I started making this sandwich when I became a vegetarian because I love reuben sandwiches. My family, who was not vegetarian, loved this sandwich equally. This is the recipe I want to be remembered by, because I would eventually like to open up a deli that specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches. I like to call this a "vegetarian reuben", but it's really not a reuben at all. I make my own "pickled" red cabbage and replace the meat with mushrooms. Instead of a Thousand Island dressing, I make a concoction of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and dill relish. I generally use rye bread, because I love, love, love rye and pumpernickel breads. So as you see, this is really not a reuben at all. But let's be honest, who's stopping me from calling it one? —Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast
Test Kitchen Notes
Cows everywhere, rejoice! This vegetarian "reuben" is quite possibly better than the real thing. Gooey Swiss, tangy red cabbage, creamy dressing, garlicky mushrooms and crisp, buttery rye make this sandwich utterly irresistible. Thanks to Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast, I have now been ruined for all other sandwiches -- and I'm ok with that! —Rachel Snow
The first step in assembing this grilled cheese is to prepare all your ingredients. Heat two saute pans over medium heat. Add some olive oil to each pan. In one pan, add the mushrooms, garlic, and black pepper. Let cook for 5 minutes.
In the second pan, add the red cabbage, salt, and pepper and let cook in oil for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and horseradish and let cook for 5 more minutes.
While both the mushrooms and cabbage are cooking, mix up the dressing. Combine mayonnaise, Dijon, and relish in a small bowl.
Butter one side of 2 pieces of bread generously. On the other side of the buttered pieces of bread, spread the dressing. Add mushrooms to each sandwich. Add a slice of cheese on top of the mushrooms. Cover the cheese in cabbage. Add one more slice of cheese on top of the cabbage.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Place the slices of bread, buttered side down, on the skillet. Add the second slice of bread to the top of the sandwich and place a couple cubes of butter on top of each slice. Put the pan you used to cook the mushrooms or cabbage on top of the sandwiches (unless you have a foil-covered brick or some other cool device).
Flip after a few minutes and cook the other side without the pan. The bread should be nice and crusty, and cheese should be melting out the sides.