Thursday, May 10, 2007

Curried Tempeh Salad Sandwich

You know, sometimes it's really cool what you can come up with when you just wing it and make stuff up when you're cooking. Yesterday evening, I really didn't know what I was going to pack for lunch today. There were a couple of pieces of grilled tempeh left over from the reuben making the day before, so I originally thought that I might just bring some grilled tempeh (which IS good) and some veggies and stuff. But then I remembered an idea that I had been wanting to try for a while now, but I just never did have any tempeh around to try it with. This all sprang from a grand opening celebration for a local restaurant that I went to several years ago, way before I turned vegan. They had this yummy curried chicken salad that they served that was so good. In fact, I meant to whip some of that up at home way back then, before I knew any better, when I was still eating chicken salad. But I never did. Pair that idea with something else I've been wanting to try, and that's using tempeh as a replacement for chicken in vegan "chicken" salad. I had read on several message boards about people making tempeh salad, and it sounded like it would be really good. So when I found myself with some leftover tempeh, and a pantry stocked with curry powder, then I knew what I needed to fix for lunch today.

All I did to make the Curried Tempeh Salad was just cube up the tempeh into really small pieces. I didn't have to worry about cooking it since it was already grilled. Then I just mixed that up with some Vegenaise, some diced onion, some sweet pickle relish and a BUNCH of curry powder. WOW! This turned out really good. So good, in fact, that I'll probably make another large batch of it pretty soon because it tasted pretty much exactly what I remember that curried chicken salad tasting like. I brought along a light bun and some lettuce & tomato to eat it on. This makes a REALLY good sandwich. I will DEFINITELY be making this again this Summer. I thought that the tempeh made an excellent substitute for chicken because it had a really nice texture. Tofu would have been way too soft, but the tempeh worked really well. And it looked just like chicken there in those tiny little cubes. This was GOOD!

To go along with my sandwich, I brought a few Red Globe grapes. I found these things by accident the other day at the store. I've been buying a LOT of grapes here lately to go into all of those green smoothies that I've been making with my Blendtec. Well, I've looked and looked for grapes WITH seeds but I never could find them. All anybody has around here is seedless. I wanted ones with seeds because there are so many compounds in the seeds that are good for you, and the Blendtec would make easy work of the seeds and you wouldn't even be able to tell they were in the smoothie (I like the crunch of the seeds too when you just eat grapes one at a time). Plus, it just seems more healthy to eat "normal" grapes that have seeds instead of ones that have been manipulated to express some mutation of not having seeds. Anyway, for some strange reason, they got these things in stock at my local grocer last week and they were even on sale. I stocked up and I LOVE THEM. These things are HUGE! I hope they continue to carry them.

I also threw in a few almonds & raisins just to finish filling the lunchbox up.

So there you have it, lunch for Thursday. I definitely wanna' make some more of this stuff. I would also like to make some regular vegan "chicken" salad using tempeh and adding Vegenaise, onions, sweet pickle relish, walnuts or pecans, celery, grapes, apples, etc. I guess if I was going to do something like that I would probably cook the tempeh especially for that particular dish and marinate and cook it in a chicken-type broth, probably like the broth that I would use to make chicken style seitan. The tempeh I used today for the curried tempeh salad was leftover from the reuben recipe, so it had been marinated in a more beefy type marinade, but it was still delicious. This is good stuff!

So thanks for reading the blog today. See everybody on Friday!


Vegyogini said...

Hi Ken! I check in daily, but haven't commented before. You have an amazing amount of dedication to healthy, yet fun cooking, which makes it enjoyable to read your blog. I've noticed that you always use "lite" bread and I was wondering if you've ever tried Ezekiel brand bread. Their bread is made from sprouted grains and is naturally low in fat and calories (usually 80 calories per slice). If you like the way their bread tastes, I think it would be more nutritionally sound for you to eat it than "lite" bread that has been altered in some way (along the lines of what you were saying re: seedless grapes). Just a thought I wanted to pass on. :) Oh, and I checked the Ezekiel site for markets in your area that carry it and came up with Natural Foods Market and The Health Barn. Keep up the awesome blog!

kennyboy said...

I have seen that bread and have thought about trying it before. I've even seen it at Kroger here.

Now that you've recommended it, I'll probably try it.

I wish I had the time to make ALL of my own bread, especially now that I can grind my own grains using the Blendtec blender. I bet THAT would be some good bread.

I am interested in the whole sprouted grain bread thing though.

Thanks for reminding me about it!


Sarah said...

I love tempeh salad! I make it pretty often. I do a curried one like this sometimes, and sometimes just a plain one that I make just like my old tuna salad recipe. I usually just cook the tempeh in water with some soy sauce, and then I crumble it up. I should try it cubed for the curried version to make it seem more "chicken-y." I've never bothered with marinade. I think it's pretty tasty as is, but I've been meaning to track down some hijiki to marinate it with that for a fishier taste for my tuna version.

Susan said...

I used to LOVE curried chicken salad, and I was thinking about trying to make it with garbanzos instead of chicken, but this sounds really good, too. I like to add raisins to my curried salad, they are good, too. I usually made it with just the mayo (or vegannaise now), curry powder and raisins. I like the onion and pickle relish, too, I will definitely have to add that.