All About the Veg! is a bi-weekly recipe column in which Best of Vegan contributor Seiran Sinjari breaks down one amazing plant at a time. In today’s column, she’s embracing root vegetable season, with a special focus on beets that play the role of pastrami in her recipe for a loaded and amazingly indulgent Vegan Reuben Style Sandwich!
It’s the peak season for root veggies so let’s make this week all about a root veggie. I’m picking the beetroot! It’s sweet, nourishing, has a gorgeous color and you can use the whole plant, root, and leaves.
Beets can be eaten raw, if you slice them super thin you can dress and serve them as ‘carpaccio’, use candy cane beets (Chioggia beets) for this and it will look super fancy! Roasted, steamed, boiled, made into veggie patties, they are amazing too. What I also like to do every fall is a huge batch of Kurdish beet pickles and I’ll also dedicate a whole day to making dumplings in tangy beet soup. The color is amazing and the dumplings will go pink after cooking in the soup.
Those are some of the things we can do and they’re all delicious, but this week we’re actually going to transform our humble beets into something else. We’re making Beet Pastrami and using it for a loaded and amazingly indulgent Vegan Reuben Style Sandwich. The beets are getting lots of seasoning with a homemade Pastrami Rub, we have a perfectly tangy quick-pickled dill cabbage and a creamy Russian Dressing with a kick.
Oh, and I’ve learned that Russian Dressing has very little to do with Russia, in fact, it appears to be an American invention. Still delicious! And you can use it for other sandwiches as well or as a salad dressing. Pickles and chips on the side are of course optional, a must for me to be honest. The more condiments or sides, the better (speaking in general terms)!
For Beet Pastrami:
- 4 small to medium sized beetroots
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Pastrami Rub (recipe below)
For Pastrami Rub:
- 1 ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp salt
For Quick-pickled Dill Cabbage:
- 200 g white cabbage, very finely shredded
- 1 ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp flaky sea salt
- 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
For Russian Dressing:
- 125 ml (½ cup) vegan mayo
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
- 1 tbsp minced or very finely chopped onion
- 1 tsp hot smoked paprika powder
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce or ½ tsp apple cider vinegar + ½ tsp light soy sauce
- 4 slices of rye or sourdough bread
- 4 slices of vegan cheese (or grated vegan cheese)
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- pickles & chips (optional)
- If your beetroots came with leaves, cut them off close to the beet and save for later use (perfect for salads, smoothies or stews). Gently scrub the beets without peeling the skin, rinse and pat-dry with a clean kitchen towel. Place them on a lined oven sheet, brush them with ½ tbsp olive oil. Roast at 200ºC / 400ºF for 45-50 minutes or until tender and a knife or skewer easily goes through. Set to the side.
- In a large bowl, massage cabbage with apple cider vinegar and salt, squeeze the cabbage tightly with your hands until it softens then combine with the dill. Set to the side.
- Mix together all ingredients for the dressing in a bowl, adjust seasoning to taste, cover and store in the fridge.
- Prepare Pastrami Rub by combining all ingredients in a small bowl.
- When the beets have cooled slightly, brush them with olive oil and dip them into the bowl with the pastrami rub, make sure that all sides are covered. Return them to the oven and roast for 17 minutes at 200ºC / 400ºF. Save leftover pastrami rub for later.
- Let beets cool until they are safe to handle with your hands. Slice the beets into very thin slices, preferably with mandolin.
- Spread bread slices with vegan butter and place with butter side down. Spread all slices with Russian dressing, top them with cheese and then stack the beet pastrami on two of the slices. Sprinkle the beets with some of the leftover pastrami rub and then top them with the quick-pickled dill cabbage and close the sandwiches with the two bread slices with dressing and cheese (butter side up).
- Grill sandwiches in a pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy.
- Serve with pickles & chips.
Find more of Seiran’s recipes at @legallyplantbased.
Recipe, text, and photography by Seiran Sinjari.
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