Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce

Get into the holiday spirit with this recipe for a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce.  Merry Grinchmas!

Get into the holiday spirit with this recipe for a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce.  Merry Grinchmas!You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch!  You really are a heel.  You’re as cuddly as a cactus.  You’re as charming as an eel.  Whether you’re a 5-year-old boy or a 40-something-year-old Dad, you can’t help but sing along when Thurl Ravenscroft starts singing this favorite Christmas tune.  I’ve been a Dr. Seuss fan for as long as I can remember.  I own most (maybe all?) of Dr. Seuss’ books, and I read them with Robbie on a regular basis.  Each year, I go to Robbie’s preschool to read a Dr. Seuss book as part of the Dr. Seuss birthday celebration each March.

While there are many good Dr. Seuss books out there, The Grinch is hands-down my favorite one.  I read the book to Robbie numerous times throughout the holiday season, and we watch the various Grinch movies even more.  Heck, I even named my first dog Max partially after the Grinch’s dog.  So it should come as no surprise that I recently hit the kitchen and created a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce.  The only surprise is that it took me this long.

Get into the holiday spirit with this recipe for a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce.  Merry Grinchmas!I’ve made green eggs and ham a number of times.  I’ve never posted that one because (1) the recipe is pretty self-explanatory and (2) green eggs and ham don’t exactly look appetizing.  They look great in cartoon-form, but the real version falls a bit short of that mark.  But this Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce?  It not only looks awesome, but it’s delicious, too!

Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce

In truth, the idea to create this Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce came from my blog friend Kelsie @ Itsy Bitsy Kitchen.  Last year, I posted this awesome recipe for Creamy Mac and Cheese, and in that post I shared my desire to make a Grinch-themed dinner.  Kelsie encouraged (challenged?) me to push forward with that idea.  One year later, here we are.  And I have to say that this is one really fun recipe!  It challenged the creative side of my brain to create this sandwich, but in the end it worked out.  Here’s a breakdown of the various components needed for this Grinch-y sandwich:

Get into the holiday spirit with this recipe for a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce.  Merry Grinchmas!Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is perhaps the easiest part of this recipe.  Kraut is available year-round in cans or in the refrigerated section at the store.  However, I wanted to push myself a bit here, so I made my own red cabbage sauerkraut.  Sauerkraut is normally lacto-fermented.  Good bacteria (similar to the kind in yogurt) live on the surface of fruits and vegetables.  When that bacteria (Lactobacillus) is placed in a saltwater brine, it starts to convert the sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid.  That lactic acid then breaks the cabbage down into the fermented, sour condiment that we call sauerkraut.

Did I lose you with all that food science talk?  The short of it is sauerkraut is easy to make at home, but it takes time.  Like several days up to a week.  But this is the holidays.  Ain’t no-one got time to wait for a week while the cabbage ferments.  To speed up that process, I used a “quick pickling” method where the cabbage is heated with vinegar for a short amount of time.  While this quick-pickled cabbage is not technically sauerkraut, it’s close enough.  And you can make it in 45-minutes.  Of course, store-bought kraut is totally fine here, too.

Get into the holiday spirit with this recipe for a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce.  Merry Grinchmas!Toadstools

Sauerkraut?  Check.  Up next is the toadstool portion.  That’s also an easy one.  Instead of toadstools from the backyard, I went with sliced portabellas.  Toadstools and mushrooms are the same thing.  In general, we often use the term ‘toadstool’ to reference poisonous or inedible mushrooms.  However, we’re trying to eat this sandwich, so I used a bit of creative license with the portabellas.  (This is essentially a Reuben sandwich, but with mushrooms instead of corned beef.)

Arsenic Sauce

Ah, and the crown jewel of the sandwich – the Arsenic Sauce.  Arsenic is highly toxic in its inorganic form.  It is a carcinogen.  It often contaminates drinking water.  It’s a real pain.  But there’s an organic form of arsenic, too.  In fact, the organic form is naturally found in seafood.  Organic arsenic is a relatively low in toxicity, so it can be consumed without much worry.

Now I didn’t want to go add a layer of seaweed or shellfish to this sandwich.  After all, that’s not in the song.  But I had to figure out how to make arsenic sauce.  Enter fish sauce.  Fish sauce is common in Thai cooking, and it is made from fermented fish.  Yes, fermented fish.  A little bit of fish sauce goes a looong way.  For this sandwich, I stirred a tiny bit of fish sauce into Russian dressing and *boom* we’ve got “arsenic sauce.”  Yes, you need to use your imagination a bit, but I think it’s close enough.

