Try This— Reuben Inspired Vegetarian Sauerkraut Sandwich

My health crazes come in waves. I make secret promises to myself every now and again that I’ll juice everyday and incorporate at least one raw ingredient at every meal. Sigh. Then that ‘sort your life out’ urgency surrounding New Years, or most recently back-to-school, wears off and I’m back to quick hunger fixes that are not always the healthiest choices. So here we are. School is in full swing. Days are long and hectic. Weeknights are way too short, and weekends are lightning fast. My menu goals have once again degenerated from lofty meal plans filled with raw foods and special recipes to the quickest grab and go recipe I can make, usually with whatever hodgepodge of ingredients I still have on hand. But sometimes, in the midst of all of the work week chaos and the lazy girl meals I resort to, I find a happy place. A place where my lazy girl, work week meal is actually super healthy. Enter the sauerkraut sandwich.

So putting sauerkraut on a sandwich is as American as, well, it’s as American as a hot Reuben. When I was a kid, my parents used to drive us over the Williamsburg Bridge and head up to Madison Ave. in Midtown. There was this deli there that was famous for their Reuben sandwiches. In fact, I think the place might have been called Reuben’s Delicatessan. Whatever the place was called, they seriously had some bangin’ reubens. Corned Beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on rye bread. A beautiful representation of the diversity of America, totally unlike this recent wave of venomous xenophobia we’ve seen infecting the headlines. #NoFascistUSA. Ahem, I digress.

Anyway, Reubens were one of my favorite sandwiches when I was still a meat eater, and as a vegetarian, I’ve often used those favorite, childhood recipes to inspire the recipes I create today. This sauerkraut sandwich recipe is totally inspired by those classic Reubens I loved as a kid.

 

Okay. So I’m gonna tell you what this sandwich is all about, but you gotta promise you’ll at least try it. Pinky swear, because this right here might be a giant leap of faith. On paper these ingredients listed together won’t sound all that tasty, but I just need you to let me guide you through this. The two main ingredients are sauerkraut and almond butter. Seriously, you guys! Keep reading! I promise it works. For those of you that don’t really like sauerkraut, let me try to set your mind at ease just a little bit. I don’t go crazy for sauerkraut either. I mean, it’s okay, but honestly I could do without it. I’m not all that into almond butter either. Again, it’s good, but not to die for. You have to trust me when I say this though… the two combined make for one of the most divine, yet healthy sandwiches you’ll ever have. Leap of faith for sure. You must try this!!!

Reuben Inspired Vegetarian Sauerkraut Sandwich

ingredients

  • 2 slices of bread, toasted
  • sauerkraut, drained
  • 2-3 tbsp almond butter
  • Bragg’s Liquid Amino (we’re talking less than a teaspoon)
  • garlic powder, pinch

Directions

  • drain your sauerkraut by placing it between some paper towels
  • try to get as much of the liquid off as possible
  • on toasted bread, spread an even layer of almond butter on both slices
  • place your drained sauerkraut on top of the almond butter
  • sprinkle the sauerkraut with a pinch of garlic powder, then drizzle a little Bragg’s over top (again, be careful not to soak your sandwich, a very little bit of Bragg’s goes a long way)
  • close your sandwich and dig in!

Optional add-ons which are fun:

Swiss Cheese—if you want it melted, don’t be afraid to pop the whole sandwich in the oven, it won’t hurt it

Alfafa Sproutshealth benefits galore

Roasted Garlic Paste—only if you’re surrounded by people that love you for you no matter how bad your breath smells

Tempeh—mostly for the texture, but remember tempeh has a very nutty flavor. Keep that in mind when you’re spreading your almond butter

Try This— Cheesy Savory Oatmeal

Confession: there’s people out here that put sugar in their grits and I know this because I am one of those people. My argument is this. Grits are a type of cereal and cereal NEEDS to be sweetened— end of story…drops mic. I can admit when I’m wrong though and with all the time I spend sweetening foods that are traditionally savory, or spicing foods up that are traditionally sweet, I have to say, I should totally abandon my stance on grits. You know why? Because I’ve developed a new obsession. Say what?! Savory oatmeal!!!

