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New Spin on a Classic Lunch

October 28, 2011

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!

so creamy.

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.

restaurant style, sort of.

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?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2011 1:44 pm

    What an awesome lunch! I always wanna try that VWAV recipe but can never find tempeh around here.

    • October 28, 2011 3:09 pm

      I think it would work fine with an equal amount of mushed up chickpeas! The flavor profile wouldn’t change much, anyway. Go for it!

  2. October 28, 2011 2:09 pm

    open-faced sammies are the bee’s knees and i cannot wait to give your taste on Isa’s recipe a whirl! i love me some cashews. hard. i also love the sound of your tempeh salad. it also looks fantastical, especially buddied up with the caesar-style salad. hell to the yes, my friend!

    p.s. – that is some shit, Jessic.! how the ferk does that crasshole know what bile tastes like? has he gone about sticking his inside his gallbladder and given it a taste?! i mean, seriously. come. on. i love close-minded people – because not only do i feel sorry for them, but they make me laugh. jerk.

    • October 28, 2011 3:11 pm

      haha, he also said that it tasted like he threw up in his mouth. seriously! how do people not know that if they don’t like something, they can just say, ‘nope, not for me!’ instead of saying something completely ridiculous and downright mean? i don’t care if you don’t like it! but be polite about it!

  3. October 28, 2011 3:27 pm

    That looks so good and creamy. It’s great to be able to make it without Veganaise.

  4. October 28, 2011 4:35 pm

    Hmm, very interesting! I might be tempted to actually cook the tempeh in the sauce (maybe minus the mango–I’d probably add it as a raw garnish later, with cilantro) and serve it all over hot rice or couscous. But hey, I work at home and have access to a kitchen for lunch. 🙂

  5. October 29, 2011 10:32 am

    I love soup & a sandwich, it’s probably my must regularly eaten lunch. I’ll have to try a mango tempeh salad sandwich soon.

  6. October 30, 2011 10:19 am

    Curried tempeh salad on crusty bread sound like a win-win to me! Been so long since I made a sandwich, gotta get on it!

  7. October 30, 2011 7:30 pm

    Bookmarkin’ this! Looks awesome. I am always looking for new tempeh recipes so keep them coming!


  8. Katie Quinonez permalink
    October 30, 2011 10:17 pm

    I really need to re-purchase that book.

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