If a vegan person in love with Asian food moved to New York, this is exactly what that person would make. And while I have no desire to ever move to NYC, I am a guy with a big jar of kimchi and no idea what to do with it.
Thus, the ideas of how to use the kimchi began to flow, which looks like this when expressed in words: “Kimchi on bread? No, that’s boring. Kimchi fried rice? That sounds good, but I don’t want to kill all those precious probiotics with heat! That’s why I bought the stuff in the first place, you fool. There has to be something better. Who are kimchi’s cousins? Sauerkraut’s one of ’em. Okay, and what is sauerkraut put on? Reubens. I love tempeh reuben sandwiches!”
Piece by piece, the sandwich came together in my mind: toasty bread, ginger tamari marinated tempeh, fresh lettuce, avocado slices, tangy spicy kimchee, and creamy umami sauce. Yes, that is what I need in life. And to think it all started with this question: “what am I gonna do with all this kimchee?”
Indeed, necessity is “the mother of invention.”
This sandwich is: hearty, savory, lightly spicy, protein packed, and fast, taking only 15 minutes to cook and assemble after you’ve marinated your tempeh, which only needs one hour to bathe. Afterwards, the marinate is mixed with vegan mayo to create a creamy sauce that is out of this world.
If this sandwich ignites your tastebuds, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts in the comments, or show us your own rendition @noeggsorham on the Instagrams!
Much love friends ~ may this recipe find you in good spirits!
Asian Tempeh Reuben
Reuben, Tempeh, & Kimchi walk into a bar. They form a band. This is their first album.
- 8 oz tempeh
- 1/4 c tamari
- 1/4 c rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 c + 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbs sesame oil + more for frying
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 scallion (green onion), chopped
- 1/2 medium jalepeno, finely diced
- 1/4 c vegan mayo
- 2 tbsp tempeh marinate
- 4 slices of sandwich bread
- 2 tbs olive oil or vegan butter
- 2 leaves of romaine lettuce, ripped in half
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1/2 cup organic raw kimchee, drained of excess moisture
- Cut tempeh into pieces to fit the size your bread. I cut my tempeh block in 4 pieces, cutting it in half horizontally and then in half again through the center of the tempeh. Set aside in a shallow container such as a 9×13 baking pan.
- Combine together the remaining ingredients listed under “tempeh” and stir or shake to combine. Pour marinate over tempeh in a shallow container, and let marinate at room temperature for at least one hour and up to 24 hours in the fridge, rearranging the positioning of the tempeh half way through.
- Once the tempeh is finished marinating, heat a large skillet (I used cast iron) over medium heat. Add enough sesame oil to cover the bottom of the pan, add the tempeh and cook until brown on one side, about 3 minutes, flip and cook on the opposite side until browned. Set on a plate while you assemble the sandwiches.
- To make the sauce, whisk together two tablespoons of the marinate the tempeh was bathed in, along with 1/4 cup vegan mayo.
- Lightly oil or butter one side of every piece of bread. With the oil side facing away & facing down, assemble the sandwich, adding a layer of lettuce, followed by avocado slices, tempeh, kimchee, sauce, and the second piece of bread with the oil side facing up. Repeat with second sandwich.
- Using the same skillet from before, heat over medium-low heat. Add both sandwiches to pan and firmly press down on them using a spatula, or another heavy pan. This will help the sandwiches keep their shape.
- Cook until lightly golden brown on one side, 2-3 minutes. Flip, and repeat process for second side.
- Cut sandwiches into triangles and serve immediately – perhaps with heaps of potato chips on the side for a full deli experience.