Friday, April 24, 2009

Field Greens with 'Eggs' and Enoki Mushrooms

The other thing I do every day - besides this blog - is the New York Times crossword. I was very vexed, a couple weeks ago, when the clue read "vegan's menu choice" or some such, and the answer was "Salad." I nearly wrote Will Shortz to point out my blog to him and show him that a vegan has far more options than that!

That said, it made me realize that the one thing I don't make very often are salad recipes, and they are a useful part of a vegan diet, for quick fresh veggies. Salads are delicious alongside a lot of the side dishes or entrees I make, to round out a meal, but I don't actually tend to put down a recipe for them, here.

For this entree salad, I had fun making vegan "hard-boiled eggs" using some tofu, some cornmeal, and some vegan mayo. I was not trying to match the taste of eggs, but rather, the look. Call it trompe l'oiel if you will.

Cut a 12-ounce block of extra-firm silken tofu in half. Save half for another use. Slice the remaining half into 4 slices, about 1/2-inch thick each. Using a spoon, round the edges so they are slightly ovoid, then carefully scoop out a small hole in the center of each.

In a bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal with 1 teaspoon vegan mayonnaise (I like the eggless canola mayo from Spectrum Foods), and 2 teaspoons water, until you form a paste. Spoon a little bit into the hold of each "egg" slice as a yolk. Voila!

In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon soy sauce (use low-sodium varieties to keep overall sodium levels down in the recipe), 1 teaspoon raw sugar, 4 teaspoons rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp. canola or vegetable oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper.

Place 6 cups gourmet salad greens, 2 cups enoki mushrooms, 2 tablespoons green onions and 1 medium tomato (cut into 8 wedges) in a large bowl.

Enoki mushrooms are the long, thin ones. I found mine at the Japanese specialty food market, Sunrise Mart, in the East Village, but you should be able to find them in regular grocery stores as well. If not, you can use thinly sliced button mushrooms.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Arrange your "egg" slices on top. This makes an entree salad of 320 calories, but you could also make it 4 side portions of about 1 and 1/4 cups and 80 calories each, to serve alongside whatever else you might be cooking tonight.

cilantro $1.69
gourmet salad greens $2.50
enoki mushrooms $9.98
green onions $0.99
tomato $1.90
extra-firm silken tofu $1.47

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance