Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Deconstructed Reuben Soup

Our trips to Café Atlántico in DC have taught me to think of food in unexpected ways. I love when they take familiar flavors and present them in very usual ways. This notion of deconstructed food inspired our dinner tonight.

When I ate meat my favorite hot sandwich was the Reuben. I loved everything about the sandwich, the crusty bread, salty sauerkraut, the gooey cheese. So how I am going to make this healthy you ask. Since I have all but eliminated oil and earth balance there is no point to include the bread. After much thought I remembered a sauerkraut soup that I saw in the October issue of Gourmet magazine. I used that recipe as a starting point and turned it into this soup.

Deconstructed Reuben Soup
makes 3 servings

1 yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (allow to stand for 10 minutes so the allicin can develop)
2 stalks celery, diced
½ cup water
1 cup drained sauerkraut (5 ounces), rinsed
1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least an hour, then drained
½ cup dry oatmeal, ground into flour
1 roasted red pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste (to mimic Thousand Island dressing)
2 cups water, or as much as is necessary to get the texture you like
1 teaspoon coriander seed (to mimic corned beef flavor)
black pepper to taste
1 juniper berry (to mimic corned beef flavor)
Veggie bacon bits – for garnish (to stand in for corned beef)
Avocado - for garnish
Tomatoes, diced – for garnish
Sweet pickle relish – for garnish (to mimic Thousand Island dressing)


Water sauté the onion, garlic and celery until the water is gone. Combine the onion, garlic, celery, sauerkraut, drained cashews, oatmeal, red pepper, tomato paste and water in your blender. Process until smooth. Pour the liquid into a saucepan and cook over low heat until it beings to thicken. If you have a Vitamix you can cook the soup in the blender, just process to hot.

Top the soup with veggie bacon bits, diced avocado, diced tomato and pickle relish. Serve hot. If desired you could serve this soup with crispy croutons on top to stand in for the bread.

Nutritional Information (doesn’t include the garnish ingredients):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 154.8
Calories From Fat (29%) - 44.69

Total Fat - 5.34g
Saturated Fat - 0.96g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 222.46mg
Potassium - 474.63mg
Total Carbohydrates - 24.34g
Fiber - 5.54g
Sugar - 4.53g
Protein - 5.34g


This is one of my more unusual soup ideas. My husband is not a big fan of sauerkraut so I wasn’t certain what he would think of this. I intentionally kept the amount of sauerkraut low for my hubby, who actually liked this. He agreed that it is reminiscent of a Reuben but with much less fat. When I asked what he would do to make it more like a Reuben he had no idea other than to make a sandwich, which was or course not the point.

Overall we both thought this reminded us of the flavors of a Reuben in the form of soup. Obviously you will be able to tell it isn’t a Reuben but it does hit many of the flavors of the sandwich in a form you can enjoy more frequently since it is healthier. Next time I may make some crispy potato or tofu cubes for on top in place of bread. I may also now try to make a corned beef style tofu for this. I think there are a lot of ways this can be changed or expanded upon.

Each serving of this soup contains approximately 1,900IU of vitamin A, 7omg of vitamin C, 65mg of calcium, 150mg of phosphorus, 65mg of magnesium and 10mcg of selenium.

Unrelated note:

Tomorrow’s kitchen experiment is almond milk yogurt. I have no idea how this is going to work. But we will see. I hope to get the yogurt culturing early in the day so I may have a verdict on the results by dinner time. I will keep you posted.

I hope you are all having a great evening!


  1. "....he had no idea other than to make a sandwich, which was or course not the point."

  2. Michelle,

    My hubby isn't always helpful, as you noticed. Good thing I love him! When he mentioned making a sandwich I just rolled my eyes.

    talk to you later,

  3. OMG i'm soooo jealous you got to go to that restaurant!! i've been to oyamel, one of his other places in dc, and it was seriously the best thing i've EVER, ever eaten. yum.

    this soup looks good! what a great idea.

  4. This sounds just like the sandwich I made the other day puree'd into a soup!!! Delicious and nutritious!!!

  5. Looking forward to hearing about your almond milk yogurt, I've been thinking about trying coconut milk yogurt.

  6. Vixen,

    My hubby surprised me on New Years Eve with seats at the MiniBar. Amazing! They will make vegetarian food, but vegan is out. In case you are interested. So worth it! We had been the restaurant before but the MiniBar is so over the top and fabulous it is on a new level.


    It is very close to your sandwich. I tried to make a cheese-like base with the flavors of the dressing and sauerkraut. It was out of the norm, but we liked it.


    I have no idea how the almond milk yogurt is going to work, since this is my first try at non-dairy yogurt. I am hoping my 20+ years of dairy yogurt experience is going to come in handy today. We will see. Fingers crossed. I will let you know what worked, or didn't.


  7. Oh what an awesome sounding soup. I love sauerkraut! I bet some toasted rye cubes/croutons would have been good as a topper too or on the side to dip.

  8. Heather,

    I love sauerkraut too! It is one of my favorite foods. I can eat it straight out of the jar. Nice to know I am not the only one that likes sauerkraut. ;)

    Rye croutons would be good with this. Your rye crackers would also be great. If you wanted to avoid the bread you could add a few caraway seeds to the soup instead to add a little flavor.


  9. I totally eat it out of the jar too!!!! LOL

  10. I love this! Reubens were one of my favorites too.

    I had just been thinking about the cashew/oat flour combo that you used in the queso dip and how it might work in a creamy soup base instead. (By the way, I make a batch of that dip once a week and use it all week!) Happy to see how you used the combination here and I may end up using it as a guide for a creamy soup I am trying to recreate. My other idea was chickpea flour and rice milk, but I'm not sure which would have the most straight forward flavor for the imitation of a "Cream of..." soup base.

  11. Heather,

    LOL! There can't be too many of us that do that. Too funny!


  12. Sarah,

    Thanks! I am so happy to hear you like the idea of this. When I was considering it I thought it would leave many people scratching their heads wondering if I was crazy. I am glad that hasn't been the reaction.

    The raw cashew and oat flour combination makes a a good cream soup base. I have also used pureed potatoes and pureed white beans. However, the cashew and oat seems to be the most "cream-like" to me.

    Thanks for letting me know you like the queso so much. Isn't it amazing how good it is for the calories? That is one of my better creations. Followed closely by the chocolate and peanut butter mousse made from silken tofu.

    talk to you soon,

  13. Thanks for the tips! And chocolate peanut butter mousse you say? I'm looking that one up!

  14. Sarah,

    You are welcome. I can't wait to see the cream soup you make.

    My hubby loves my chocolate mousse and particularly this one with the peanut butter component. I hope you like it too.


  15. I feel like I know what this soup would taste like just from your ingredients and description...I was wondering how you were going to get the dressing dimension in...brilliant. It looks very appetizing...well done on a very creative soup!

  16. Rose,

    Thanks! I was anxious to hear what you thought.



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