A warm and toasty Reuben sandwich is definitely one of the most sublime comfort foods you can sink your teeth into. Rye bread piled high with corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, there is nothing that hits the spot quite like a Reuben. Although it is hard to improve on a comfort food classic, a tasty creative update on the traditional Reuben sandwich can make this comfort food even better.
Updating the classic Reuben
When giving the Reuben a creative makeover, preserve the spirit of this classic sandwich by maintaining its tasty elements – meat, dressing, cheese, and a slaw or salad of some kind – but giving each a tasty twist.
Meat: Instead of corned beef, try thinly sliced turkey, roast beef, pastrami, chicken, bologna or even ham. For a more textured filling, use leftover roasted or grilled pork or poultry.
Dressing: The Russian dressing – or in some cases Thousand Island dressing – can be switched out for blue cheese, ranch, Caesar, mustard, mayonnaise with a bit of soy sauce, or another of your favorite sandwich sauces. Even sauces like guacamole or salsa can be used, just be sure to stick to similar flavor profiles throughout the whole sandwich.
Sauerkraut or slaw: Sauerkraut is of course the classic choice, but coleslaw or a homemade mixture of julienned carrots and radishes (or other veggies) mixed with vinegar and oil are equally delicious options. Regardless of the slaw you choose, add vinegar or some other sour component like lime juice to acheive a flavor reminiscent of sauerkraut.
Cheese: Any easily melting ooey gooey cheese can be layered in the Reuben. Try brie, mozzarella, fontina, provolone, American, or gouda.
Ethnic twist: For a tasty change, give your Reuben sandwich ethnic flair. For example, make a French-style Reuben with ham and brie in a baguette topped with a French-style coleslaw of cabbage, carrots and a lemon yogurt dressing. Make a Mexican-style Reuben with spicy sauteed chicken, guacamole, a Mexican slaw of cabbage, onions, and jalapeno peppers in a boillo (soft Mexican bread). Think of a cuisine and create a Reuben boasting those distinctive flavors.
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