Get into the holiday spirit with this recipe for a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce.  Merry Grinchmas!Put all of those elements together in a triple decker sandwich, and you’ve got the famous Grinch sandwich.  So with that, I hope everyone is having a very happy holiday season.  If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit, make a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce, turn on The Grinch and have fun!  Cheers!

P.S.  NPR created a “unique” version of this sandwich years ago.  It’s very different than this version, but the comments from the editors who tried it are hilarious.  They brought tears to my eyes.  It’s worth the read.

Did you make this Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).  I’d love to see your version!

Get into the holiday spirit with this recipe for a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce.  Merry Grinchmas!

Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce

Get into the holiday spirit with this recipe for a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce.  Merry Grinchmas!
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 2 sandwiches
Calories: 660kcal


For the Sauerkraut

  • ½ head red cabbage shredded
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt

For the Toadstools

  • ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 16 oz. portabella or baby bella mushrooms sliced into ½” strips
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

For the Sandwiches

  • 6 slices rye bread
  • butter
  • ¼ cup Russian dressing
  • ¼ tsp fish sauce
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese


For the Sauerkraut

  • Using a large saucepan, add shredded cabbage, water, vinegar, garlic, caraway seeds and kosher salt; stir until well combined.
  • Place over medium-low heat and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 35-40 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and cabbage has softened.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.

For the Toadstools

  • Using a large frying pan, add olive oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add sliced mushrooms, garlic and black pepper; stir until well combined.
  • Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes, or until mushrooms have softened.

For the Sandwiches

  • Butter one side of each slice of rye bread. Place bread buttered-side down in a dry skillet or pancake griddle; cook on low heat until bread is light golden in color.
  • Using a small bowl, whisk together Russian dressing and fish sauce. (Note: Fish sauce is a very strong flavor. A small amount goes a long way!)
  • To assemble sandwiches, place two slices of rye bread on a cutting board. Layer mushrooms and sauerkraut on top. Add a slice of Swiss cheese on top of sauerkraut and then spread Russian dressing on top of cheese. Add another slice of rye bread and then repeat process with more mushrooms, sauerkraut, cheese and Russian dressing. Top sandwiches with remaining slices of rye bread. Serve hot.

Get into the holiday spirit with this recipe for a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich with Arsenic Sauce.  Merry Grinchmas!

Looking for more tasty holiday recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

These Gingerbread Button Cookies are a fun way to add a twist to the holiday cookie tray!Gingerbread Button Cookies

Love cinnamon rolls, but afraid of baking with yeast?  These Cinnamon Rolls Without Yeast are the perfect solution, and they make for one heck of a tasty breakfast!Cinnamon Rolls without Yeast

1 layer of cheesecake + 2 layers of red velvet cake = 3 layers of awesome!  This Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake is a tasty way to celebrate Valentine's Day...or any other day of the year!Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

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  1. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness – the imagination you have! I love Dr. Seuss and this sandwich is a perfect match for The Grinch! What fun it would be to serve this and watch the movie (I prefer the original version.) Grab those footy pajamas, whip up a batch of sandwiches and let the movies begin!

    1. Haha – I had a blast coming up with this recipe, Kathy. It might be ridiculous, but it sure was fun to test the limits of my kitchen creativity here! I do love the Grinch, and I think each version of the movie has its own merits. I did hear that they are looking at a Grinch 2 with Jim Carrey – I’m not sure how I feel about that as it would require inventing a whole new story.

      Either way, this sandwich is a fun way to get into the Christmas spirit! 🙂

    1. Surprisingly, this sandwich is indeed pretty good, Mimi! I’m not sure I’d do the fish sauce again – it’s pretty potent. But then again, you can’t have a Three Decker Toadstool and Sauerkraut Sandwich WITHOUT Arsenic Sauce, right?? 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Green eggs and ham don’t exactly look appetizing (SpicedBlog) – totally agree! But this red cabbage sauerkraut and sandwiches look 100 % (I can give you even 1000%, if you wish) appetizing. I cannot stop staring at this stunning purple colour popping up; that was a great idea to use specifically red cabbage to make the situation even more vibrant. Needless to say, the sandwich itself looks fantastic too…but wait, this sauerkraut 🙂

    1. Yes! The red cabbage was part of the inspiration for making the quick ‘kraut – I wanted that fun purple color. It adds to the overall whimsical feel to this sandwich, right? Happy Holidays, my friend!

  3. 5 stars
    Oh wow – I had no idea there was an organic version of arsenic that was the equivalent of fermented fish sauce! Poof – mind blown! I so love that Kelsie challenged you – this sandwich and it’s story are too too cool!

