Even if I didn't eat a primarily vegan diet, I'm pretty sure I'd prefer tofu egg-less salad to the real thing. I love the texture of roughly crumbled tofu, the way you can flavor it any way you want, and the absence of heavy mayo (plus it keeps a lot better). Lately, my favorite tofu "egg" salad is one that incorporates bold curry powder, plump golden raisins, and roasted pumpkin seeds. Served as a sandwich or on a bed of greens, it makes an easy and healthy lunch.
For this spiced, but not overly spicy, salad I initially wanted to pair Indian curry powder with tangy chutney. Only problem was, I didn't have any chutney on hand. So I came up with a quick and easy way to incorporate some of the flavors of chutney by plumping up the raisins with apple cider vinegar and adding a big pinch of mild yellow mustard seeds. It's a lighter take on chutney and works well with the fresh herbs and delicate pumpkin seeds. (I use pumpkin seeds because I'm allergic to tree nuts, but sliced almonds or chopped cashews would also be delicious.)
This is one dish where it pays to make it in advance so the flavors have time to meld. Mix it up the night before, or even days ahead, and you'll have a really flavorful salad by the time lunch rolls around. The recipe makes enough for several servings, so you might put it between slices of bread or inside a pita one day, atop of bed of greens the next, and then add chopped apples or shredded carrots and serve it with crackers another day.
Curried Tofu SaladServes 4-6
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 pound extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds
1 scallion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (homemade or store-bought)
2 tablespoons curry powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the raisins and mustard seeds in a small heatproof bowl. Bring the apple cider vinegar to a boil and pour it over the raisins and mustard seeds. Let them soak for at least 10 minutes (longer is even better).
Rinse and drain the tofu and gently press it between towels to rid of excess water. Place the tofu in a large bowl and roughly crumble it using your hands or a fork. Add the raisins and mustard seeds (along with any excess vinegar), pumpkin seeds, scallions, and parsley.
In a separate bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, curry powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Add this to the tofu mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
Serve as a sandwich spread or on a bed of salad greens. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
(Images: Emily Ho)