So Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of St. Patrick, I’ve come up with a recipe that is…completely and in no way Irish. However. I figure there are a bunch of you that are going to have leftover corned beef tomorrow and no idea what to do with it, so let’s move to the Deli Region of Americana.

I’ve been a lover of corned beef on sandwiches since…well…the first instance that comes to mind is our 8th grade yearbook staff end-of-year party and Ron R., who I kind of had a thing for, ordered corned beef on his sandwich while everyone else was ordering pansy turkey and ham. So in the manner of an obsessive tweenage girl, I always ordered corned beef sandwiches and also insisted upon corned beef always being in the house for sandwiches.
It wasn’t until I went to New York and had a real corned beef sandwich at a real New York deli when I truly fell in love. You know, those sandwiches that are about 5 inches tall, stuffed with meat that just about melts in your mouth. And there’s no possible way you can eat all the meat on the sandwich, so you end up pulling half of it off and taking it home in a box, constantly thinking about whether or not it would be socially appropriate to start snacking on corned beef on the subway. Or while walking down the street. It’s that addictive.
Luckily for me, I married a true corned beef lover who spent a good number of his growing-up years in Cleveland. A few years ago, he and I visited The Cleve to see his grandma and aunt and they took us to a little joint called Slyman’s. Same thing. A-mazing. We even bought a box of it to snack on take home to Utah with us.
So I have a clearly established long-lasting love affair with corned beef sandwiches. But they were always with Swiss and maybe some whole grain mustard and a pickle or sauerkraut. But it was not until I married my corned beef-loving husband and visited his dad’s deli that I discovered coleslaw on corned beef. I know, destiny, right? I, the deli sandwich freak, marrying into a deli-owning family? I discovered that I l-o-v-e coleslaw on corned beef sandwiches. Really, it’s a lot of what you’re after with a Reuben–tanginess, cabbage, a little creaminess from the dressing. But you get the crunch and a few fresh veggies in there, too.
This is a quick and easy way to use up that leftover corned beef from your traditional (but alas, not authentic) Irish dinner tonight. You’ll need coleslaw (check out our favorite recipe here),
corned beef, Swiss cheese
and a hearty bread. For this sandwich, I like sourdough and I like rye, so when I saw sourdough rye at the store, I got all excited. Plus, it even says on the label “Panini This!” Don’t mind if I do…

Whether or not you like rye or caraway seeds (and my five-year-old is firmly planted in the “not like” camp; he kind of freaked out that I was buying bread with “bugs” all over it), doesn’t it look yummy?
Does it not make you imagine that you live in a big city where you walk down the street and buy fresh loaves of bread like this (I know some of you are that cool) and not drive your minivan 20 minutes to the closest Kroger?
Place Swiss cheese on one piece of bread. Top with as much corned beef as you want. Now, as wowed as I am by those mile-high sandwiches at Slyman’s and in New York, it’s kind of silly for me to pile way more meat onto a sandwich than I’m actually going to eat. So I keep it modest yet tasty (kind of like Sara and I).
Top with a few spoonfuls of coleslaw and top with the other slice of bread.
I heat these up on a panini grill and it works beautifully
but if you don’t have a panini grill, you still have options:
a) Go buy a panini grill.
b) Toast in your oven under the broiler or in your toaster oven.
c) Cook it on a skillet like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.
d) Heat it in the microwave. This is a last resort.

Slice it up and serve it with a big dill pickle and some potato chips.


  1. These sound and look wonderful! Thanks for the inspiration… however, I think the US corned beef and the UK corned beef must be different beasts – ours comes in a rectangular(ish) tin can with a funny little key to open it and is sliced like say pork luncheon meat – looks nothing like your picture 🙁 x

  2. Looks delicious!

    You can also use a George Foreman Grill if you don't have a panini grill. My panini press works the best, but using a George is a close second!

  3. I'm just realizing that I didn't post anything for st patrick's day!! At least I have your beautiful sandwich to look at!

  4. Reuben sandwiches are my most favorite thing in the world I LOVE SAUERKRAUT, not a huge fan of coleslaw. . . but my hubby loves it so I might have to take a gander! Sara have you tried this recipe?

  5. The insistance to eat slaw on the sandwich reminded me of a sandwich created by a friend who managed a sandwich shop for many years. Onion roll with thousand island dressing, add deli sliced turkey, deli sliced ham, swiss cheese, and a little slaw made with Good Seasons dressing (instead of mayo). YUMMY!
    This sandwich sounds great! I'm looking forward to trying it and your coleslaw recipe.

  6. My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures. How I would love a panini press–but would no longer fit in any of my clothes. Looks fabulous!

  7. I was going to make tacos for dinner but now I will be making corn beef sandwiches….mmmm, my taste buds are salivating after reading your post!

  8. Kate, I didn't know you had a crush on Ron R., woo woo!!! Loved your Tzatziti sauce, made it with falafel, Scott and the girls loved it. Can't wait for the gyro recipe(hint hint).

  9. Angie and Emily–hahaha!!! No words. Ron and I had a brief hand-holding, phone-talking relationship and when it ended, I was pretty sure I was going to die of heartbreak. I'm just glad I'll never be 14 again.

  10. Oh, Kate. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am excited to eat our corned beef JUST for the leftovers now. I can't wait to make this (and I guarantee my husband is going to be thrilled). I am not a total slaw lover, but I think it's to die for on a sandwich, so I can't wait to make this!

  11. Another idea to use for a panini press if you don't own one is to wrap bricks in foil then heat in the oven. It presses and toasts just like a real press, just no grill marks.

  12. Please, you know nothing of NY corned beef. Dill pickles? Never. Garlic kosher sour is allowed. Your sandwich is anemic at best. Go back to NYC and go to Carnegie or Katz deli and find out what real corned beef is about

  13. You really want a good corned beef sandwich? Come to Corned Beef Row in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. There you get a hot corned beef, but it’s the meat and cheese that are hot, not the bread. I had to wait 10 minutes for a sandwich from Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen to cool down to the point of no longer being able to cause third degree burns in my mouth. Plus the thing was so greasy, it soaked through the paper before I even had a chance to sit down. If that’s what people call a good corned beef sandwich, they can have it. I’ll stick with the traditional corned beef sandwich where I can start eating it when I sit down, and not have to count tiles in the ceiling while waiting for that piece of inedible crap to cool off.

  14. While i do love corned beef, I cannot stand Panini grills. A baker goes to a lot of trouble to give each style of bread it’s characteristic qualities, flavor, crust and crumb to name a few and what do people do. Squash it flat into a blob of bread dough and unevenly toast the outside. Not yummy at all to me. NO Panini grills in my household, but each to their own.

  15. I’m making corn beef sandwiches tonight, fortunately I purchased coleslaw from the deli. I will be trying this delicious looking sandwich..hmmm!!!!

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