Friday, September 6, 2013

Vegetable Salad # Vegan MoFo

Do you ever feel as if you have been teleported back in time by eating certain foods? I feel that way when eating this salad. Vegetable Salad was always a welcomed guest on our holiday table and during special celebrations. Traditionally, it is also made with boiled eggs. I think it tastes great without.

To this day, I have very distinct memories of helping my mom dice the vegetables day prior and then rushing home from school the next day, to consume it. So, "beam me up, Scotty."

There I am on the right, holding a stuffed dog toy with giant curly hair. I wonder what he is up to now. 
Before you begin, keep in mind that full-fat vegan mayonnaise is best for this recipe. As a compulsive calorie reducer, I have made this salad in the past using a low-fat vegan mayonnaise. I was sorely disappointed each time. Although, now that I have tasted Vegenaise and its reduced-fat cousin, I deem the lower fat version will work nicely in this recipe.

Prior to trying Vegenaise, I was not aware of what the hoopla was all about. Now I understand completely. Cheers!

Vegetable Salad. The camera was having a rough day. Sorry salad. You deserve better. 

Vegetable Salad (Makes 4 servings)

2 large yukon gold potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced
2-3 large carrots, boiled, peeled and diced
1 (15-oz can) sweet peas, drained
1 medium size crisp apple of choice, peeled and diced
3-5 European dill pickles, diced (found in the ethnic aisle of your supermarket)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Up to 2 cups vegan mayonnaise of choice (I used Vegenaise)
Parsley for garnish

Place unpeeled potatoes and carrots in a medium pot, partially cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until fork tender, for about 15 minutes. The carrots will be ready before the potatoes. Be sure to remove the carrots as soon as they are ready. Place the cooked vegetables on a plate and allow ample time to cool off completely. Alternatively, place the vegetables in the refrigerator to cool off, if in a hurry.

Cooked and unpeeled vegetables, just chilling on a plate. 
Once the potatoes and carrots have completely cooled off, peel and dice the vegetables. I used a nifty tool (see picture below) to dice the vegetables. This tool is called the DICE. It was most likely designed by a Polish Vegetable Salad enthusiast. Chopping vegetables manually also works, so don't worry if you don't have the DICE. You are still in my club.

Diced vegetables, patiently waiting for Vegenaise.
In a large bowl, combine the carrots, potatoes, sweet peas, apple, and pickles. Add mustard and mayonnaise, gradually. Mix gently. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley. The salad taste best the next day. I like to eat with crusty bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner, until it is all gone. Store it in the refrigerator.

European dill pickles and good mayonnaise are the key to the best flavor of this salad. Some people add corn and oregano in addition to the stated ingredients, but that is not how I grew up eating it. See what works for you and then be sure to tell me about it. Promise?

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