    1. I know, right? I had to really test the creative side of my brain to get the arsenic sauce to work. Fish sauce was the key! Would I use the fish sauce again? Eh. It’s pretty potent. But then again, you can’t make sandwiches like this without arsenic sauce, right?? Haha!

  4. 5 stars
    Ha! Love that you accepted Kelsie’s challenge and nailed it, David. I have to admit a double-take when I read the subject line of your email, lol. But this sandwich looks absolutely delicious!

    As you said, much more appetizing than Green Eggs and Ham. I’m a fellow Dr. Seuss fan – my all time favorite of his is Horton Hears a Who.

    1. Thank you so much, Marissa! This recipe really challenged the creative side of my brain – but I had so much fun coming up with it! Plus, I’m a huge Dr. Seuss fan, so this had extra special meaning here. And I’m with ya on Horton Hears a Who – that’s one of my favorites, too! In fact, maybe I’ll read that one to Robbie tonight. 🙂

    1. I totally agree with you, Dawn! We love watching The Grinch (all 3 versions) at this time of the year. Such a great story. 🙂 And, yes, this sandwich would be a fun who to get into the Grinchy spirit while watching the movie(s).

  5. This sandwich and that stack looks fantastic , that purple color is attractive on the bread. I like how you’ve made your own Sauerkraut, fresh food tastes so much better than the store brought. And your Dr. Seuss story and this sandwich matches perfectly, my kids love to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, this time of the year. Happy holidays David! and thanks for this recipe!

    1. I totally agree with you about homemade vs. storebought, Aarthi! Plus, I really wanted red (purple) sauerkraut for this sandwich, and you can’t really find red sauerkraut in the store. This was a fun recipe to come up with! I hope you and the family have a wonderful holiday season, my friend!

  6. 5 stars
    How fun, David! Not to mention, delicious! We LOVE sauerkraut in our home so this is just another excuse to enjoy some. Talk about a hearty sandwich. With snow on the ground here today, this is in order and maybe a holiday movie, like the Grinch 😉 Have a great weekend!

    1. Hey, I’m with ya on the ‘kraut, Dawn. I love it! (Funny enough, I used to avoid it like the plague – but not anymore.) It’s turned cold here for sure, but fortunately we’ve avoided the snow (so far). Either way, cold weekend days are perfect for holiday movies – and Grinchy sandwiches! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Not only did you meet the challenge grandly, but you also had fun and created a grand sandwich. Well done David! So what did Robbie think of the three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce?

    1. Oh, I had so much fun with this one, Ron! I have to say that Robbie didn’t care too much for the sandwich – imagine that! 🙂 But Laura and I really enjoyed it – although we decided the arsenic sauce next time should just be plain Russian dressing. The fish sauce in there was a bit odd – haha. Other than that, though, this was one heck of a tasty sandwich!

  8. Wow, I though the arsenic sauce part was just a joke. But there really is an edible form of arsenic? Never knew that!

    And please you really must post on green eggs and ham. Other than using green dye on the eggs, I’m stumped on how you would make them.

    1. I know, right? Edible arsenic – who would’ve thought!? I was sure I was going to have to fudge it for that part, but then I discovered the concept of edible arsenic. Fish sauce to the rescue! (Although I have to admit that the fish sauce in the Russian dressing was a bit odd. Fun, but odd.)

      And I really want to accept your challenge on green eggs and ham. I don’t think I can do it justice though. Other than green dye, I’m thinking you might be able to use spinach blended into the eggs or perhaps pesto – but I’m afraid that might be an army green color rather than the bright green color that you’d want for this idea. (Probably pretty tasty actually – but not the color we want.)

  9. i just finished my last jar of home made sauerkraut. I only make it once a year in winter as it gets too hot here in summer. it might explode!:) I currently have a jar of worcestershire sauce doing its thing in a dark place for a couple of weeks before straining and bottling. Lots of anchovies and fish sauce there. I love the look of your sanger (sandwich) and arsenic sauce sounds fab!

  10. 5 stars
    Arsenic and Fish Sauce, you got me there. Yup fish sauce goes a long way, these fermented liquid may be pungent but it packs a lot of umami, hence most Asian dishes revolve around it

    1. Exactly! The arsenic sauce really challenged my creativity – but who knew there was an organic form of arsenic that is actually edible!? I’ve gotta say that fish sauce mixed into Russian dressing was a bit odd, but hey I can say that I literally had arsenic sauce on my sandwich! 🙂

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