Make a Gluten-Free Vegan Reuben! Vegan Pastrami from Soy Curls! (Yes, Really!)

vegan pastrami recipe
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Our homemade vegan pastrami recipe is so good that it has been judged “perfect” even by pastrami-loving carnivores! Have it plain, make a vegan pastrami reuben, or toss it with noodles and sauerkraut! And it’s not even complicated to make, in fact making our vegan pastrami recipe is easy! Now, of course, your vegan pastrami from Soy Curls won’t be in thin slices, but it will be in strips, perfect for putting on a sandwich with some delicious deli mustard, or with sauerkraut, vegan Russian dressing, and vegan cheese for that vegan pastrami reuben!

Just use our special coupon code HAPPYGFVEGAN at the V-Dog website!

In case you are not yet familiar with the magical ingredient known as Soy Curls, well, you are in for a treat. Soy Curls are the invention of the Butler company (in fact their full name is ‘Butler Soy Curls’), and no matter how experienced you are with soy products, we guarantee that you have never encountered a soy product like Butler Soy Curls. Soy Curls are a dried, shelf-stable product. When you rehydrate them (which takes all of 10 minutes) they have the texture and color of chicken (sorry) and will absorb whatever flavoring you want to add to them, whether by steeping them in stock or bullion when rehydrating, such as we do in our Vegan Chicken & Rice Sous Vide recipe, or when you season them after rehydrating.

And Soy Curls are both non-GMO and grown without any chemicals, so technically they are what most people think of as ‘organic’, but Butler has chosen not to kowtow to the industry that makes getting certified as organic so difficult and costly (for example The Balance Small Business explains that “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) notes that organic certification may cost anywhere from ‘a few hundred to several thousand dollars.’ However, you should be aware that “a few hundred” is an extremely low estimate for certification. In many cases, it will cost around $1,200 for an organic processor to get certified, and around $700 (or more) for a new organic farm to get certified.”) In fact, Butler explains how they make their Soy Curls by saying “Our soybeans are grown in the USA on a family farm, certified Non-GMO and grown without chemical pesticides. We soak the beans in spring water (no chlorine). Then the beans are stirred while being cooked. Soy Curls™ are dried at low temperature thus ensuring the natural goodness of the whole soybean high in fiber and omega-3.”

Is it any wonder that we ❤️ this company and their product so much? You can buy Butler Soy Curls in 6-packs directly from Butler here, or on Amazon here (it’s the same price either way).

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You’ll also notice that we mentioned sauerkraut a couple of times above, and in fact sauerkraut is a key ingredient for vegan pastrami. Well, more precisely, sauerkraut juice or brine. Now we get our sauerkraut from Costco, which has a great deal on Wildbrine brand raw organic sauerkraut, and so we use the brine juice from that, but you can use the brine from any sauerkraut. In fact you can even buy sauerkraut juice on its own.

Vegan Pastrami Recipe from Soy Curls


1 to 2 cups dry Soy Curls
Sauerkraut juice to just cover the Soy Curls
1 cooked beet, plus a tablespoon’ish of beet juice (we use the shelf-stable pre-cooked organic beets from Costco)
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Smoked paprika
Black pepper


Put the Soy Curls in a glass bowl and add sauerkraut juice to just cover them. Cut the beet into quarters and add it to the bowl of Soy Curls, wiggling it down to the bottom. Add about a tablespoon of juice from the beets, and mix it in gently.

Cover the bowl, and put the Soy Curls in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 6 hours, although 8-10 hours is better. You’ll be adding the boiling water and the liquid smoke later.

When you are ready to make your pastrami, take the Soy Curls out of the refrigerator and add 1 cup of boiling water and one teaspoon of liquid smoke to the Soy Curls and sauerkraut juice, and let stand for 10 minutes.

(Note if you are using 2 cups of dry Soy Curls, and like your pastrami on the really smoky side, you can use up to two teaspoons of Liquid Smoke, but if you started with just 1 cup of dry Soy Curls, do not use more than 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke.)

When the 10 minutes is up, drain the Soy Curls, eat the beet, and lay the soy curls out on a plate and pat them dry with a paper towel. Now sprinkle them liberally with smoked paprika and black pepper.

homemade vegan pastrami recipe from soy curls

You are now ready to cook and eat your pastrami! Heat some neutral oil in a pan, and cook them however you like! Our favorite way is to sauté them with strips of red pepper and onion in the same pan, and then pile it all onto a sandwich with some vegan mayo, deli mustard, and a slice of Follow Your Heart gouda or, of course, as in the picture below, a classic vegan pastrami reuben. Let us know how you use your vegan pastrami!

Vegan Pastrami Reuben
vegan pastrami recipe

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