Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Mock Chicken Salad

I spent the day at my parents' house for a pre-Memorial Day picnic. Some years we get together and my mom overdoes it by turning the holiday into a summery version of Thanksgiving, which is nice, but I leave feeling as if I can't eat for another week. This year it was more casual with straightforward picnic fare, some of which was vegan.

There were the usual hamburgers, grilled chicken and kielbasa with sauerkraut for the omnivores, and for me there was salad with a delicious tahini dressing my mom successfully concocted (tahini, lemon juice, agave syrup, olive oil, sea salt), potato salad made with Vegenaise, and mock chicken salad.

These last two are creations of mine that I can safely bring to nearly any picnic if I want to achieve the illusion of normalcy. Regular people eat them. You'd never know the difference with the potato salad. And most people are pleasantly surprised by the tempeh "mystery meat."

The key ingredients are: Litelife garden veggie tempeh, Westbrae Organics Dijon mustard, Vegenaise and Bubbie's pure kosher dill pickles. If you don't use these, I can't vouch for the quality, because the pure awesomeness of this holy-trinity-plus-one really justifies any effort you might need to make to find them.

This is one of the easiest vegan recipes for a simple light lunch or picnic potluck. It can be made in a hurry, and leftovers only get better as they sit in the fridge.

The most critical step that must not be overlooked is to boil the tempeh before crumbling it into your salad. This plumps up the block of soy curd, softens the texture, releases the flavor and, once squeezed dry, also allows for the absorption of flavors. I hope you will make it one of your family favorites for years to come.

Tempeh Mock Chicken Salad

8 ounces tempeh, cut into cubes

1/2 cup Veganaise
1 stalk celery, chopped fine

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 minced dill pickle

1-2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp sea salt

splash of apple cider vinegar

In a medium sauce pot, bring water to a boil then boil tempeh cubes for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with water until cool to the touch.

Squeeze tempeh cubes to remove water, then crumble into a large mixing bowl and combine with chopped celery, carrot and pickle.

Stir in remaining ingredients, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Season with sea salt and vinegar at the end to really perk up the taste. Serve in a sandwich or mounded on a bed of lettuce.

1 comment:

benvenuto al mio viaggio said...

Thanks, Mary, for this recipe. I am off to purchase all of these ingredients and am excited to give this a try! I will report back!