Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lunchtime Yum: Faux Egg Salad

I'm never quite sure what to call this eggless egg salad, as the description is a contradiction.  And yet, it works.  Anyway, bottom line is this: faux egg salad is mighty tasty, chock-full of protein and other healthy goodness, and cholesterol free.  Have with some whole wheat pita, some cucumbers, and cornichons (or other pickles); try it on toasted bread for a nice sandwich; put a scoop on some tomato slices or on a green salad and go to town.

Now, I'm going to use the "t" word, and I don't want you to go runnin' for the hills.  Tofu.  There, said it.  If you've never had it, if you don't know what the heck to do with it, are scared to try it, or even if you've had a bad experience with it, I think you'll be pleased with this recipe.  Crumbled tofu has a very similar texture to hard boiled eggs, and since this salad is full of tasty Vegenaise, curry powder, herbs, etc., you taste all of that flavorful goodness and get the taste and texture of egg salad minus all the artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat.  It's a win-win.

Moving on.  A word about tofu preparation.  I'll be brief.  You gotta drain it really well.  It's sold packed in water (and you gotta store it in water), and it really soaks up a ton of it.  This is tofu's strength: its super mild flavor and eager willingness to soak up all the tasty flavors you throw at it, savory, sweet, whatever.  Tofu can handle what you got, so don't be shy.  Anyway, when you're ready to use your tofu, drain, drain, drain.  And then press, press, press.  Wrap it in a paper towel or two to absorb the extra moisture, and then press out the water.  Press a little more.  There.  Your tofu is ready.  Wasn't that easy?

Onto the recipe.  This recipe is an adaptation of the one found in the fantastic cookbook, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch (copyright 2007), which has some great recipes, so check it out.  (Website is here and includes a link to 5 recipes from the book that you can try before you buy.)  You might also check out Skinny Bitch, but be forewarned: people have changed their lifestyles dramatically (for the better) after reading it.


-- 1 lb. extra firm tofu*, prepped (drained and pressed; see above); (*friendly fyi: Trader Joe's sells a great "high-protein" tofu in nifty vacuum-sealed plastic with only a little water, that doesn't require a lot of pressing and draining.  But any extra firm tofu will work.)
-- 1/3 c. Vegenaise (plus another tbsp. or two if needed)
-- 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
-- 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
-- 2 green onions, white and green parts sliced thinly
-- 1/2 c. chopped celery
-- 2 tsp. each chopped fresh chives, and flat-leaf parsley
-- 1/2 tsp. salt
-- a few twists of the pepper grinder
-- 1/2 tsp. curry powder* (*you can start with half of this if you don't like too much spice, and add more to taste)


Throw that tofu block in a large bowl and get crumbling!  Basically, just grab small hunks of it and crumble into small pieces.  Honestly, it's a bit of a pain, but it's a great activity to get the kids to help with.  So if you've got rug-rats running around your house and gnawing on table legs out of sheer boredom, get 'em to roll up their sleeves and put those grubby little hands to work.  And if you don't have any helpers, this is a great technique to release some rage.  (Wait, what?)

Once the tofu is crumbled, dump in everything else.  Stir, stir, stir.  Now taste.  What does it need?  More salt?  More pepper?  Perhaps another spoonful or two of Vegenaise?  You decide.  Make it so it's just how you like it.

And that's it!  Have it on crackers, wrap it up in a wheat tortilla with some greens, put it on fancy crostini and sprinkle with more fresh herbs, or eat it with a spoon.  I hope you'll agree that it's mighty tasty.  Plus, it's loaded with good stuff.  All that soy protein (unprocessed), fresh herbs, and curry powder is great for you.  It's got turmeric in it, that bright yellow spice, which is ridiculously beneficial; here's a list of 20 health benefits of turmeric.  Now aren't you informed and healthy.


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