Thursday, October 13, 2011

Broccoli, Mushroom, and Tofu Salad

Getting right back on the vegan wagon, I made another new vegan dish recently, and this one was a total keeper.
Delicious healthy broccoli salad

This recipe, did, though, include another "weird vegan" ingredient that was a first for me: Vegenaise. Yup, vegan mayonnaise. Now, I don't even like regular mayonnaise. In fact, I pretty much avoid it at all costs. So it was a real leap of faith for me to try this. BUT, the link on Finding Vegan said "the best broccoli salad EVER." Ok, fine- you've got me. I'll try it. (I did, however, take my own advice and decrease the amount of vegenaise used in the original recipe).

Recipe adapted from/ inspired by 'Vegan Broccoli Salad' on Namely Marly.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, drained and cut into bite-sized cubes (to drain tofu, not only remove all the package liquid, but also press with paper towels until excess water is removed)
  • 2 large heads of broccoli, cut into florets (about 4-5 cups worth)
  • 1 package of shittake mushrooms, sliced and washed
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO (for pan to cook tofu)
  • Sea salt to taste
Dressing ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo (I used Follow Your Heart brand Vegenaise)
  • 1.5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • scant 1/4 cup agave syrup (you could do 1/8 cup plus a Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl; it's ok if it's runny, as within 15 minutes the chia seeds will start to form their gel and the dressing will thicken a little.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add in the tofu cubes. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, and then stir & turn, evenly cooking each side until the cubes look lightly golden brown (this should take about 10-12 minutes). Add in the shittake mushrooms and cook about another 2-3 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.
  3. Steam the broccoli, making sure you DO NOT OVERCOOK. This is key. The last thing you want is mushy broccoli- it would completely ruin the salad. The broccoli should only steam for about 3 minutes, and when you stick a fork in it, you should be able to insert the fork but it shouldn't just slide through. It will change color slightly from that light raw green to just steamed darker (but not deep) green.
  4. Drain the broccoli and run under cold water in a colander to ensure it doesn't continue steaming. 
  5. Transfer to a large bowl and pour in some of the dressing - you may not need all of it, just enough to lightly coat the broccoli. (I only used about 1/2 of my dressing! But it's good to have on hand later for salads, wraps, sandwiches, or even for a little dip- it will thicken a bit over time bc of the chia seeds).

I was definitely skeptical of the vegan mayo. But, once I found out it's made of natural ingredients - canola oil, brown rice syrup, soy protein, mustard flour and lemon juice, I figured it was worth trying. The dressing was a little tangy & sweet, and just a tiny bit creamy but still very light. This was a delicious, easy salad, and there is plenty of room for variation. I like the shittake mushrooms in it, but chick peas, regular peas, raisins, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds would all be good additions/substitutions. You could also sub tempeh for the tofu (as in the original recipe, which called for smoked tempeh 'bacon' - I avoided because I don't like smoky flavors), or probably even cannellini beans would work for protein too. This is also a good make-ahead dish, as it's meant to be served cold, and stores well for at least a few days. Hellooooo good lunch leftovers!

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