New Spin on a Classic Lunch
I don’t know a lunch more satisfying than either of these two: Sandwich & Salad or Sandwich & Soup. These combinations (ok, along with Soup & Salad, which I find less satisfactory) grace lunch menus across the nation (world?). For whatever reason, they just work. Although today I made myself the soup and sammie combo, I’ve been eating the salad variation for the past few days. But how to make it unique? We’re not doing ham and cheese in our house (vegan or otherwise, although I did make some bangin’ Tofurkey paninis with Daiya cheddar last week). And honestly, sometimes it’s just annoying to have to get out all those sandwich ingredients – bread, mockmeat, lettuce, tomato, mustard, fake cheese. That’s why I really get down on sandwich fillings that you just slap between slices of bread and go to town. Mostly I’ve done tofu or chickpea salads, but this time I had a half block of tempeh hanging around in the fridge, so I made a variation on the curried tempeh and mango sammich filler in Vegan with a Vengeance. I’ve made this before and really enjoyed it, but this time around I wanted to do something a little different. Namely, make it less sweet because mangoes are already sweet enough on their own, make it more spicy because duh, and use a creamy cashew base instead of the vegenaise. I’ve been really digging on cashews and their versatility lately, so I just wanted to see if this would work, and it totally did!
I feel sort of bad posting a recipe for this, since the idea is obviously Isa’s, but it’s a neat variation that I really enjoyed. And it just felt less…processed without the vegenaise. Plus, it made a smaller portion, for those of you who are only whipping it up for yourselves.
Ripoff Curried Mango Tempeh Salad
1/2 8 oz block of tempeh (4 oz!)
1 mango, peeled and cut into 1/2-1 inch cubes
1/4 cup cashews (I used roasted, unsalted)
1/4-1/2 cup plain, unsweetened soymilk (or almond milk)
3 tsp curry powder
1-2 tsp garlic chili sauce (or just sriracha if you don’t have the garlic kind)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
juice from 1 small lime
salt to taste
So first up, get your tempeh steaming while you prep your other ingredients. Cut the tempeh into a bunch of small cubes (doesn’t have to be perfect, we’re gonna mush ’em later) and put them into a steamer apparatus of your choice and let them go for 12 minutes, then drain. Meanwhile, put your cashews in the blender with the smallest amount of soymilk first. If you need more soymilk to make it all whirl around together, add it. Blend these together for at least 5 minutes, so that your cashews aren’t grainy. You’re looking for an end result that’s like heavy cream, or full-fat coconut milk – thick and smooth and creamy, but pourable. When that’s done, add all of the ingredients to the bowl (I didn’t bother to let my tempeh cool, and it didn’t hurt anything) and stir with a fork, mushing the tempeh into crumbles as you go. Taste for salt and spice. It’s best left refrigerated for a few hours to let the flavors meld, but you do what you want.
One thing – I have noticed that this salad separates a little after being refrigerated, like it looks like there’s water at the bottom of the dish. Just stir it all up again and don’t worry about it.
I’ve been eating this open-faced on a really nice and thick slice of bread because I don’t have any pitas this time around. It goes great with a Caesar-style salad! I made my own croutons using the same bread (it’s just sandwich bread…I was going to use nice brown bread, but it turned into a science experiment when I wasn’t looking) by cutting up 3 slices into cubes and then tossing with a teensy amount of olive oil, salt and pepper, then baked them at 300F for 15 minutes. It’s been so long since I had a crouton! I had forgotten how awesome they are. Anyway, I made the Caesar dressing from Appetite for Reduction, which I love (but some jerk at work told me tasted ‘like bile’ [seriously, how rude can you get?]) and have just been salad-ing it up with romaine, halved grape tomatoes, and the croutons. Yum!
What is your favorite lunch combination?