Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tofu Salad Sandwich Filling (Mock Egg)

The basic idea of using tofu to make a mock egg salad is a vegan classic. If you hang around vegans long enough, you will definitely be served a version of this. This is my take on it.

I’m a little picky about texture when it comes to the tofu in this recipe—I want it firm enough to not be super mushy but not so much that it’s hard or crunchy. That’s why I have the employed slightly unusual microwave-pressing technique. It drives out just enough moisture without browning or crisping the way other cooking methods would. The tofu also absorbs more flavor when it’s warm. If this technique doesn’t appeal to you, you can try one of the alternative methods listed in the variations.

The other unusual thing about this recipe is the use of the bean-based sauce. Most recipes of this type use vegan mayonnaise, which is fine. I think that the texture of the pureed beans better approximates that of egg yolks, however. And nutritionally, there’s more protein and less fat in the bean sauce. Actually, there’s no added fat in this recipe at all. (There is a little bit of natural fat in the tofu.)


Tofu Salad Sandwich Filling (Mock Egg)

1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice (more or less to taste)
¼ cup unsweetened soymilk (other nondairy milks okay too)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp lemon pepper
¼ tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp dill weed
1/8 tsp dried tarragon
dash of paprika

1 lb extra-firm tofu
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
¼ of a medium onion, diced finely
salt and pepper to taste


Puree all sauce ingredients until smooth in a blender or food processor; set aside.

Dice the tofu into ¼ inch cubes. Spread the cubes onto a microwave-safe plate and cook on high for 2 minutes. Being careful not to burn yourself, place a second plate on top of the tofu and lightly press the two plates together as you tilt them over a sink and pour off excess liquid. Repeat the microwaving, pressing and draining process 1 or 2 times if you wish for extra firmness. Let cool for a couple minutes while you chop your veggies.

 Place chopped celery, onion, and tofu in a mixing bowl and stir in the sauce. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Serve either chilled or at room temperature on nice hearty whole grain bread. Good on crackers or bagels, too.



If you’d like a softer-texured (and faster) version of this recipe, you could skip the microwaving and pressing process altogether and merely dice firm tofu and add it directly to the sauce and veggies.
If you prefer a very firm and chewy tofu salad, you could dice baked tofu (such as this recipe) and stir it in with the celery, onion, and sauce instead of the microwave-pressed tofu.

If you don’t want to whip out your blender to make the sauce, a potato masher would work okay in a pinch. Just thoroughly mash the beans alone before adding the rest of the sauce ingredients. You might end up needing a little extra liquid.

You could jazz up your sandwich with various mix-ins, including: pickle relish, scallions, green or black olives, red onions, bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, shredded carrot, cucumbers, fresh herbs such as parsley, chives or cilantro, diced avocado, radishes, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, pimentos or roasted red peppers, horseradish, or even diced cooked potato.

The seasonings can be varied as well—curry powder is a pretty common addition. Cayenne can be added for heat.
The herbs and spices can also be simplified by just using 1-1 ½ tsp of your favorite seasoning mix instead of the long-ish list in this recipe.

You could also change the assembly and stuff this filling into little croustade shells or similar so that you could eat it finger-food style, like deviled eggs. It could could also be served in hollowed out fresh tomatoes.

Looking for sandwich spreads? Try my Mashed Garbanzo and Artichoke Spread or Cheaper Hummus.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Vegan Zucchini Bread

This holiday season I chose to attend several local holiday craft fairs. They're fun and festive, get you in the holiday mood and are a good source of inspiration for gifts and treats. I say inspiration because I usually browse rather than buy at them--price inflation can be fairly significant and there's rarely anything vegan among the edible offerings.

At any rate I usually leave with a couple of unique but inexpensive ornaments and a craving for the traditional treats I've been seeing and smelling all day, in particular the little loafs of various holiday breads lined up in a row.

So I decided to make my own vegan version of my favorite, zucchini bread.

Vegan Zucchini Bread

Vegan Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Dry ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
¼-1/2 cup oat bran
¾-1 cup sugar or sweetener
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
dash cardamom
2 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼-1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

½ cup applesauce
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp almond extract
2/3 cup soy milk

2 cups shredded zucchini

Chopped pecans (optional)


Shred your zucchini using either the top disk of a food processor or a box grater.

Mix the dry ingredients together. (Use the higher amount of bran if making the sugar free version to improve the texture)
Stir together the wet ingredients.

Mixing the batter

Combine dry and wet mixes together and stir in the zucchini, taking care not to over-mix. 

In the loaf pan

Pour batter into two parchment lined 7 by 3 inch loaf pans.

Pecan-topped version

Sprinkle the top with the pecans if using. 

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F, rotating halfway through.

In the oven

Dried fruits such as raisins or dried cranberries can be mixed in with the batter. So can nuts, shredded coconut or chocolate chips

Other dessert-friendly shredded vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, or beets, can be substituted for the zucchini. So can shredded apples or pears.