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You’ll never believe that this Vegan Eggplant Reuben Sandwich is made from Eggplant! It has all the flavors of the classic stack, but this one is Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, and Vegan.
The Challenge: to create a tasty, Vegan alternative to the Classic Reuben Sandwich…while still keeping things relatively healthy.
I definitely had my work cut out for me in this one! While I was raised Vegetarian and have never had a meat-based Reuben, I still wanted my Vegan Eggplant Reuben to look and taste like the real thing.
Well, friends, I think I may have just succeeded.
Instead of using Seitan (not GF) or processed Mock Meat for the Corned Beef, I decided to go the healthier and homemade route…using Eggplant! Corned Beef is typically allowed to sit in a salt and spice brine for several days, then is boiled and sliced. We’re going to take a slightly similar route with the Eggplant…
- by slicing it thinly and letting it marinate overnight in the same mixture of spices + some Vegan Beef-flavored Broth and Beets for color/flavor.
- by roasting it in the oven, to remove most of the moisture and produce a thin, chewier “slice” of Eggplant, similar to Corned Beef
- and, finally, by loading our Reuben up with all of the classic fillings!
Once you sandwich those flavorful Eggplant spices in between thick layers of toasty Rye Bread, Sauerkraut, melty Vegan Swiss Cheese, and homemade Vegan Russian Dressing, you can hardly even tell this Sandwich is Vegan.
I mean…look. at. THAT! That is most definitely a very sexy sandwich.
Side Note: If you follow me on YouTube, then you’ll know that this video is part of my monthly “Vegan Chopped” series. Basically, you (yes you!) pick 4 random ingredients, and I have to come up with something making them! This month’s ingredients were Eggplant, Beets, Coffee, and Liquid Smoke. If you want more details (or to vote on the ingredients for next month!), you can watch me make my Vegan Eggplant Reuben here:
Obviously a Chopped Challenge isn’t really a challenge without a competitor…so after you’re done here, head over to Jasmine and Chris’ blog, Sweet Simple Vegan, to see how they made these Coffee-Rubbed Beet Burgers with Eggplant Bacon!
A Few Final Thoughts:
- The Vegan Beef-Flavored Bouillon is KEY to the Beef flavor of this recipe, and I cannot recommend any substitutions.
- This recipe can easily be doubled, if you’d like to make more than 2 sandwiches! Similarly, the Eggplant “Corned Beef” can be made ahead of time. Simply refridgerate in an airtight container for up to 7 days after baking.
- The Vegan Cheese is optional, but (in my opinion) essential for that Classic Reuben Flavor. If you have a hard time finding Swiss-flavored cheese, I also like this Smoked Gouda Flavor and find it to be more widely available.
Vegan Eggplant Reuben Sandwich
You’ll never believe that this Vegan Reuben Sandwich is made from Eggplant! It has all the flavors of the classic stack, but this one is Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, and Vegan.
- Prep Time: 30 Minutes
- Cook Time: 30 Minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 2 Sandwiches 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
For the Eggplant “Corned Beef”:
- 1 Large Eggplant
- 2 Bay Leaves, crumbled
- ½ tbsp Whole Mustard seeds (or 2 tsp Prepared Mustard)
- ½ tbsp Peppercorns
- 1 tsp Coriander
- 1 tsp Ginger
- ¼ tsp Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Cardamom
- ¼ tsp Ground Cloves
- 2 cup Filtered Water
- ½ cup Distilled White Vinegar
- 2 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Instant Coffee or Espresso Powder
- ¼ cup Coconut Sugar
- 1 tbsp Vegan Beef-Flavored Bouillon
- 1 medium Beet, peeled and diced
For the Reuben Sandwich:
- Eggplant “Corned Beef,” above
- 4 slices of Rye Bread (or Gluten Free bread, if necessary)
- Vegan Russian Dressing
- Vegan Swiss Cheese, or another similar flavor (Optional)
- First, peel the Eggplant and cut it into slices that are between 1/4″ and 1/8″ thick. You want your slices to be in this range; if they are too thick, the Eggplant will be soggy. If they are too thin, the Eggplant will dry out too much.
- Place the slices into a large glass bowl or a resealable plastic bag and set aside.
- Next, prepare the marinade. Add all of the dry spices to a Nonstick Pot and toast over medium-high heat, stirring continuously to prevent burning.
- Once the spices are fragrant (about 1 minute or so), add in the rest of the ingredients for the marinade, and whisk everything together to ensure it is all well-combined.
- Bring this mixture to a boil, let simmer for 1 minute, then pour it over the Eggplant while it is still hot. Stir everything around a bit to ensure the Beet pieces are evenly distributed, then seal the bag or bowl off , place the Eggplant in the fridge, and let everything marinate overnight.
- Once at least 8 hours have passed, preheat your oven to 400F. Remove the Eggplant from the marinade – it should be bright pink – and place all of the pieces evenly onto a greased or lined baking tray. I used 2 baking trays, to decrease the baking time needed and to give the pieces some “breathing room.” (Note: you can save the Beet pieces in the marinade, and enjoy the Pickled Beets alongside your Reuben if you wish!)
- Bake the Eggplant pieces for 25-35 minutes, until most of their moisture has evaporated and they appear to be slightly browned.
- To assemble each Reuben Sandwich, place 2 pieces of Vegan Swiss Cheese onto 1 slice of Rye Bread , then toast 2 slices of bread until the Cheese melts. Layer the Russian Dressing, Sauerkraut, and half of the slices of cooked Eggplant onto the not-cheesy bread, then top with the cheesy slice. Serve and enjoy!
- This recipe can easily be doubled, if you would like to make more than 2 sandwiches!
- Coconut Sugar may be substituted with Brown Sugar
Want to save this Vegan Eggplant Reuben for later? Pin the recipe to your Pinterest boards: