My favorite sandwich is a Reuben. Before I stopped eating meat, I would often order a Reuben if I went out to lunch and it was on the menu. I always considered it a special treat. I never tried to make one though. One of the sacrifices I have made in deciding that it is better for the planet if I don't eat meat, is sometimes choosing not to eat something that I would really like to eat. One of those things is the corned beef in a traditional Reuben.
I wanted to try to duplicate the flavors I love in a Reuben, and thought substituting sautéed mushrooms for the corned beef might work as a start. The other elements of my favorite sandwich do not contain meat, so no need to compromise there! I think that most Reuben sandwiches have Thousand Island Dressing. I looked up some recipes for Thousand Island Dressing. Many of them call for horseradish, which I do not happen to like, so I decided to make up my own version, which I just call "Sauce." I am not sure if it is authentic Thousand Island Dressing, but it tastes good in this sandwich! The result was delicious. My meat-eating husband seemed to enjoy it as much as I did, so feel free to serve this to vegetarians and carnivores alike!
For 3 sandwiches
1 clove of garlic, peeled and pressed
Pinch of Aleppo pepper
2 1/2 cups sliced portobello and/or cremini mushrooms (for portobello mushrooms, cut in half across the top, then slice, so that the slices are not so big)
6 slices rye bread
Approximately .45 lbs. sliced gruyere cheese
3 TBS mayonnaise
1 TBS sweet pickle relish
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp concentrated tomato paste
Cook the mushrooms:
Heat generous amount of olive oil in skillet, then add pressed clove of garlic. Stir and cook for 30 seconds or so, then add mushrooms. Sprinkle salt to taste over all and stir so that all the mushroom slices are coated with oil. Continue sautéing until mushrooms are soft. Sprinkle a pinch of Aleppo pepper over all, stir and turn off stove. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the sandwiches:
Cook the sandwiches:
Butter both sides of bread slices. For each sandwich, fry one side of each slice of bread on a griddle. When one side is golden brown, flip it, arrange gruyere cheese slices to cover toasted side, then put some sauerkraut on it, then some sauce, then some sliced cooked mushrooms. Cover the sandwich with the second slice, toasted side down. Press down with a spatula and cook until the bottom bread is golden brown. Then flip the sandwich and cook the last side until golden brown, pressing the sandwich with the spatula.