Reinventing the Reuben

2 May

Ah, the Reuben sandwich. Famous in delis all over the country. Traditionally, this sandwich is made with corned beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese and rye bread, though there are other versions that contain pastrami or even turkey. Personally, I’ve always thought it was kind of gross in any variation. Until I went to the Outer Banks, North Carolina (OBX for short).

Last year, my family went on vacation to OBX and stayed in Rodanthe (yes, the same town as the movie). It’s really small town with not many restaurant choices. This was not a problem for most of the week since we had an absolutely gorgeous kitchen to use but the day we left, we decided to bring in lunch from the Atlantic Coast Cafe. We both carefully studied the menu and in a very strange twist of fate, we were both drawn to the same sandwich–the crab cake Reuben.

It was completely different from anything else we had eaten that week, so we both decided to try it. I’m so glad we did. It was heaven on bread. When I have my own Food Network show and I get to be on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, this sandwich will be a top contender. If all Reubens had been made like this, I probably would have eaten one a long, long time ago. The sandwich was made with a fried crab cake, cole slaw, Swiss cheese, their own special sauce and rye bread. It was an amazing twist on a classic. We both still talk about the sandwich; it was that amazing (the only other sandwich we still reminisce, and drool, over was the fish sandwich we had at BO’s Fish Wagon in Key West, FL).

Since we love this sandwich so much, I decided to make my own version of it. I also decided to make it just slightly healthier. Here’s what I did (sorry for the lack of picture. I forgot to take one):



  1. Spread dressing on each slice of bread
  2. Put cole slaw on each half
  3. Top cole slaw with crab cake
  4. Close sandwich
  5. Toast sandwich

It was pretty damn close to what we had in OBX. Next time, though, I will add the cheese because it will hold the rest of the ingredients together a bit better, kind of like a cheesy glue. But other than that, it was delicious! We were so happy to have this sandwich and we were even happier to have it twice (I love leftovers).

Even if you don’t like corned beef or sauerkraut or Swiss cheese, give this version a try. I promise you will not regret it!


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