Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vegan Chicken Salad For Really Lazy People

The dog days of summer are starting here in LA. Honestly, I couldn't be more ready for them. Hot weather, DO. YOUR. THING. Why am I so excited about the insane heat, you ask? Well, I tend to run cold; I despise wearing long-sleeved shirts; and I weirdly like the challenge that comes with the heat - it's sort of like taking a Bikram yoga class...all the time.

(Actually, I've taken two Bikram yoga classes in my life, and, well, I'm not really sure those are for me. ;) I will say, though, that I would give Bikram another chance.)



Anyway, I'm sooooooooooooooooooooooo lazy with cooking lately. I want to chop, like, nothing. Ingredient list longer than 5 items? No, thanks. Prep time is longer than...wait, there's PREP time? Pass. 

There has been a benefit to my laziness of late, however. That is, I'm so averse to even getting in my car to drive to the grocery store that I'm not spending extra cash on ingredients! So, I'm thrifty, too. Win-win.

And by the way, rather than "lazy," I prefer the phrase "energetically economical."

Okay no I don't.

Right, so without further ado...here is the recipe:

V e g a n  C h i c k e n  S a l a d  

F o r   

R e a l l y  L a z y  P e o p l e ! 


Alright, look, here's a forewarning: Given that this recipe was inspired by my laziness, it relies heavily on dried spices, which I just happen to collect in my kitchen cupboard. You can never go wrong with buying whatever dried spice is on sale, I say, but, I digress. Anyway, if you don't have all the dried spices, it's really okay. Don't knock yourself (and your wallet) out over it - just skip! I wrote viable substitutions where possible.

Ingredients:
Stuff you have to saute
1/2 a package (4 oz) of tempeh (I use Trader Joe's, which comes in an 8 oz pack)
2 TB peanut oil (or any oil that doesn't burn when you saute with it)

Stuff you have to chop
1/3 cup pickles, diced (use whatever kind you feel like - I used 3 Kosher sandwich slices)
1/3 cup onion, diced (use any kind - I used white because it was already in my fridge)

Stuff you have to mix
3 TB vegan mayo (I love the Follow Your Heart brand, called "Vegenaise" and I used the original)
1 TB (or less) mustard (I used the standard yellow mustard)
dried tumeric (enough to give it color)
dried dill (maybe like 1 tsp)
sea salt, to taste 
black pepper, to taste (I used the tricolor peppercorn from Trader Joe's)
fresh lemon juice (squeeze maybe 1 or 2 tsps' worth)
optional: some mustard seed (use more mustard if you don't have mustard seeds)
optional: a lot of celery seed (see, there was mold on my *real* celery, so I doubled up on celery seed - if you don't have celery seed, you can substitute 1/3 cup celery, diced)
totally optional: black sesame seeds, a couple sprinkles' worth (I only used this to see what it'd look like...totally skippable)

What To Do:
Heat the peanut oil slightly. Slowly crumble the tempeh into the pan and saute until most sides are golden-ish.

Mix all other ingredients together, adding the pickles and onion last. Add the tempeh. Stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve so that flavors combine.

Serving idea: This tastes great in a sandwich! Pictured is mine: vegan chicken salad on toasted sourdough bread, with big leafy romaine, chopped grape tomatoes, and sliced avocado. Mmmm-MMM!!!

Serving idea #2: Double the recipe if you want to make it for your family/roommates/etc. or if you want it to last a couple of days. I specifically made the recipe small because I am only cooking for moi!

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