Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fake Out Tuna Salad Sammie

Mock tuna salad? Yeah right, you can't mock tuna.

Having been immersed in the vegan cooking world for over 3 years, I've come across a recipe or two for vegan "tuna" salad. I had my doubts. The texture, the fishy taste, and the deli feel were not promising qualities from substitutes like chickpeas. A whole lotta love do I have for my gusty garbanzo friend, but I just wasn't enticed enough to try my own version.

Never underestimate these beans. I totally fell for it when I mashed this concoction up, thought it was tuna. Ok not really, but it was damn good. What inspired me to finally try this? My obsession with Veganaise. And Dijon. These two staples have been increasingly more prevalent in my everyday dishes and the thought of whipping in a dollop of Veganaise  into mashed anything makes me salivate. That thought would be SO gross if I were talking about real mayo, right? I do use the reduced fat version to cute extra calories and make myself feel better about smothering everything in fake mayo. It tastes just as good.

Pretty sure omnivores and veg heads alike will adore this recipe. I even think I can pass this off at the next company potluck without anyone branding it as a "vegan" dish. If you don't have seaweed flakes, no biggie. You could always crumble sheets of nori if you have it. The only reason I have them is because I fell for a sale at Whole Foods (it was a two-fer). Use quality Dijon though such as Maille and actual Veganaise rather than imposter soy mayo substitute (Noya - gag). You could also try yogurt for a low fat mayo replacement as well. Between some pita and greens, you're gonna wish they sold this at your deli.

Fake Out Tuna Salad Sammie
Makes 2 servings
Prep time: 5 ish minutes


1 c. cooked chickpeas or canned (drained and rinsed)
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 stalk green onions, white parts included, diced
1 heaping T. reduced fat Veganaise
1/2 T. quality Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dried kelp
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper

1-2 pita rounds
1 c. mixed greens


In a medium bowl, mash peas with a potato masher or pulse in food processor a few times until broken up but still chunky. Be sure to leave some hunks. Mix in remaining ingredients, adding more seasonings or condiments to your liking.

Slice pitas in half and stuff each half with greens and a generous scoop chuna salad.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chick au Poivre with Frites

Every now and then, or maybe a little more frequently than that, my token omnivore and I enjoy a good veg session on the couch with a good movie and snuggle time with the pup. This usually involves a meal eaten in our laps at each other’s sides which makes the experience wholesome and special. Most meals have a way of doing that, don’t you think?

So this week, after the hype of the Academy Awards, I was itching to see Hugo. For one, it takes place in Paris and I love all things French (except the B.O.). Plus, with Martin Scorsese in charge now donned with a fresh Oscar, it sounded like my kind of flick. This of course led me to believe we must have something French for dinner. The options however didn’t sound that appealing as I ran through the list of basic ideas: ratatouille, crepes, cassoulet, some kind of tart. Boring. Until I came across a recipe for Steak au Poivre.

To be honest, I was enticed by the French Fries in this picture during my research. So I started thinking about a steak replacement. Leftovers from last weekend’s ski trip? That’ll work! Both the cooked pasta and canned chickpeas needed to be used up before sliming over in the fridge, and I recalled reading a veggie burger recipe somewhere with a secret ingredient of pasta as a binding agent. Can’t remember the source, but the idea sure stuck.

A picture for inspiration and some fridge-clearing creativity brought me to this fabulous meal. Complete with, yes, frozen French Fries. We don’t have to be classy all the time.

Chick au Poivre
Makes: 4 patties
Cook time: 20-30 minutes


1 c. whole wheat or GF pasta, cooked
½ T. soy sauce, tamari or Braggs
½ T. vegan Worcestershire sauce
½ T. poultry seasoning
4-5 drops liquid smoke
¼ tsp. chick-un bouillon (optional)
1 c. chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned)

¼ c. tapioca starch
¼ c. rice flour
½ - 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1-2 T. quality Dijon mustard
1-2 T. vegetable oil
Red Wine Glaze (recipe below)


Place the pasta in a food processor and process for 20-30 seconds, or until pasta is well ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in soy sauce, Worcestershire, poultry seasoning and liquid smoke. Blend to incorporate seasonings. Add chickpeas to the mix and mash with a potato masher or fork to break up the chickpeas leaving some chunks.

Place tapioca and rice flours into a medium bowl and stir in your desired amount of ground pepper. Set flour aside for dipping.

Form the chickpea mixture into 4 circular or funky-shaped patties. Brush one or both sides with Dijon mustard and coat both sides well in the rice flour mix. Transfer to plate and/or refrigerate to firm up patties if desired.

Heat oil of choice in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add patties and cook until browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side.

Serve patties with a spoonful or two of Red Wine glaze and a good dose of French Fries!

Red Wine Glaze

Makes: about ½ cup
Cook time: 5-7 minutes


½ T. Earth Balance
2 T. shallots, minced
½ c. dry red wine
½ c. vegetable stock or broth
1/3 c. non-dairy milk or creamer of choice


In a small saucepan, melt Earth Balance over medium heat and add shallot. Cook 1-2 minutes or until softened. Add red wine and broth and increase heat to medium-high. Reduce by about half and add milk/creamer of choice. Reduce heat to medium again and cook the liquid down until sauce is nice and thick, using your judgment of when to pull the plug on the heat.