“So what food do you miss most from your non-vegan days?”
I’ve been vegan for close to eight years now, and I legit still get asked this question on almost a weekly basis. And my answer is always, unwaveringly, the same: eggs.
I always thought cheese was going to be the hardest thing for me to give up, but there are so many really good artisan vegan cheeses available now that I *almost* don’t miss the real thing. (I say almost because let’s face it, there’s just something about cheese…but I’m totally good now living in a dairy-free cheese world.) Eggs however, are a different story. I leaned toward vegetarian for many years before going vegan, and eggs were a big protein source for me. (And also, I’m a HUGE breakfast-for-any-meal kind of person, so there’s that too…)
Vegan food in general has come a long, long way. Beyond Meat and Beyond Sausage revolutionized the plant-based meat world; countless artisan cheese-makers have changed the playing field (for the better) for dairy-free cheese consumption; plant-based milks are as ubiquitous as their non-vegan counterparts, and there have even been remarkable developments in the vegan egg world thanks to Earth Island/Follow Your Heart and JustForAll, but both are still quite new, quite expensive, and not readily available, especially in Canada.
Growing up, I loved egg salad. My step-dad had this old family recipe for the best egg salad sandwich ever and he passed it down to me when I was barely a teenager, and I made it for years. It was a staple in my house growing up, especially since he was the one who packed my school lunches every day. And I’m convinced to this day that his is the best egg salad ever. So if I was going re-create this vegan-style, it was his recipe I was going to use for inspiration. His secret ingredient was a bit of celery salt. I truly think it adds something next-level to the dish. (If you don’t have celery salt, you can use dill and a bit of kosher salt.)
Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed on Calling All Vegans with Sue Spahr and Alec Bosse, and we had a serious conversation about egg salad (Sue’s most favorite non-vegan thing ever was egg salad and she’s a little obsessed with finding the perfect vegan version.) I’ve been promising her mine for a while now, and since I’m sharing it with her, I figured I’d share it with y’all too.
I use extra-firm tofu for my “egg” salad, but if you’re avoiding soy, you could use mashed chickpeas as well (or a mix of the two just to shake things up a bit). Because I use chickpeas for my “toona” salad, I don’t use them here. I often serve both salads at the same time (hello brunch!) so I find it a bit repetitive. The trick to getting this to emulate real egg salad is to use the large shredding side of a box grater that would typically be used for shredding cheese (that’s how my step-dad always grated his eggs for salad). You want to use extra-firm tofu and press as much water out of it as you can, otherwise your “egg” salad ends up runny.
I’m also a huge green onion fan and I use them quite liberally in my egg salad. But if you’re not so into green, you could use red onion, or skip them all together and add some diced celery for crunch and texture.
So grab a bagel or good whole wheat bread and some lettuce because “egg” salad is back – vegan style!
Vegan Egg Salad
1 block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
2 green onions, sliced in half lengthwise, then diced
3-4 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
2 tsp ball park mustard
2 tsp sweet relish
¼ tsp celery salt
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
In a large bowl, grate tofu using the large shredding side of a box grater.
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Refrigerate for minimum 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend.