By Ilene Godofsky Moreno


A much healthier twist on the classic NYC deli sandwich, this recipe is a flavor party in a bowl.  Double your ingredient prep and pack a Reuben-ish sandwich for lunch the next day. 

  • 1 batch cooked Brown Rice (see below)
  • 6 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 batch Baked Tofu (see below), sliced
  • ½ cup sauerkraut
  • ½ cup sliced pickles
  • 1 batch Thousand Island Dressing (see below)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Divide the Brown Rice into 4 bowls.
  2. To wilt the spinach, put it in a pan with a splash of water and cook it over medium heat.  Stir for about 2 minutes, until the spinach wilts.  Spoon the spinach over the rice in the bowls.
  3. Layer the Baked Tofu, sauerkraut, and pickles over the spinach.  Drizzle the Thousand Island Dressing on top, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Brown Rice

Total time: 45 minutes
Active time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

  • 2¼ cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • Dash of salt

In a medium pot, bring water or vegetable broth to a boil over high heat.  Add rice and salt, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes. 
Turn heat off and let rice sit for 5 minutes before serving.  If you are not using the rice right away, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Baked Tofu

Total time: 1 hour (plus time for pressing tofu)
Active time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

The key to preparing restaurant-quality tofu dishes at home is pressing the water out first.  Thirty minutes will do the trick, but if you’re able to plan ahead, a few hours (or even overnight in the fridge) will give your tofu a fantastic texture.  Alternatively, for recipes that call for Baked Tofu, you can buy pre-marinated and prebaked tofu.  On especially busy weeks I’ll go this route so I have a ready-to-go protein option.

  • 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

Cut tofu into ½- to 1-inch slices.  On a cutting board, layer slices of tofu between paper towels.  Place a heavy item (a teakettle filled with water works great) on top (or use a tofu press if you’ve got one).  Let the tofu sit for at least 30 minutes (or overnight in the refrigerator for extra-amazing texture).  This will remove the excess water from the tofu and give it a better texture.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.

To prepare marinade, in a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, tamari, rice vinegar, garlic powder and onion powder.  Leave the tofu as slices or cut it into cubes.  Toss the tofu with the marinade in the bowl and let it soak for 5 minutes.

Spread the tofu out on a baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes, then flip and bake another 10–15 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces), until the desired crispiness is reached.  Enjoy the tofu right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Thousand Island Dressing

Total time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 cup

  • ¼ cup vegan mayo
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon pickle brine
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth.   Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 

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