Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waldorf Salad Pockets with Baked Tofu

I’ve always rather liked Waldorf Salad and have made different vegan versions over the years. This time I decided to try more of a main-dish take on it. It turned out nicely—quite refreshing and rather summery, even though the non-seasonal ingredients make it easy to make year-round.

I rather like recipes like this that can be made ahead in volume and served cold. They can come in handy during busy times. Whether it’s the joyful chaos of a family wedding or new baby, or the less pleasant stress of a loved one in the hospital, it’s nice know there’s a big bowl in your fridge waiting for anyone passing through who needs a meal on the go. When it’s something wholesome and well rounded with protein, fruits and veggies that will really nourish people and keep them going when they need it the most, that’s even better. Other recipes I’ve used for this purpose include Quinoa Salad, Mashed Garbanzo and Artichoke Spread, and Tofu Salad Sandwich Filling.

Vegan Waldorf Salad Pockets


Waldorf Salad Pockets with Baked Tofu

1 ½ lbs tofu, baked according to this recipe (or store-bought baked tofu)

3 large apples, diced into ½ inch pieces (not peeled)
1 12 oz package of broccoli slaw
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup vegan mayonaisse
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp sugar or sweetener (more or less to taste)
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp ground ginger

salt and pepper to taste

Pita pockets or other flatbread


Dicing the baked tofu
Dice the baked tofu into bite-sized pieces; set aside.
Whisk together all dressing ingredients until completely smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, combine tofu, apples, broccoli slaw, dried cranberries, and walnuts. Add dressing and stir until well coated. Taste and adjust seasoning and sweetness.

Baked Tofu Waldorf Salad

Warm your pitas if you wish, then stuff your Waldorf salad inside. Enjoy!

Makes quite a bit—at least 8-10 large servings.


Waldorf salads sometimes contain diced celery or onions; those would both be welcome additions. The dried cranberries can be replaced with other dried fruits, such as cherries or raisins.

The walnuts could be substituted with almonds or pecans. The proportions of various ingredients can be adjusted to your taste as well (e.g. double the amount of nuts and halve the craisins).

The amount or composition of the dressing may be tweaked as well.

It would be quite authentic to serve the salad on a lettuce leaf instead of the pita, too.

Vegan Options for Dressing Fruit Salads:  

I like to make fruit salads, and since the dressing is usually the only non-vegan component, I’ve tried a number of different things over the years. Here are the basic options:

Fruit Salad, dressed with vegan yogurt
            Vegan yogurt is an excellent choice for dessert style fruit salads because of its sweetness. Its high sugar content may be undesirable in more savory recipes though (such as the one above) as well as nutritionally problematic for some people. The best flavors of vegan yogurt for fruit salads are vanilla, plain and lemon, although you could get more adventurous if you wanted to.

            Vegan sour cream is nice and creamy, richer and less sweet than yogurt, so it can be used in savory recipes. It may be less nutritious due to higher fat content and some even contain trans fat, however.

            Vegan mayo is arguably the best of both worlds nutritionally, much lower in sugar than vegan yogurt and lower in fat than vegan sour cream. Also one of very few specialty vegan staples that actually comes in reduced fat and even fat-free varieties (although availability varies by locale). It’s a very effective dressing base not just for fruit salads but also green/veggie salads. It benefits from being jazzed up a little with extra flavors like lemon juice, onion powder and sweetener. 

            Vegan “buttermilk” is not something you buy, it’s something you make by combining non-dairy milk with lemon juice or vinegar. For baking, the ratio is one tablespoon lemon juice to a scant cup of non-dairy milk, but for dressings I like it tangier. I use about one tablespoon of lemon juice per quarter-cup non-dairy milk, then sweeten and flavor to taste. Vegan buttermilk is not as thick as the other sauce options, so a smaller amount (1/2 to 2/3) should be used to prevent runniness. The advantages to using the “buttermilk” over the other sauce options are that it’s very economical and uses widely available ingredients—depending on where you live, soymilk and lemon juice may be much easier to get a hold of than specialty vegan yogurts, sour creams and mayos. It tastes pretty good too, especially if sweetened, and the lemon juice makes it effective at preventing oxidation in the fruit.

            Non creamy sauces for fruit salads are often vegan already with no modification. They can be based off of fruit juices, sugar syrups or vinaigrettes.

            No sauce at all: there’s nothing to say that a fruit salad has to be dressed with a sauce in the first place. If the fruit is on the juicy side, it’ll sauce itself. : )

Vegan Waldorf Salad with Baked Tofu and Broccoli Slaw

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