A rueben is a classic that may or may not need updating, but this version is simple, arguably lighter than the diner version, and it’s going to be perfect for your Thanksgiving leftovers! I also laced the dressing with chipotle, because I can’t stop myself. The results are a dinner-worthy sandwich that might lead you to find room for seconds!
This sandwich was made with a juicy roasted, whole turkey breast. If you’re hosting a smaller Thanksgiving, want extra white meat, or just extra turkey leftovers swing by The Piggery in Ithaca. They’re the only butchers in town that are happy to custom cut a local pastured turkey for you! A whole turkey breast is a cinch to cook and roasts up quickly. You can also make this with sliced deli turkey (oh hey, The Piggery has that too!).
Easy, homemade Turkey Reubens actually started the first time that we had leftover Braised Cabbage & Apples hanging around. For this batch of sandwiches we made a quick “faux kraut“. Both recipes are easy and tangy, just what you want on a reuben. The great thing about the faux kraut is it’s vegetarian friendly so you can griddle up some tempeh and turkey and serve these warm sandwiches to all your friends.
Tempeh Ruebens serves 4
8 slices leftover turkey or deli sliced turkey
1 cup Easy Homemade Sauerkraut (see below)
8 slices rye bread
8 slices swiss cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons relish or chopped pickles
pinch of salt
a few drops soy sauce
optional – 1 teaspoon of pureed chipotle in adobo or sriracha hot sauce
Make the dressing. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Make the sandwiches. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Spread a little butter on one side of each piece of bread. Place the bread butter side down in skillet and cook until golden. Remove from pan. Divide the kraut among 4 slices of the bread on the soft side. Divide the turkey slices on top, then top with a slice of cheese. Spread the dressing on the remaining piece of bread and top the sandwich.
*To make for vegans, sub vegennaise for the dressing and buttery spread for the bread. Omit cheese or use a cheese substitute.
Quick Homemade Sauerkraut
1 large head cabbage, sliced into shreds
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
kosher salt to taste
Place a large dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then sauté the onions until they’re starting to turn translucent. Add the cabbage, cider vinegar, and water with a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook the cabbage for 30 – 40 minutes until softened. Stir the cabbage every 10 minutes or so, it will cook faster on the bottom, so really mix to combine. Taste and adjust vinegar or salt if necessary. Serve warm or chilled.