June 20, 2012

Dilled Tofu Salad

IMG_7708

There are many recipes to be found in vegan cookbooks for eggless egg salad. I am not a lover of tofu so they never seemed that appealing until I tried one from M Cafe de Chaya in Los Angeles, California. The flavors were quite delicious, but what truly astounded me was the texture of the tofu. It was firm with a pleasant consistency unlike the soft milky tofu I was so familiar with from dishes in Chinese restaurants.

After buying the salad to bring home on several occasions, I set out to create one on my own. I chose to use dill and turmeric which are in the salad from the cafe, and added in additional ingredients that I might put in a classic egg salad recipe. I wouldn't necessarily say that it tastes just like egg salad, but it makes for a darn good substitute for people such as myself who avoid eggs and dairy products but enjoy these sort of classics from our childhood lunchboxes. 

This salad is great in a sandwich on whole grain preservative free bread if you eat gluten. I enjoy it with seeded crackers, brown rice crackers, or wrapped a brown rice tortilla or greens such as kale or butter lettuce.

A special note on turmeric. Turmeric is a super food with super power. It is hailed to be among the top foods or ingredients in fighting several types of cancer. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory that can be as effective as many anti-inflammatory drugs without the side effects. I personally take turmeric supplements in capsule form daily that are prescribed by my doctor to help with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Additionally, it is anti-bacterial, aids in digestion, and is not only beneficial to the skin but has shown potential in treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions. The effects of turmeric in cooking are improved by warming it in oil, but that step is unnecessary to take for this particular recipe. If you have access to fresh turmeric, give it a try for comparison sake. Grate it in the same fashion as you would fresh ginger.

Dilled Tofu Salad
Serves 4
For all of the ingredients, please use only those that are organic or pesticide free.
 
14 ounces extra firm tofu
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
4 cornichon pickles, chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
3 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
  freshly ground black pepper
1/4 + cup veganaise
1/4 red onion, chopped (optional and recommended)
 
Remove the tofu from the packaging. Drain the water as much as possible. Put the tofu on a dinner size plate and cover with another plate of the same size. Put a pot or a few cans of tomatoes on top of the plate to provide enough weight to press the tofu. Leave at room temperature or refrigerate for 30-40 minutes. Drain the excess liquid from time to time.
Dry the tofu with a paper towel. Slice it in ¼ inch lengths each direction, and then cut into small cubes. Transfer the tofu to a mixing bowl and use a fork to further smash some of the cubes into curds.
Add the dill, cornichon, celery, lemon juice, mustard, turmeric, salt, pepper, and veganaise. Mix thoroughly. Taste the mixture and add more of any desired flavorings. This will depend greatly on your own personal preferences for creamier, tangier, crunchier, or a generally more flavorful result.
Refrigerate for 3-5 days in an airtight container.

 

IMG_7698 IMG_7706 IMG_5199Pictured here with the addition of red onions.


Categories: Gluten Free, Salads, Sandwiches, Vegan Entrees
 

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5 Responses to Dilled Tofu Salad

  1. Valerie says:

    This looks fantastic, Julie. I don’t normally have cornichon in my pantry as I’m not a huge fan of the flavor – any thoughts on alternatives?

  2. You can use a standard half sour pickle, bread and butter pickle, or nothing at all. It is not a critical ingredient in the recipe and will be fine without.

  3. Nancy says:

    I think dill pickles are the best for “egg” salad!

  4. Valerie says:

    I tried it with and without the pickle. It definitely adds something wonderful.

  5. JKT says:

    Secret for truly egg tasting tofu egg salad – Indian Black Salt (kala namak). Use 1.5 teaspoons for 14 oz of tofu. Sprinkle it on the tofu block and work it in with a fork. It is amazing and most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference between real egg salad and this tofu egg salad.
    I also use capers and a blend of fennel “leaves”, dill ( both dried or fresh) and celery seed with a blend of sweet and tart pickle relish.
    I also find Dijon to be too aggressive in some recipes – this is one of them – and although many people turn their noses up at plain old yellow mustard there are some good ones on the market.

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