Tired of the same old peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch every day? Break out of the rut. This vegan mock chicken salad is very easy to make but it does require a little advanced planning. The extra firm tofu needs to freeze and then thaw — this changes it to a more chewy texture. After that, you’re looking at about 10-15 minutes assembly time and then chill time in the fridge. If you decide to make your own rolls (like I did) then that’s a different story as far as time goes. The mixture can be
made in advance and kept in the fridge for a few days and the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if necessary.
1 14 ounce package extra firm tofu (not silken!)
2 Stalks celery
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Approximately 1/3 Cup Vegenaise
Throw the entire unopened package of tofu right into the freezer. Let it freeze for 8 hours or overnight. Take it out of the freezer after it is fully frozen and let it sit on the counter for an hour or two until it starts to thaw and then put it in the fridge until the next day or until it is completely thawed.
When you are ready to make the ‘chicken’ salad take the tofu out of the package. The tofu will look like a sponge with tiny holes throughout. You should be able to squeeze the liquid out of the tofu, but try not to break it. Get as much water out as you can.
Once you have drained out all the liquid, shred the tofu on the large holes of a shredder.
Set the tofu aside in a bowl and chop the celery large or small, depending on your preference. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the celery, sage, thyme and black pepper. Fry for about 1 minute and then add the shredded tofu. Fry for another minute and then transfer the mixture into a bowl and let cool for a few minutes.
Add the soy sauce and mix thoroughly. Let the mixture cool for a few more minutes and then add about 2-3 Tablespoons of Vegenaise. You will add more when the mixture has chilled in the fridge.
Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for about a half hour and then add more Vegenaise until mixture is the desired consistency. Slice up a tomato grab some pieces of lettuce, a kaiser roll (or two!), any other toppings you might like and make yourself a marvelous sandwich!
As per the requests, I am adding here the recipe for the kaiser rolls. The recipe is not simple but it’s still fun to make and the rolls come out great! Start them the day before. This recipe is from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (with a few minor adjustments)
2 1/4 Cups white flour (the cookbook calls for half bread flour and half all-purpose flour; I just used all-purpose)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
3/4 Cup room temperature water
Mix together the flour, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl. Add 3/4 cup of water an mix everything together until it forms a ball. Knead or mix with a mixer for a minute adding water or flour if necessary so the dough is not too stiff or too wet.
Mix or knead for another 4-6 minutes, or until the dough is soft and pliable.
Lightly oil a clean bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature for an hour or until it swells to about 1 1/2 times its original size.
Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly to de-gas and return it to the bowl. Cover again with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight.
1 1/2 Cups pate fermentee (see above)
2 1/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon diastatic barley malt powder or 1 1/2 teaspoons barley malt syrup
1 teaspoon yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
2/3 to 3/4 Cup lukewarm water
semolina or cornmeal for dusting
One hour before making the dough, measure 8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) of the pate fermentee and let it sit out at room temperature, covered.
Stir together the flour, salt, malt powder or syrup and yeast in a mixing bowl. Add the pate fermentee, oil and 2/3 cup of water. Mix for a minute until ingredients form a ball of dough. Add the remaining water if necessary.
Lightly dust the counter with flour, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading or mixing (in a mixer) for about 10 minutes (6 minutes by machine) until dough is soft and supple, tacky but not sticky. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl rolling it in the oil to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size. If the dough doubles in size before 2 hours, knead it lightly and let it continue to sit.
Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 6 or 9 equal pieces (depending on how big you want the rolls).
To make the kaiser shape, roll each ball of dough into a log about 6-8 inches long. Start to tie the log into a simple loose knot. Loop the two ends through the center a second time by imagining the face of a clock. One end should come through at what would be 7 and the other end should come through at 5 (one end going through from the top and the other coming up through the bottom). Pinch the two ends together.
Preheat the oven to 425. Dust a cookie sheet with cornmeal or semolina and place each roll on the sheet a couple of inches apart from each other and mist with oil. Cover them with a damp towel and let sit for 45 minutes at room temperature. Flip them over, mist with oil again and cover and let sit for another 30 minutes.
Mist them with water and add sesame or poppy seeds if desired to the tops. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the pan and lower the oven to 400. Bake until rolls are golden brown, about 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the rolls.
Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool.