One of the greatest pleasures of being vegan (aside from, ya know… not being part of the senseless killing of animals for no reason) is discovering meal after meal after meal that you can STILL have without animal products!
I’ve been vegan going on four years now, and while it no longer is such a novelty to me to discover a vegan version of something I loved eating before (because I know now that pretty much EVERYTHING can be veganized) , it’s really exciting to see newer vegans overjoyed when they realize they can keep right on eating things like tacos, chili, or ice cream. There are endless varieties of plant foods and seasonings out there that can very easily parallel the same textures and flavor profiles of animal-based dishes, and you may just find that you eat a far more varied and exciting diet as a vegan than you ever did consuming animal products!
These two simple salads are a perfect example of dishes that can still easily have those flavor profiles and textures without meat, dairy, or eggs, and are very easy to customize. I’ve had numerous requests on social media to share my recipes for Tofu Eggless Salad and Jackfruit Chick’n Salad, and when you ask, I listen! Both are great as a sandwich served on a lovely soft roll, toast, or with crackers and veggies. I especially like the jackfruit salad in an avocado or tomato half, and I love both spooned onto dainty crackers.
The “secret” ingredient that puts the tofu eggless salad over the top is of course the Kala Namak black salt. If you’ve never worked with this salt before, prepare to be blown away! Grayish-pink rather than black, it exhibits a sulfurous smell and taste very reminiscent of eggs, and has quickly become the vegan community’s go-to ingredient when preparing most anything that was previously egg-based, like tofu scrambles, omelettes, or vegan mayonnaise. Do yourself a favor and DON’T skip it in favor of regular salt- there’s simply no comparison. Kala Namak can often be difficult to find locally (don’t be fooled by a packaged labeled simply “black salt”- if it doesn’t specifically say Kala Namak it won’t have that eggy smell and taste) but is readily and affordably available on Amazon. I bought this one-pound bag over a year ago and have barely made a dent in it since a little goes such a long way.
For the jackfruit chick’n salad, what sets my recipe apart is the technique I use in treating the jackfruit before adding a thing to it.
First, if you’re working with canned jackfruit (what I use), be sure you’re looking for young green jackfruit in WATER, never syrup, and preferrable not brine. If you’re doing a BBQ jackfruit, brine may be acceptable since the strong seasonings of most BBQ sauces can mask the bitter taste, but in this more delicate chick’n salad, I strongly advise against using brined jackfruit. Canned jackfruit is most commonly found in Asian or Indian markets, but if you cannot find any locally, it’s available on Amazon. As for fresh whole jackfruit, I personally have never gotten my hands on one, so I can’t offer any advice about the treatment of it, but if you happen to get one, You Tube has many tutorial videos about how to cut them up. They range from football-sized to almost man-sized!
In my recipe, you’ll note that I do NOT cut off and discard the hard pointed tips nor the little oval pods from the pieces of jackfruit. This amounts to a lot of unnecessary waste, and with my technique, these parts blend nicely into the rest of the shredded jackfruit. This involves the use of a nylon-mesh nut milk bag (I like this brand) to squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the jackfruit, and in the process, I use my fingers to shred apart the pieces. I finish off the shredding with blitz through the food processor to take care of any hard chunks or pods left intact from the squeezing, then a quick baking at a low temperature in either my air fryer or the oven. This brief baking dries out the shredded jackfruit somewhat and greatly improves the texture. Yes, it’s a bit of a fussy procedure, but since the major complaint about jackfruit seems to concern its “slimy” texture, well worth the extra few minutes!
I hope you enjoy both of these new “classic” recipes. Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you snap a photo, tag me on instagram @the-kinder-kitchen!
- 2 14 oz packages extra firm tofu, drained and pressed well
- Scant ½ cup thinly sliced scallions (even mix of green and white parts)
- 2 large ribs celery, diced fine (I run them through a food processor)
- For mayo mixture:
- 1 cup vegan mayo of your choice
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Kala Namak salt
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric (for color)
- few twists fresh ground black pepper
- OPTIONAL: 1 tsp smoked paprika for a light, smoky flavor
- OPTIONAL: 2 TBS sweet or dill pickle relish if desired (I like a little sweet pickle relish)
- Coarsely crumble the pressed tofu into a large bowl. Don't crumble too fine- in the process of adding in the mayo mixture it'll crumble further.
- In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine all of the mayo mixture ingredients. Kala Namak salt can tend to clump, so be especially careful not to leave any nuggets, or someone will be in for a salty bite!
- Spoon the mayo mixture into the bowl containing the tofu and gently fold in with a rubber spatula, breaking up the larger chunks of tofu. Continue until thoroughly combined.
- Chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours for flavors to absorb into the tofu, but chilling overnight is optimal.
- 3 20 oz cans young green jackfruit in water (not brine or syrup)
- ⅔ cup vegan mayo
- 3 TBS finely diced red onion
- 2 TBS dried parsley flakes
- 2 TBS seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- pinch of sugar
- fresh ground black pepper (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200. If you are using an air fryer, no need to preheat.
- Drain the jackfruit and rinse well.
- Place the whole jackfruit wedges (no need to cut off the tips or discard the seed pods) in a mesh nut milk bag and squeeze out as much moisture as you can, shifting the pieces around and breaking them up with your fingers as you go. Repeat until you cannot squeeze any more water out.
- If there are still hard tips or seed pods left that did not get broken up, you may choose to run the jackfruit briefly through a food processor to refine the texture.
- If using the oven: Spread the jackfruit in a thin layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake, stirring around, for approximately 20 minutes or until some of the edges start to get a little dried.
- If using an air fryer: line the bottom with parchment paper or use a baking dish to fit your machine and place the jackfruit in an even layer. Air fry at 200 degrees, stirring often, until the edges of the jackfruit start to get a bit dry.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine all other ingredients, adjusting any seasonings to your taste if necessary.
- Add the cooled jackfruit to the mayo mixture and chill for 2 hours for flavors to meld.