This week I begin a new job that has everything going for it, including great colleagues, beautiful setting, and a spacious yet cozy office. The one major adjustment I have to make is planning to pack a lunch. At my previous job, I could walk to any number of eateries, including the cafe at the local Whole Foods. Although I aspired to bring my lunch on a regular basis, I knew I never really had to. So this week I’m getting my act together.
A couple of weeks ago, I had hankering for a vegan version of egg salad, which is odd, because I never really ate egg salad before I became vegan, and it wasn’t something my mother made often when I was a kid. She did make a very mustardy macaroni salad, though, which I think of as quintessentially Midwestern, and sometimes I mimic her recipe with my own veganized version, using lots of dill relish, yellow mustard, and vegan mayonnaise. I usually buy Nasoya’s light mayo, but used Just Mayo for the first time in this recipe–oh me oh mayo, it’s good. If you don’t have access to prepared vegan mayo, you can make your own with tofu and cashews.
My first pass at vegan egg salad was this recipe from Happy Herbivore. Full of zesty spices, it was especially tasty after chilling in the refrigerator overnight, held up well over the course of the the week, and was a pretty convincing substitute for egg salad, particularly in terms of texture. Wanting to try the salad with something other than tofu, I then went in search of a recipe using chickpeas and came across this one from Oh She Glows. It looks delicious, but ultimately I ended up creating a hybrid of these and other recipes. I like raw onions (especially on a vegan dog or brat), but I wanted something a little mellower and I decided to stick with dill relish and leave out raw onions and garlic altogether. I upped the amount of celery to give it extra crunch (I think slivered almonds would be good too) and used yellow mustard rather than the Dijon recommended by Happy Herbivore, with two teaspoons of mustard to two tablespoons of Just Mayo. I then threw in some dried cranberries (when I hit the leftovers I added red grapes–delicious). The result was a mild, slightly sweet salad that is wonderful on a toasted English muffin, but chewy and substantial enough to be eaten with a fork.
With the busyness of changing jobs, I haven’t had much time for reading. I’m midway through Louise Penny’s Still Life, the first book of her Inspector Gamache series, and had to put it down just as the plot was thickening. I’d never really read mysteries and I’m enjoying Penny’s quirky humor and the book’s cozy milieu. Hopefully I’ll get back to it this weekend. In the meantime, here’s my spin on chickpea salad:
Celeriffic Chickpea Salad with Cranberries
1 15 ounce can chickpeas
2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 tbsp. dill relish
1/4 cup dried cranberries (raisins or fresh grapes work well too)
2 tsp. yellow mustard
2-3 tbsp. vegan mayo, to taste
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. mild curry powder
2 tbsp. slivered almonds, optional
Sprinkling of coarse sea salt
Coarse-ground black pepper, to taste