This sandwich was created to satisfy Kelly’s husband’s love of the classic deli favourite. He missed this comfort food sandwich when he went to an entirely plant-based diet. It was Kelly’s mission to try to recreate this sandwich without any meat or dairy. Mission accomplished!

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

For the marinade:

1/8 cup beet juice

¼ cup pickling or sauerkraut juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon minced garlic

½ lemon, juiced



For the Russian dressing:

½ cup Vegenaise or Mayo

¼ cup organic ketchup

2 tablespoons finely diced dill pickles

1 teaspoon finely diced red onion

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon organic brown mustard

1 (8 ounce) package tempeh

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 slices GF bread

1 cup sauerkraut, drained

½ cup non-dairy shredded cheddar


  1. Make the marinade: Place the beet juice, pickling juice, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl and whisk. You could also put it into a small food processor and process until combined (about 5 seconds). Pour the marinade into a non-reactive baking dish large enough to hold the tempeh slices in one layer.
  2. Make the dressing: In a small mixing bowl, combine the Vegenaise, ketchup, dill pickles, red onion, garlic powder and mustard.
  3. Heat a steamer pot. Once hot, steam the tempeh for about 5 minutes, or until you see it swell and plump up slightly. We steam our tempeh to open it up and allow it to absorb more flavor from the marinade.
  4. Take the tempeh out of the steamer, place it on a cutting board and let it cool. Cut the cooled tempeh in half so you have two rectangular blocks. Slice each rectangular block through the middle so that you have 4 thin rectangles.
  5. Place the tempeh in the marinade and marinate the pieces on each side for at least 15 minutes or up to overnight. Store the marinated tempeh for up to 2 days.
  6. Heat a heavy skillet on medium heat and add olive oil. Sear the tempeh slices for about 4 minutes per side until slightly browned. Sprinkle non-dairy cheddar shreds on each slice then cover on the skillet for 3-4 minutes to melt the cheese.
  7. Toast the bread while the tempeh is cooking. Keep the toast warm.
  8. Put 4 slices of toast on a flat surface, then top each slice with 2 tablespoons of dressing, 3 tablespoons of sauerkraut, 1 tempeh slice, another tablespoon of sauerkraut and a drizzle of dressing. The more gooey the better! Top with the remaining slices of toast and serve – with plenty of napkins within reach.

Makes 4 servings

Note: Try to use non-pasteurized sauerkraut for a healthier fermented option.

Kelly Childs

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Kelly is the co-founder and co-owner (with her daughter Erinn) of the ever popular, Kelly's Bake Shoppe, where 1000's flock to on a weekly basis. She lives in Grey County with her two cats Daisy & Tuna. You can find Kelly developing and creating marketing content and building new business ideas with her daughter Erinn. They have the ever popular podcast: Cupcakes and Consciousness on Apple and Spotify. Tune into their latest shows. Kelly & Erinn are now writing their 2nd cookbook that is due to come out in winter 2023.

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