Its been hard finding restaurants in Maine that cater to a vegan lifestyle. There are some, especially in the big city of Portland, but thats almost an hour from us and frankly, I'd rather eat close to home when I can. We've been doing a lot of cooking for ourselves, which I love, but it would be nice to occasionally order out and not have any dishes to wash.
Last week we finally found a restaurant that we love...and its close to home! Located in Damariscotta, Savory Maine offers a little bit of everything. They are familiar with the vegan lifestyle and willing to accomodate to it. Gluten-free? Vegetarian? They've got your backs, too.
My first trip in I ordered their Tempeh-based Reuben with homemade vegan potato salad and I've been craving it ever since. Though I wish I could eat there every night, I just can't afford it. I needed to quell the craving...so I came up with my very own recipe!
It starts with a good, flavorful bread like rye or pumpernickel. I found lots of options at the market but settled on an organic loaf made on a farm right here in Maine. Rich in caraway and with a touch of espresso grounds in the batter, this bread adds so, so much flavor to the sandwich.
Topped with fried tempeh, spicy vegan cheese, and local sauerkraut and you've got yourself a meal even Savory Maine would be proud of.
Pair it with our balsamic potato salad for a truly 'Maine' meal.
(for one sandwich):
2 slices Rye or Pumpernickel bread
Tempeh- about 4 1/4 in. slices
2 tablespoons vegan thousand island dressing
1-1/4 inch slice of Daiya havarti jalapeno & garlic block (or your favorite cheese alternative)
1/4 cup sauerkraut
1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegan butter for frying
1/2 teaspoon Braggs aminos or soy sauce
Set aside your two delicious slices of rye or pumpernickel. Its good to use a darker bread here to get the caraway and espresso flavor of the bread-trust me, it adds a ton of flavor to the sandwich!
If your tempeh is in block form, slice four 1/4 inch slices. If pre-sliced, use about 3-4 slices. In a frying pan, melt a little oil or butter and add the soy sauce. Fry the tempeh strips until crispy and golden brown, about 2-4 minutes on each side.
Grab your bread slices and spread about a tablespoon of vegan thousand island on each side. Top with fried tempeh, and the slice of cheese. Put the sandwich together and using the same frying pan, grill sandwich until cheese melts, a few minutes on each side. Remove from pan, separate bread slices, top with sauerkraut, and reassemble into sandwich form. Now take a giant, gooey, cheesy bite...enjoy!