Accounts over the inventor of a classic American sandwich — the Reuben — may be surrounded in controversy, but whether you sit in the Omaha, Nebraska camp or the New York City camp, one thing holds true: this hot sandwich of corned beef, melted cheese and sauerkraut splashed with Russian dressing on rye continues to keep mouths watering.
But perhaps you’re a vegetarian with a soft spot for corned beef, or you’re looking for a great meatless alternative for the savory combination that has you hankering for a bite or two.
Hanker no further. We’ve rounded up the best meatless versions of the Reuben sandwich Washington, D.C. has to offer.
Grilled Veggie Reuben by Corned Beef King
A true vegetarian version, the Grilled Veggie Reuben at Corned Beef King takes marinated eggplant, zucchini and squash, bakes them until golden brown, tops them with two cheeses (Swiss and provolone), sauerkraut and Russian dressing, and grills the whole thing on a multigrain bread. The nearly $10 veggie sandwich is brought to customers on the move as the Corned Beef King operates a food truck serving D.C. suburbs in Maryland: Rockville, Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Olney.
Pastrami-spiced Tempeh Reuben by DGS Delicatessen
Brought to diners by third-generation Washingtonians who pride themselves on serving old world kitchen in-house brines, cures, smoked meats and pickled foods, the Pastrami-spiced Tempeh Reuben is a beautiful twist on the American classic. Tempeh, a traditional soy product from Indonesia, is what DGS uses to create this dish. Their organic tempeh is rubbed with coriander and black pepper, and smoked over hardwood. It’s then served with sauerkraut, Russian dressing and melted swiss cheese on rye bread.
Portobello Reuben by RIS
The chef at RIS, an upscale DC West End restaurant serving seasonal American cuisine, is keeping this veggie Reuben simple. A roasted Portobello mushroom, Swiss cheese, with coleslaw and Russian dressing on rye, will satisfy taste buds interested in a scaled down but hardy, meatless Reuben sandwich.
Smoked Beet “Pastrami” by Family Meal Ashburn
Celebrity Chef Bryan Voltaggio gives his version of this classic American sandwich a twist with a smoked beet and Dijon mustard, along with the traditional Swiss and sauerkraut additions. Of his four Family Meal locations (Ashburn, Va., Baltimore, Md., Frederick, Md., Richmond, Va.) this tangy Reuben alternative is currently only offered at Family Meal Ashburn.
Tofu Reuby by The Randy Radish
Feed your inner vegan with the Vegan Tofu Reuby at The Randy Radish. In line with the rest of The Randy Radish’s creations, this sandwich is composed of 100 percent plant-based food items, with organic ingredients whenever possible, and no GMOs. Now that we’ve established the chefs at The Randy Radish make the most guilt-free Reuben, let’s talk about taste. This sandwich starts with baked tofu marinated in their house broth and spices to give it that traditional corned beef flavor. Next, they top it with vegan Swiss cheese, caramelized sauerkraut and their house dressing. To finish it off, it’s served on freshly baked, toasted marble rye.