to white wine next time. 

    Thanks so much for an amazing recipe! Granny Smith apples were a perfect side too.

    1. Hi Sasha! I’m so glad you enjoyed the reuben, and also you could just leave out the wine if needed. I probably would not want that much tang from apple cider vinegar, so I’d suggest just leaving it out next time altogether. 🙂 Thanks so much!

  5. I made these for my fiance’s birthday and he went crazy for them! He loved Reubens before going vegan and said these were even better. 🙂

    1. Thanks Jackie! ? My husband and kids went crazy for the reubens as well. I’m so glad he loved them!

  6. Delicious! I made this last night and it tastes better than the local restaurant that makes vegan ruben sandwiches. 🙂 Your instructions were clear and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. I’m glad the instructions were clear and easy, and thrilled you found it delicious! Thank you for taking your time to share your great review!

  7. Looks so yummy, thank you!

    May I ask why the tempeh is not sliced into thin slices, more to mimic the corned beef or pastrami in a Reuben? Is there a reason that wouldn’t work? 

    Thank you!

    1. You could do that if you wanted, but it’s a bit difficult to fry it up that way as it most likely will fall apart, or you will need to do it in several batches. I like to make things simple. 🙂 Thanks!

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