Last fall I was addicted to grain bowls for breakfast. Seriously. I couldn’t start my day without that hearty, stick to your ribs breakfast. When the weather starts to get colder, breakfast smoothies no longer work for me. I need hot meals that are filling and delicious. So when I came across this savory oatmeal recipe on Healthy Nibbles and Bits, I knew I just had to try it. Guess what?! It’s amazing. Just what the doctor ordered for those chilly Autumn mornings. You must try this!

Cheesy Savory Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dry quick-cooking steel cut oats
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp shredded white cheddar cheese (or more, because how can you really measure cheesy goodness?)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup diced red peppers
  • 2 TBS finely chopped onions
  • 1 large egg

Directions

  1. Stove Top Method: Bring water to boil. Add oatmeal, reduce heat a little and let it cook for about 3 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and stir in cheese, a small pinch of salt, and pepper
  2. Microwave Method*: Place oats and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Line microwave dish with paper towels to catch any spills. Microwave at a high setting (but not the highest, about 8/10 power setting) at one-minute intervals for a total of 3 minutes. If you want a softer texture, continue microwaving at 30-second intervals. Give the oats a little stir between intervals. When the oatmeal is done, stir in shredded cheese, a small pinch of salt, and pepper.
  3. Heat a nonstick pan with 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until they soften. Spoon vegetables over cooked oats. Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon of oil and fry egg. Cook until the whites are no longer translucent and serve over oatmeal.
  5. Top with chopped walnuts, green onions, and za’atar

Try This—Halloumi Burgers With Sticky Sriracha Glaze

I finally got back home from a month long vacation to Stockholm and London! I totally missed you guys, but I seriously had an amazing time. London has officially become my second favorite city (you know I gotta represent my hometown NYC). I’m already planning my next vacay with a must have pit stop in the UK.

Anyway, I stayed in Limehouse, an area in East London right next to Jack the Ripper’s old stomping grounds in Whitechapel. I’d never been to London before and I’ve heard horror stories about the food all my life, but when I arrived, I was absolutely famished and exhausted so I had to brave it. I dropped my bags at the air bnb, and walked right out the door to find something to eat. I was staying on Commercial Rd., a giant, super busy street, so I figured that I’d be able to at least find a grocery store. Limehouse is an up and coming neighborhood, so there weren’t as many restaurants as there are in areas like say Bloomsbury. Nevertheless, I stumbled upon this little cafe a few blocks from my place called Sylvia’s Corner that served all kinds of specialty coffee drinks and diner type food. Yes and yes! I was in the mood for a sandwich, so I scanned the menu looking for a veggie burger.

As a vegetarian, I’m always fully prepared to suffer through a soggy, poorly made portobello mushroom sandwich when I’m ordering at a restaurant. I was pretty surprised when I saw that Sylvia’s had a halloumi burger on the menu. Halloumi has been trending for quite some time now in the foodie world. If you don’t know what halloumi is you are truly missing out. Get this, it’s a kind of cheese made from goat’s and sheep milk, that doesn’t melt when you cook it. I know that sounds crazy because like who doesn’t appreciate the perfect gooey of melted cheese? Right?! But hear me out— the reason halloumi is so amazing is precisely because it doesn’t melt like regular cheese. It basically catapults itself into the position of being the very best thing to throw on to a grill or into a frying pan for your vegetarian friends. This halloumi burger at Sylvia’s was transcendent. I mean, I was pretty much full half way through the thing and still, not only did I just have to finish it all, but I seriously considered ordering another one to take home to the air bnb.

