The Rachel—a Pastrami Sandwich on Jewish Rye

The Rachel—a Pastrami Sandwich on Jewish Rye

As we continue to celebrate National Sandwich Month and Rye Month, I cannot stop thinking about pastrami on Abigail's Oven Jewish Rye. This sandwich is a close cousin to the Rueben presented earlier this month but omits the sauerkraut.

Turkey Pastrami

This beauty is sometimes referred to as the Rachel Sandwich, which may be filled with either turkey or pastrami (that makes me wonder about turkey pastrami as a meat for this sandwich).

Either way, when topped with swiss cheese, this sandwich toasts up well in a toaster oven or panini press (it is afterall, also National Panini Month), but also can be grilled in a frying pan on your stove top.

The pastrami on rye was popularized in many New York delis in the late 1800's. It was often topped with Russian Dressing or spicy brown mustard. And there was nearly always a dill pickle and chips on the side.[1] 

Rachel Ingredients

Here are the ingredients for a pastrami on Jewish rye sandwich—The Rachel. 
(NOTE: above is the pastrami on rye Mise en Place, everything in its place before assembling the sandwich).


Always Mise en Place, gather everything in its place before assembling the sandwich

  • 2 slices of Abigail's Oven Jewish Rye (or rustic wheat bread)
  • 4–5 slices pastrami
  • ½ cup sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 tablespoon of spicy brown mustard
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese (select from Berner Hobelkäse, Gruyère Emmentaler, Jarlsberg, etc.) 
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise or Russian dressing
  • Butter, for grilling the bread
  • Pickles and chips, to be served on the side


  1. Preheat  a panini press, toaster oven, or frying pan to medium heat.
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread and turn over
  3. Spread the mayo or Russian dressing on the inside slices of bread
  4. Stir mustard into the sauerkraut
  5. Top each slice of bread with a layer of pastrami, mustard sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese.
  6. Place bread, buttered side down, on grill (or other heat source)
  7. Grill until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  8. Press both sides of the sandwich together and continue to heat until the outside crisps up well.
  9. Cut the sandwich in half and serve immediately.
Rachel Grilling

Here are some additional tips:

  • Use a good quality pastrami. The best pastrami is made with beef brisket that has been cured, smoked, and steamed.
  • Don't over stuff the sandwiches with sauerkraut, which may make them wet and soggy.
  • Use a good quality Russian dressing, something like Ken's Steak House Russian. But the best Russian dressing is made with mayonnaise, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, and spices.
  • If you don't have Russian dressing, you can use mayo or Thousand Island dressing or a mixture of mayonnaise and mustard.

We hope you enjoy your pastrami on rye sandwich!

But of course, there are variations to this sandwich which include the Reuben and PLT (Pastrami, lettuce, and tomato), which is described by Nations Best Authentic as a sourdough sandwich made with grilled pastrami, topped with lettuce and tomato slices, on toasted sourdough spread with mayonnaise, "and placed on top of the sandwich."[2]


And remember, if you are looking for a place to get Abigail's Oven delicious sourdough bread, we are in more than 30 stores throughout Utah, at Farmers Markets in OgdenSLC DowntownMurraySo JordanDraperDaybreakProvo, and Spanish Fork. Or course, on weekdays you can always drop by The Store at the Bakery: Mon 12:00 PM-5:00 PM, Tue 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, and Wed-Fri 10:00 AM-5:00 PM, at 421 South 200 East in Spanish Fork, Utah. 



  1. Gil Marks, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010
  2. "P.L.T. (Pastrami, Lettuce & Tomato)"Nations Best Authentic New York Deli.


    Darryl Alder

Author: Darryl Alder lives with his wife in Riverside Lodge, which is their home, along the Provo River in Utah. He is a retired career Scouter and outdoorsman who spent many hours over a campfire using a Dutch oven and loves sharing recipes for the kitchen and the campfire alike. You'll find many of his recipes on this blog and can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

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