May Cooking Demo – Vegan Tuna Salad

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Today marked the second official fundraiser for Cupid’s Landing!  The cooking demo today was fun, laid back, and (of course) delicious.  We raised more than twice the amount that was raised last month!  I want to say THANK YOU in a very big way to everyone who came and donated.  This demo is one that I was particularly excited about, as the recipes that I shared are some of my favorite: celery and dill seed sauerkraut, aquafaba mayo, and vegan tuna salad.

Before I was vegan, tuna salad was one of my favorite meals.  It was my go-to sandwich, whether making it at home or ordering at a restaurant.  It has easily been one of the non-vegan meals that I have missed the most.  After three years and several failed attempts at creating a vegan version of it, I finally nailed it!

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This recipe starts by making a batch of my favorite sauerkraut.  I got into fermented foods about two years ago when I learned about how much they help our digestive systems.  For most of my life, I have struggled with having a very sensitive stomach – constant bloating, constipation, feeling stuffed for hours (even into the next day.)  When I was diagnosed with IBS, I started to get myself on the right track to dealing with this.  Being vegan and eating lots of fermented foods have helped me tremendously.  Fermented foods are loaded with good bacteria that give our digestive systems a boost.  Sauerkraut gives this vegan tuna salad a briney flavor, similar to canned tuna.  It uses celery seeds and dill seeds, both of which are common seasonings in tuna salad.  Given that I almost always have some of this kraut on hand, the tuna salad recipe is especially easy and convenient for me.  If you’ve never tried your hand at making fermented foods, I encourage you to give it a try!  It is super easy, much cheaper than purchasing some from a store,  and very nutritious.  To make the celery and dill seed sauerkraut, you will need:

  • 5 pounds of cabbage
  • 3 TBS salt
  • 1.5 TBS celery seed
  • 1 TBS dill seed
  • 1/2 TBS dried dill

Combine the salt, celery seed, dill seed, and dried dill in small bowl and mix well.  Shred the cabbage, either with a shredding blade in a food processor or by hand with a knife. Add the shredded cabbage to a large bowl and stir in the salt and seed mixture.  Start stirring with a spoon, mixing well, and then switch to your hands.  Massage the salt into the cabbage to draw the water out.  This water will eventually make the brine that the cabbage ferments in.  Do this for about two minutes.  Add the cabbage mixture to a large jar.  With each addition to the jar, firmly press everything down to the bottom.  This helps draw the water out and keep everything below the brine.  You want everything to stay below the brine – anything that floats to the top and is exposed to oxygen is at risk of getting moldy.  If that happens, it’s no big deal – just scoop it with a spoon.  Once the cabbage is all packed into the jar, if it is not completely covered by water you may add more.  Make sure you are using filtered water because the chlorine in unfiltered tap water can kill the bacteria that is needed for fermentation.  Place a weight on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged under the brine.  You can use a glass plate or bowl, a jar filled with water, or (my favorite) a whole cabbage leaf. I place the cabbage leaf on top of the kraut before adding water because the bowl shape of the leaf fills up with water and keeps the shredded cabbage below.  Place a clean dish towel over the jar and secure it with a rubber band.  Leave the kraut in a safe place for about a week.  Taste it and see if you think it needs to ferment for longer.  When you feel it is ready, you can either seal the jar or pack the sauerkraut into smaller jars.  When in sealed jars, it does not need to be refrigerated and can last for a very long time.

The second part of the demo today was aquafaba mayo.  Aquafaba (literally meaning “water bean”) is the water or brine that is leftover from cooking beans.  You can get it by purchasing a can of beans (it’s the liquid in the can), or by cooking dried beans at home and boiling the water down until it is thick.  This thick liquid works amazingly well as an egg replacer in almost all applications.  For all of the times that I try to get the idea that vegan food is “weird” food out of people’s heads, I will admit that this is one weird vegan trick!  But guess what – aquafaba has zero bad cholesterol, and no chickens were exploited in the process!  The recipe that I followed when I discovered this came from Peanut Butter and Vegan, but you can use 3 tablespoons of aquafaba in place of 1 egg in any homemade mayo recipe.  Conveniently, this vegan tuna salad recipe uses chickpeas, which means you can make mayo with the aquafaba from the can, or you can make your own aquafaba by cooking dried chickpeas!  Of course, this recipe will also work with store bought vegan mayo.

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Vegan Tuna Salad

Makes about three servings

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (1 15oz can)
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • 1.5 cups celery and dill seed sauerkraut
  • Optional add-ins: chopped celery, onion powder, green onion, bell pepper

Directions:

Mash the chickpeas and mayo.  You can do this by hand with a potato masher or in a food processor.  You want to aim for no remaining whole chickpeas, but not completely pureed.  Stir in the sauerkraut.  Add any optional add ins.  I like to add celery and onion powder.  You can serve this in bowls, on bread, or in lettuce wraps.  Try it on bread with a slice of vegan cheese melted under the broiler.  Serve with potato chips and a pickle.

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