Food Network Friday: Rueben Meatball Sandwiches

Well, I missed 3 Food Network Fridays, but I’m back with a goodie! Well, really there were no excuses for me not to do this one, I needed to make dinner, I had all the time in the world to make and I had a fresh loaf of rye bread sitting on my counter. It was like the damn stars were alined!

I’ve never heard of chef Jeff Mauro before but I was liking his spin on the traditional reuben sandwich. The original recipe is supposed to be made into sliders but I’ve yet to find those bitty pieces of bread and I wasn’t about to get out the biscuit cutters and destroy a perfectly good loaf of bread, so samiches it was! Honestly, I just wanted an excuse to eat more of that pumpernickel rye 😉

I’ve never attempted making meatless meatballs before, so off to the world wide web I went in search of someone who knew more about things of this nature then I. I’ve been following Vegan Dad‘s website for a stalkerish length of time now, so I know the man knows what he’s doing and sweet jebus do those italian meatballs look good! Using the tempeh meatballs as a base, I changed around the spices, added some Daiya and rye bread crumbs and ended up with a mighty tasty little ball. The texture is pretty nice, they’re not exactly as firm as their carcassy counterparts but they’re hearty, tender without being too delicate and have a nice crisp outside. The Daiya isn’t exactly a necessity but it adds a delicious creaminess to the tempeh balls, that you’d be missing out on otherwise.

Once I had the meatballs figured out, the rest came together in a snap! I used one of Kim’s tester recipes for the thousand island dressing but there are plenty of recipes on the internet to choose from, look! There’s one now! I don’t know about the rest of you but I love da kraut, and mixed with the dressing it goes absolutely perfectly with those lovely little tempeh balls, a little sour, a little sweet, a little savoury and all kinds of delicious.

And for the record, these were not enjoyed while watching the Superbowl,  although they would have been a pretty kick ass Superbowl watching snack. Instead they were enjoyed while watching re-runs of Mad Men. What can I say? When it comes to sports vs. Don Draper, Don Draper’s gonna win everytime. Hell, when it comes to most things vs. Don Draper, he’s still probable gonna win 9 chances out of 10 😉

Rueben Meatball Sandwiches


  • 1 8-oz pkg tempeh
  • water
  • 2 teaspoons vegetarian beef bouillon
  • 1/4 cup toasted rye bread, processed into breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon instant tapioca
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hp sauce
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
  • 1/2 cup vegan 1000 island dressing
  • 8-14 slices of rye bread (depending on size), toasted and buttered


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut tempeh into 4 pieces and place in a sauce pan. Add enough water to cover the tempeh, along with the “beef” broth powder. Bring to bubbling then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from water, drain and let cool.

Grate tempeh and mix with onion, garlic, and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with your fingers and knead for 1 minute.

With wet hands, form mixture into 18 balls. Let rest for 5 minutes to firm up.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Add tempeh balls and cook, turning regularly, until browned all over. Remove from pan. Place in oven and continue baking for 15 minutes.

Assembly: Heat the sauerkraut in a small saucepan and mix in the dressing until heated through. Toast two pieces of rye bread, top one piece with tempeh balls, then the sauerkraut mixture and top with bread. Enjoy with best friends and your favourite pint of beer.

Adapted from Food Network

12 thoughts on “Food Network Friday: Rueben Meatball Sandwiches

  1. A Tablespoon of Liz says:

    These look so good! I’m not a huge fan of tempeh, but I’m definitly going to have to try and make these meatballs!

  2. Johanna GGG says:

    These look excellent – I would definitely prefer don draper to the superbowl! have never had any sort of reuben sandwich but have read about them enough to love the idea of them – love your bread and have a yen for sauerkraut because that last few times I have tried to eat it when out it was either not available or only available with meat through it!

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