Fast forward: as soon as I cleared customs coming back to the States, I was on a mission to recreate those amazing halloumi burgers  (yeah, burgers, plural) that I enjoyed at Sylvia’s. The good news is that you can find halloumi at a ton of stores. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and even Walmart carry it. The even better news is that halloumi is so easy to cook that you’ll be in sandwich heaven in no time. With Labor Day right around the corner, and the final days of perfect bbq and picnic weather fast approaching, drop everything—You must try this!!!

Halloumi Burgers with Sticky sriracha glaze

Ingredients

2 servings

For the Burger

  • about 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 mushroom, sliced
  • 3 tbsp bread crumbs or semolina
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 5oz (about half a pack) of Halloumi, cut into slices
  • 2 brioche rolls
  • Cup of lettuce or spinach leaves
  • ½ red onion, peeled and sliced

For the Glaze

  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1+1/2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha

Directions

  • To make the sauce: Place all the sauce ingredients into your smallest saucepan and bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Continue to stir, and cook for another 1-3 minutes until the sauce has reduced down to a runny syrup. Remove from heat allowing the glaze to thicken even more as it cools.
  • Heat some oil in a skillet and fry your mushrooms. Remove the mushrooms from the pan. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat.
  • Place the bread crumbs or semolina on a small dish with the a little salt and pepper. Crack the egg into a small dish and whisk lightly with a fork. Dip the halloumi slices into the egg, then coat in the bread crumbs or semolina. Place in the pan and fry on a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  • While the halloumi is frying, assemble your sandwich. Lightly toast the brioche rolls. Add the lettuce and mushroom slices to the rolls. Once the halloumi is cooked, place the slices on top of the mushrooms. Top with red onion (you can saute some with the mushrooms if you prefer) and then drizzle over a little (or a lot!) of the glaze. Enjoy!!!

***this is a variation of a recipe that first appeared on Craftberry Bush

Make-Ahead Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Before I jump right into the recipe, I have to tell you that these next several weeks are going to be pretty busy for me. If you’ve been checking out my posts, you know that I’m heading over to Stockholm and London in July. Yay! I’ve been writing lists and getting organized for the trip. I am seriously neurotic when it comes to packing luggage, and I am a total carry-on-only warrior. Anyway, since I’ve been planning everything right down to the smallest of details, I realized I’d forgotten one of the most important things to consider. After returning home from a long trip, the last thing you want to think about is grocery shopping and cooking. I needed to come up with a meal that I can take straight from the freezer and pop in the oven as soon as I set down my bags.

Because farmer’s markets and summer CSAs are in full swing, and because I have more summer squash than I know what to do with, I decided to make a Summer vegetable lasagna. Lasagna is one of my favorite meals, y’all, and this recipe is nothing short of amazing. The Béchamel sauce really makes every bite a cosmic experience. The best part is that you can make this ahead of time and then freeze portions for a quick, healthy, and oh so tasty meal. You must try this!!!

Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

For the vegetable filling:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 yellow or green summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
  • 3 jarred roasted red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz./875 g) plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) fresh basil leaves, minced
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the béchamel sauce

  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk
  • 3 cups (24 oz./750 g) ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 3/4 lb. (12 oz./375 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. To make the filling, in a 5-quart (5-l) Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the bell peppers, tomatoes, basil and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Clean the pot.

3. To make the béchamel sauce, in the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer half of the sauce to a bowl. Spread the remaining sauce evenly on the bottom of the pot. In another bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper.

4. Cover the sauce in the pot with a single layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them if needed to fit. Spread one-third of the ricotta mixture evenly on top, then one-third of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with one-fourth of the mozzarella. Repeat the layering 2 more times, starting with the noodles. Top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and bake until the noodles are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is browned, about 15 minutes longer. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.

***To freeze, cut it into individual portions. Wrap the portions in aluminum foil and when you’re ready to reheat, just pop them in the oven for about 45 minutes at 375°F.

Source: Williams Sonoma