Saturday, March 22, 2008
In the Kitchen: Bazu's Tempeh Reuben
Long overdue for a reuben, B and I tried out this recipe from one of my favorite vegan food blogs, Where's the Revolution? You can read Bazu's original post here. Her recipe is an adaptation of the Tempeh Reuben recipe from The Vegan Cooking School. It's one of only two vegan reuben recipes we plan to try from the web (the other being the Candle Cafe's), so I'm glad to be able to direct you to the full recipe.
Of course we did change it some, just because I was out of veganaise and I couldn't use ketchup since I gave up refined sweeteners for Lent and all the ketchup in the house had sugar or corn syrup. To tell you the truth, I think the dressing suffered a bit for it, but it was a tasty sandwich, and I liked the fact it used white beans in the dressing. We also didn't use sprouts or red onion, just stuck with a more traditional tempeh and sauerkraut combination.
This recipe has further convinced me that baking tempeh is the way to go. I'm usually too lazy to marinate and bake, so I previously tried pan-steaming tempeh for reubens in broth or seasonings, and it just isn't the same. This recipe was nice because it didn't call for marinating in advance. The tempeh turned out great after just baking in the marinade for 40 minutes.
What you see above is my attempt to use up an extremely ripe tomato (I don't buy out of season produce, but I frequently get it free) and replace the 2 tablespoons of ketchup in the dressing with something tomatoey. In retrospect, I should have just broken down and opened a can of tomato paste, but I'm lazy and didn't want to worry about how to use up the rest of the can. So I roasted the tomato with the tempeh. It worked okay, but didn't give the dressing the concentrated flavor kick ketchup would have, and of course it made it more watery as well.
We didn't have to worry about watery dressing too much, though, with this rock star of a bread. I was excited to try out the loaf of Abiqua Farms Old World Rye I'd stashed in the freezer for this occasion. This bread is dense. It soaked up all the juice and still held together. I might slice the bread a bit thinner next time, to help it toast up a little crunchier, but I was happy with it over all. I learned from our last tempeh kitchen experience, and sliced the tempeh thinner, so even with the hefty bread, the sandwich was a very manageable size.
Here's B's, after warming the sauerkraut and spreading on the dressing.
This was a good sandwich over all. The only disappointment was that the dressing was sort of bland, but that was probably mostly due to the omission of veganaise and ketchup. In the future, I might sub a little oil for the 'naise and will definitely use ketchup or tomato paste. I might add some extra spices to the dressing as well, maybe even some hot sauce or red pepper, something to give it a little zip. The other change I would make is to cut down on the soy sauce in the marinade -- the original recipe calls for a whole 1/3 cup, I think a few tablespoons would suffice. I'd also like to experiment with vinegar or lemon juice in the marinade, to see if it gives the tempeh a tangier flavor reminiscent of corned beef. But over all the tempeh was definitely the best aspect of the recipe.
We give this one a 3 out of 5. Thanks to Bazu for the recipe, and if you are in the Portland area, check out that Abiqua Farms Bakery!