Mark Bittman’s Everything-But-the-Chicken Salad
When I grew up, way back in the twentieth century, there was always a huge jar of mayo – Hellmann’s of course, and only Hellmann’s, for whatever reason – and mayo was important. (Olive oil, for all intents and purposes, only existed for people of Mediterranean origin; you couldn’t even buy it in a supermarket.)
My mom, who was the primary — read, only — cook in the house, used it liberally, but it was us kids who “discovered” that there were few limits of mayo: We’d spread toast with it, eat it with hot sauce (revolutionary at the time), dip cold potatoes into it (deconstructed potato salad, I guess), and more.
Nowadays, most of our mayo is homemade: It takes 30 seconds and kills the store-bought stuff, whatever brand. (Yes, there’s still a jar of Hellmann’s in the fridge.) And often that homemade mayo is vegan, usually with a base of silken tofu. That’s also easy to make, though, of course, you can buy a variety of substitutes. The development of vegan mayo – something that really didn’t exist in my childhood – now allows everyone to enjoy deli-style salads, like coleslaw, macaroni, potato, and so on.
The basic elements of these – and of the non-vegan egg, chicken, tuna, and so on – salads, are well known. But if you start playing around, you can always come up with something new, and my favorite of this is a creamy salad of grated jicama (celeriac, kohlrabi, parsnips, turnips – even a combination – are also fabulous here), bound in a mustardy mayonnaise dressing with grapes and the strong, mysterious fresh tarragon.
For more great recipes from Mark Bittman, join The Bittman Project.
When you join The Bittman Project, members have access to every recipe that Mark Bittman publishes as well as community discussions, weekly Super-Cheap Dinner recipes, and some of the most stimulating food journalism in existence.
Time: 25 minutes
- 1 pound jicama, peeled
- 1⁄2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1⁄2 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1⁄2 small red onion, chopped
- 8 large, sturdy romaine leaves
- Use the shredding attachment on a food processor or the largest holes on a box grater to grate the jicama. Mix the vegetable with a generous pinch of salt, then let it sit in a colander in the sink or over a bowl for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse the jicama, then wring it as dry as you can manage in a towel. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Put the sunflower seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until they are slightly darker and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the jicama. Put the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, oil, and 1 teaspoon of tarragon in a small bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk to combine, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Put the grapes, celery, onion, and remaining 2 teaspoons of tarragon in the large bowl and drizzle on some of the dressing. Toss gently to coat, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more dressing if you like. To serve, put the lettuce leaves on a serving platter or in individual bowls and top with a heaping spoonful of salad.
— Recipe from Dinner for Everyone
Time: 10 minutes
Makes almost 1 cup
- 6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu (about 3/4 cup; half a 12-ounce package)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Pinch ground turmeric (optional)
- Put all the ingredients in a blender. Turn the machine to medium speed and let it run for a minute or 2, then turn it off.
- Scrape the side of the container down with a rubber spatula, turn the blender back on, and let it run for 3 minutes. Stop and scrape again, then run the blender for a minute or so more. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Sweeter Vegannaise, Salad-Dressing Style: Like really good Miracle Whip, if that makes sense: Add 1 tablespoon sugar along with the other ingredients.
- Thicker Vegannaise: The consistency will be more like store-bought: Reduce the oil to 2 tablespoons and the vinegar to 1 tablespoon. You will have to stop and scrape the side down more frequently.
Calories 452 | Total Fat 20.8g | Saturated Fat 1.3g | Cholesterol 0mg | Sodium 371mg | Total Carbohydrate 62.7g | Dietary Fiber 6.9g | Total Sugars 23.3g | Protein 18g | Vitamin D 0mcg | Calcium 37mg | Iron 1mg | Potassium 3432mg |