Unusually Vegetarian

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Mellow Mood’s Tempeh and Avocado Reuben

I’m always on a quest to look for new and improved vegetarian recipes.  Unfortunately for me, many of the recipes I’ve found in the past have seemed uninspired and uncreative.  I just can’t be into plain tofu that hasn’t been transformed into something else.  That’s why I usually stick to whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts or some combination of the four.  Maybe I just don’t know what to do with tofu or other soy products, but they just aren’t that appealing to me.

So, when Dario and I were in Shepherdstown for our “mini-moon” we came across a restaurant called Mellow Moods that served only vegetarian dishes.  I had to check out the menu because I couldn’t think of how an entire restaurant could function on a vegetarian based menu.  And plus, I’m always interested in finding new inspiration and ideas for my own cooking repertoire at home.

Well inspiration I found!  This restaurant had an amazing menu filled with a bunch of vegetarian dishes that transformed your generic old tofu, seitan and tempeh into something delicious!  Dario and I both got sandwiches – I got a tempeh and avocado Reuben on rye and Dario got a red rice and hemp burger on a ciabatta roll.  The burger was delicious.  I loved how the texture of the red rice and hemp mimicked ground meat and the cheddar cheese and homemade BBQ sauce really elevated the flavor.  But I have to say….my Reuben was the best of the two!  It had marinated tempeh, sliced avocado, sauerkraut with 1,000 Island dressing and local swiss cheese all squished between two pieces of toasted rye bread.  It was awesome!

When I came home, I knew that I had to try and re-create that Reuben sandwich.  I had the basic ingredients down and went to work on figuring out how to make them all fit together.  I think, in the end, I was pretty successful.  Maybe not 100% on point, but pretty darn close.  Let’s say…close enough that Dario and I devoured the sandwiches in 5 minutes flat!  Here’s my re-created recipe for the Tempeh and Avocado Reuben from Mellow Moods!

Tempeh and Avocado Reuben:

  • 1 package plain tempeh – cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 packet grill seasoning/marinade
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1lb package of sauerkraut rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup low fat Thousand Island Dressing
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 4 slices low fat swiss cheese
My version of the tempeh reuben!
Prepare grill seasoning marinade according to package directions.  Add sliced tempeh pieces and marinate for 30 minutes up to an hour.  Preheat skillet over high heat and add tempeh – searing on both sides.  Remove from pan and set aside.  In a medium bowl add the drained and rinsed sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing.  Mix well and set aside.
To assemble the sandwiches:  start with one piece of rye bread.  Layer on 4-5 slices of the seared tempeh.  Top with a piece of swiss cheese followed by a few slices of the avocado.  Top with a few heaping tablespoons of the sauerkraut mixture and top with another piece of rye bread.  Assemble four sandwiches.
I used a panini press to toast up these yummy sandwiches.  But if you don’t have a panini press, heat a large skillet over medium high heat, spray with nonstick spray and add sandwiches 2 at a time.  Press down with another pan topped with heavy cans to make a “pressed” sandwich.  Cook until golden brown on the bottom and then flip over to brown the topside of the sandwich.   When finished, slice in half and serve warm alongside a nice salad or roasted brussel sprouts (pictured above)!

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