First let me address your immediate question: pastrami?

Yes, pastrami. Evidently there are reubenites who prefer pastrami to corned beef. Who knew? Until Google, I certainly did not.

Anyway, I was lucky enough this summer to score the last package of Upton’s Naturals seitan pastrami at the Veganmania fest in Chicago. Even though this is a special item and not in their regular rotation of retail products, I was really hankerin’ to see what Upton’s would do with the pastrami spices. And this reuben is awesome! The only part that’s really mine is the extra ingredient in the vegan Thousand Island dressing.

PREFACE: The trick to pulling this off is to work fast to heat all the ingredients and have a lid for your skillet so you can melt the Daiya® cheese before your bread gets too toasty. You could probably melt everything under the broiler but my broiler’s on the floor of my stove and you know how weird I am about creepy dark spaces.

Get your ingredients organized and ready.
Just look at those spices in the Upton’s pastrami!


SnarkyVegan’s Pastrami Reuben with Special Sauce

Special Thousand Island Sauce:


  1. Get all sandwich ingredients ready to stack on the bread quickly cuz toasting in a skillet goes fast. Also have a splatter guard handy.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients and set aside. You’ll have plenty for several sandwiches and maybe a big salad.
  3. Melt the margarine over medium in a skillet and heat the pastrami slices until hot but not crispy. The pastrami will start to curl like bologna did when we made fried bologna sandwiches as kids.
  4. Flip it a couple times then push pastrami to the side in the skillet and add the sauerkraut to get warm in another part of the skillet.
  5. Now you have to start hustling. Place 1 slice of rye in the skillet and top with heated pastrami and kraut.
  6. Top quickly with Daiya, close lid tightly and warm until Daiya melts. About 5 minutes.
  7. Lift lid and add second slice of bread. flip sandwich and put special sauce between toasted bread side and the pastrami. Get the splatter guard!
  8. Toast in skillet until second side of sandwich is toasty. Daiya should be melted by now.
  9. Plate with a side of pickles and special sauce.

Anything that requires a splatter guard is awesome in my book. Even though what splatters makes you fatter.

This could easily be made under the broiler or in a George Foreman sandwich grill.

Remember, if it’s not messy, you’re not doing it right ;-)