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  • Heather Bainbridge EdM, MA, RDN

What?! A Reuben Recipe on a Nutrition Blog?!

Hope your New Year is off to a great start! It seems everyone likes a good slow cooker recipe, so given the frigid weather I thought you'd all like to satisfy your tastebuds with this savory slow cooker reuben recipe (scroll down for the slightly lighter version). But I know what you're thinking. Why would I put a reuben recipe on a blog focused on healthy eating?

It's for a few reasons. The first is that I adapted the recipe with several lighter options, so if you're looking to reduce calories without sacrificing taste this is for you! The second reason is that most of us think healthy eating is bland and boring, but it doesn't have to be. There are ingredients in reuben's that provide many nutritional benefits and by learning how to prepare foods that you often order at restaurants can be an empowering experience, which is a health benefit in its self! The third reason is that making food at home saves both money and calories and most of us could benefit from those savings.

Why this recipe works from a nutritional perspective? Corned beef has a thick layer of fat, but if you trim it (use a very sharp knife or kitchen shears) you can reduce the calories from about 85 calories per ounce to 55 calories per ounce. That's equivalent to the calories in salmon and while you aren't getting the benefit of omega 3's, you're reducing the calories substantially and corn beef is high in zinc, B12, thiamin and protein. Unless you really like the mouthfeel of fat, my husband still loved it when I trimmed the fat verses the other times he made it and didn't. Swap low fat mayo and Jarlsberg Light for the regular versions. Since the cheese is melted, it's hard to tell the difference. The calcium in cheese and the vitamin K in the coleslaw benefits bone health. Lastly look for whole grain rye bread (first ingredient should be rye or whole rye NOT enriched rye) and you'll get the added benefit of extra fiber and nutrients from the entire grain. I've had good luck in the deli section at the grocery store and believe it or not can be less expensive than buying in the bread aisle.

What's great about this being a slow cooker recipe, is that it takes about 30 minutes hands on time to make the entire dish, so you can make it in the morning, walk away from it and check it off your list of things to do. Although read the instructions below, because a portion of the prep is while the corned beef is resting after it's cooked.

In Good Health & Happiness,



Adapted Recipe from AmyFlory


20 mins


8 hours


8 hours 20 mins

Serves: 6


  • 4-5 pound Corned Beef Brisket, remove visible fat

  • Lots of aluminum foil

For the rub

  • pickling spice packet included with corned beef

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon paprika

  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder

  • 2 teaspoons hickory liquid smoke


  • 1 bag (14 oz) coleslaw

  • ½ cup shredded white onion

Coleslaw Dressing

  • ½ cup light mayo

  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard

  • ½ teaspoon creamed horseradish

  • ½ teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • couple grinds of coarse black pepper

Russian Dressing

  • ½ cup light mayo

  • 2 tbsp ketchup

  • 1 teaspoons onion, finely diced

  • splash of Worcestershire sauce

  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

Other Ingredients needed

  • Whole grainRye Bread

  • Swiss Cheese or Jarlsberg Light

  • toothpicks to secure sandwiches (optional)


  1. Start by mixing rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Place corned beef on a large sheet of foil, spread the rub on all sides of the corned beef. Wrap in corned beef in the foil, then wrap again three times more.

  2. Place the corned beef in the slow cooker, no water is added. Place lid on slow cooker.

  3. Slow cook on LOW for 7- 8 hours without opening the lid.

  4. Take the corned beef out, leaving in the foil let it rest, on a cutting board, while you prepare the coleslaw, and Russian dressing, about 15 minutes.

  5. Prepare coleslaw dressing by stirring all the coleslaw dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

  6. Prepare the Russian Dressing by mixing the ingredients together in a small bowl.

  7. Open the foiled corned beef, and dump out the juices, I didn't save these juices, I found no need for them.

  8. Slice the corned beef, and begin to prepare your sandwiches.

  9. Place bread on a sheet pan with a wire rack. Spread the Russian dressing on the bottom piece.

  10. Pile up the corned beef next.

  11. Place cheese on the other half.

  12. Toast in a toaster oven or broiler until cheese melts. Remove.

  13. Assemble sandwich by adding coleslaw on corned beef. Top with other half with the melted cheese. Slice in half.

  14. Enjoy!

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