Monday, September 20, 2010

Crabby Salad

Before I went vegan, one of my favorite things to eat for lunch was a simple seafood salad.  I would make it with fake crab meat (made from white fish and all kinds of artificial flavorings), mayonnaise, and an assortment of vegetables and spices.  I really missed that salad.  This week, it occurred to me that I could very easily replicate it with tofu.  I have read several recipes that seek to replicate tuna salad and egg salad, so I figured I had the basic idea down.

The following recipe is my ingenious concoction.  It was bliss to eat and a cinch to make.  I hope you try it.  I made a small amount to feed myself and my daughter.  If you have a larger group or a larger appetite, this will easily double.

1:29 Project Crabby Salad
1/2 block Extra Firm Tofu, cut into very small cubes
1/4C Mayonnaise**
1 stalk Celery, small dice
1/4C Red Onion, small dice
1 sheet Toasted Nori (seaweed), cut into c.1/3" pieces
1/3C diced Fresh Tomato
1/2 can Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1/2tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1T Fresh Lemon Juice
1tsp Dill Weed (I used dry.  If using fresh dill, use 1.5tsp)
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Paprika for zing
Your favorite salad greens, cut or torn into fork-able pieces

Measurements are approximations.  I didn't measure when making use your eyeball judgment and personal taste when adding ingredients.  I plan to add avocado and cucumber to the mix next time I make this.  You could put in bell pepper, use more lemon juice, omit the nori if you don't care for it, add heat in the form of know, just make it your own. Food is supposed to be joyous and fun! 


About nori:  Nori is a seaweed which is toasted and sold in sheets.  You are likely familiar with nori as the wrapper on sushi rolls.  It has a salty and sea-like flavor which recalls the flavor of fish.  It added the perfect flavor to this crabby salad.  To prepare it, I took one sheet of nori and cut it into small pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors (see photo above this text on the right).

Put the diced tofu into a medium-sized bowl.  Pour your lemon juice over the tofu, and sprinkle in your Old Bay.  Toss lightly to coat and set aside.  In another bowl, toss the mayo, celery, onion, nori, tomato, beans, and dill weed together.  Prepare your serving bowls by setting them up with the beds of fresh greens.  Now pour your mayo mixture into the tofu bowl, and mix everything together until creamy and well-distributed.  Taste test and then add your salt and pepper.  Using an ice cream scoop or measuring cup, put a nice 2/3C serving in the middle of each of your bowls over the greens for a lovely presentation.  Sprinkle with paprika for some color and zing.  Voila!

** A Note about Mayonnaise
Now...I still eat mayonnaise.  It is not a vegan ingredient because chicken's egg yolks are used in the making of it.  I accept this because I craved it hard after going vegan.  It was the one omnivorous food I thought about and missed and wanted...all the time.  For most people, that one food is dairy cheese.  I assumed, in the beginning, that I would miss steak or cheese or bacon.  You know...the usual suspects.  But I didn't miss any of those foods, and I certainly didn't want them on a regular basis.  If anything, those foods and the smells associated with them repulsed me for the most part.  No, I didn't have an issue with cheese.  For me, the downfall was egg mayonnaise.  Cole slaw, salad dressing, sandwich bread, and a number of other things which constitute my very favorite foods use mayonnaise and cannot be approximated without it.

As most vegans know, there are many vegan mayonnaises on the market in the United States, but there are not any sold here on Okinawa that I have been able to find...and believe me, I have looked.  I mail-ordered some Nasoya brand eggless mayo from Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe (AWESOME store with incredible customer service.  Please visit them), but I had to throw it out.  It was horrible.  I mean, I was literally disgusted by the flavor and the smell, and I just simply could not eat it.  Vegenaise is a brand highly-recommended, but I can't get it here, and I can't order it via delivery because of the necessity for keeping it cold.  I also understand that Wildwood Garlic Aioli is a widely-preferred product, as well.  This, too, is unavailable for me while I remain in Okinawa.  So, I decided to eat my egg mayonnaise until a proper substitute can be found.  I will continue to look for good substitutes in my world travels with the Marine Corps.  Until I find one, however, I'm a vegan who eats mayonnaise...and I'm okay with that.

For this recipe, you can substitute any eggless mayo you like to make it completely vegan.


  1. this looks really good, I look forward to making it ... here's hoping that you'll be able to get a vegan mayo soon because [speaking as a former mayo-addict] I promise you that you will not miss egg-based mayo if you go with the Wildwood Aioli

  2. Oh, I hope so, too! I've heard so many good things. Our family is leaving Okinawa for The Netherlands very soon, and I'm looking forward to a whole new environment of food choices.

  3. and thank you for commenting! Made my whole day. :)