A Lotus Grows in Brooklyn

World’s Best Vegan Reuben
October 13, 2010, 12:18 pm
Filed under: Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , ,

Okay, maybe it’s not the best, but it’s certainly the best that I’ve ever made. Delish! Warning, this melty hunk of buttery vegan goodness is pretty decadent, so you might want to share with a friend. Or plan a nice long jog for the next day. But it’s worth it!

Vegan Reuben

Rye bread (We used the sourdough rye from Bread Alone, a Hudson Valley organic bakery, and it was perfect.)
Tempeh strips (you can get pre-flavored or plain)
Seitan (packaged strips)
Teriyaki sauce
Spices of your choosing (salt, pepper, red pepper, chili powder, garlic powder … )
Pickle relish
Daiya mozzarella-style vegan cheese
Vegan buttery spread (I like Earth Balance)

Step 1: Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet and sauté the tempeh strips and seitan, turning occasionally and seasoning with your favorite spices. Add a dash of teriyaki, which I think lends a rich, meaty flavor.  Cook until slightly browned.

Step 2: In a small bowl, make thousand island dressing by mixing about ½ cup of Vegenaise with dashes of ketchup and pickle relish to taste.

Step 3: Assemble the sandwich by spreading the dressing on a slice of bread and layering on tempeh, seitan, sauerkraut, and a sprinkling of Daiya cheese (a little goes a long way). Smoosh sandwich down a bit to help prevent precious ingredients escaping. Spread ‘butter’ on top of sandwich.

Step 4: Heat a skillet and carefully place sandwich butter side down. Cook until golden brown on bottom. Butter top side, then gently flip it over and brown the other side.

Voilà! This would go great with some potato chips or, if you’re feeling fancy like we were, some home fries*. But that’s a whole other post.  🙂

Okay, and one more photo, in case your mouth wasn’t watering enough already.


* Thanks to Scott for cooking up the delicious potatoes, for being an integral help in the preparation of the World’s Best Vegan Reubens, and for being an open-minded and adventurous omnivore.


The V-Spot has Daiya!
November 23, 2009, 10:57 am
Filed under: Bars/restaurants, Park Slope, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , ,

If the ecstatic tone of the West Coast vegan bloggers can be believed (and I have no reason to think it can’t), Daiya cheese is the best thing to happen in the vegi-verse, perhaps ever. After it started popping up in restaurants last spring, vegans in L.A. and surrounding areas could not stop talking about it, making my mouth water with posts about its delicious meltiness and real-cheese taste.

But it’s taken its sweet time to get to New York. I believe that it’s still not available in any stores here, but keep checking the Daiya website for information, and perhaps we can lobby Whole Foods to start carrying it, as do WF locations in other parts of the country. Meanwhile, I’ve seen it appear on the menu at ‘Snice and have heard that it’s offered at shmancy places like Candle 79 and Blossom, where I’ll never be able to afford to go.

This past Saturday, though, I was thrilled to open the menu at my fave vegan café, The V-Spot in Brooklyn, and see that they’ve embraced Daiya with gusto. A full page in the menu announced its arrival and extolled its virtues, and they’ve revamped the menu itself to incorporate it into certain dishes an offer it in almost all others for $1 extra. Hooray!

I ordered the spicy jerk chicken wrap with Daiya, and was in love at first bite. So melty! The wrap, while delightful, had only a tease of cheese, so I think next time I’ll have to order something that really features it, like a quesadilla. I’m in utter infatuation with the V-Spot’s nachos, and I think if I try them with Daiya cheese I may be hooked for life.  

As for the rest of the meal, I tried the deep-fried tofu appetizer with peanut sauce, and was pleased that the tofu was light and crispy, not soggy and breaded like you sometimes get elsewhere. The sweet potato fries accompanying the wrap were good, but not amazing. I like crispy fries and these were more like dirty shoestring fries, so if that’s your thing, chow down.

Will keep my eyes peeled for more Daiya introductions around town. If you’re feening to cook with it now, though, you can always buy it in bulk online, and you can follow Daiya on Twitter to keep up with the rollout.

Okay, that’s enough about cheese for one morning. If you want to know more, I recommend SuperVegan’s interview with the Daiya founders.