Salads

Vegan russian salad - Ρώσικη σαλάτα βέγκαν - Vegan in Athens

Vegan Russian salad

Vegan Russian salad (or Olivier salad), although it is not an originally Greek food, is one of our favorite comfort foods that we like to prepare in several occasions such as a social gathering in the countryside or a cozy evening in our house. Vegan Russian salad, fulfills all the criteria of comfort food as it is easy to prepare, it is associated with a sense of home, it is enjoyable to eat and it makes me feel emotianally better, as it brings to my mind wonderful memories.

Raised in a large and socially active family, very often, friends or relatives would visit our house or we would visit their houses, even for a while. But especially during weekends and holidays, a large pot luck would be arranged in one of the houses. We would gather early in the noon for lunch and we would stay till late in the evening, sometimes having also dinner with the leftovers before the end of our feast. Some other times we would gather for dinner and the very next day we would also meet for lunch with the occasion to eat the leftover food, although the main reason was to meet each other again, to experience the warmth of a large family, to laugh, to discuss several issues, always around a good meal.

Each of the cooks would bring to the table one of his or her specialties. One of the dishes that my mother used to make, and still does in such pot lucks, was the Greek version of the famous Russian salad (or Olivier salad, named after the chef Lucien Olivier who developed the recipe). Olivier used to make his salad, with a secret recipe however we now know that it included boiled potatoes cut into cubes, peas, capers and some rare and expensive animal-derived ingredients. Moreover the mayonnaise he used in order to give a rich flavor to the salad was made with olive oil, mustard and wine vinegar.

Vegan russian salad - Ρώσικη σαλάτα βέγκαν - Vegan in Athens

In Greece Russian or Olivier salad is very popular and of course the recipe is adjusted in order to include mostly local, easy to find ingredients. Thus the Greek Russian salad, is loaded with vegetables and therefore preparing its vegan version is not that difficult. Actually, I like to use my olive oil mayonnaise just as Olivier did – although I suspect that his mayonnaise was not vegan – and a variety of tasty and colorful vegetables. For convenience, I usually use frozen mixed vegetables, which I combine with cubed boiled potatoes, mayonnaise and certainly pickles or capers.

So the other day, as I made enough vegan mayonnaise for my previous post, I used a part of it in order to prepare this easy and yet so delicious vegan Russian salad. We usually eat this as a side dish but Russian salad also makes an exceptional, hearty stuffing for our sandwiches.

Vegan russian salad - Ρώσικη σαλάτα βέγκαν - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

  • 1 pack 400g frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans, red pepper, corn) or equal amount of fresh
  • 400 g potatoes, whole (about 3 medium)
  • 5-6 pickled cucumber sliced or 2 tablespoons capers
  • 3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise with olive oil
  • 1 tbsp prepared mustard (I like it spicy)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or wine vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • salt (if needed)

Vegan russian salad - Ρώσικη σαλάτα βέγκαν - Vegan in Athens

Method

1. Wash the potatoes and put them to boil with skins for 25-30 minutes until tender. Drain, let them cool slightly, peel and cut into small cubes.
2. In a saucepan put water to boil, add the mixed vegetables and cook for five minutes over high heat (count time after water starts to boil) without a lid. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water so that the vegetables maintain their vivid colors.
3. In a bowl, mix well the mayonnaise with the mustard, lemon juice and pepper.
4. Gently mix the potatoes, the vegetables and the mayonnaise and add salt to taste. Let the flavors develop for at least 30 minutes and serve. Keep 2-3 days in the fridge, in an air-tight container.

Vegan russian salad - Ρώσικη σαλάτα βέγκαν - Vegan in Athens

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Mock vegan tuna salad with black eyed peas and herbs - Βέγκαν τονοσαλάτα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια και αρωματικά - Veganinathens.com

Vegan faux “tuna” salad with black-eyed peas and fresh herbs

During November, even though the days become shorter and we no longer enjoy the summer heat and the sun, there are countless reasons to be happy, provided that we can recognize them by experiencing each moment of a day and letting our souls enjoy. One of them is the abundance of fresh, green vegetables one finds in the gardens and on the market stalls. I often like to walk in the crowded farmer’s market on Saturday, just to breathe the scent of freshly picked dill, parsley, spring onions and arugula. Regularly I end up shopping a few bunches of these fantastic greens not because I need them necessarily but just because I feel like filling my kitchen with their colors and aromas.

Mock vegan tuna salad with black eyed peas and herbs - Βέγκαν τονοσαλάτα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια και αρωματικά - Vegan in Athens

Besides green aromatic herbs make an exceptional addition not only in cooked but also in cold dishes, enriching them with their characteristic smell, with their taste and a nice, crunchy texture. Depending on the products available each season, one can experiment combining them with different aromatics to create new recipes.
Today, I was craving for the tuna salad of my childhood, but in its peaceful and yet tasty version. Instead of tuna I used black-eyed peas, slightly processed and combined with dill, celery, green onion and red pepper. To achieve a real sea flavor I compined them with edible seaweeds and flaxseed oil, which are the ingredients I use whenever I want to add the sea breeze on the menu. This recipe is an amazing way to enjoy a cruelty-free, gluten-free and vegan “tuna” salad.

Mock vegan tuna salad with black eyed peas and herbs - Βέγκαν τονοσαλάτα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια και αρωματικά - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

  • 1 cup black-eyed peas cooked and drained
  • 1 large carrot peeled and grated
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 1 large sprig of celery, peeled and chopped (both stalk and leaves)
  • 1/2 cup dill chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp capers chopped
  • 1 spring onion chopped
  • ¼ cup pickled cucumber chopped
  • small handful of Nori seaweed soaked for a few minutes in water and chopped

for the dressing

  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional but recommended!)
  • 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise of choice
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed oil (or olive oil but flaxseed oil is recommended)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ tbsp spicy, prepared mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika chili powder
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Mock vegan tuna salad with black eyed peas and herbs - Βέγκαν τονοσαλάτα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια και αρωματικά - Vegan in Athens

Method

1. In a bowl, mash the beans with until crushed, but do not mash completely. They should be crushed into small pieces not pureed, so as to add texture in the salad.
2. Add the chopped vegetables and seaweeds and mix.
3. For the sauce: Mix all the ingredients thoroughly with a whisk or a fork. Drizzle the salad with the sauce, stir and serve on slices of toasted bread or accompanied with vegetable sticks.

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Σταμναγκάθι σαλάτα με ντοματίνια, κρίθινο παξιμάδι και βινεγκρέτ - Stamnagathi, cherry tomatoes, traditional Cretan barley rusk and vinegret salad - Veganinathens.com

Stamnagathi, cherry tomatoes, traditional Cretan barley rusk and vinegret salad

One of the main features of the Cretan diet is the abundant consumption of edible wild greens. Even today, especially in the island provinces, harvesting wild green leafy vegetables, from November to April is a way of life for the Cretans. Raised in the province of Crete, since I was a child, I had learned to recognize and pick many different varieties of wild green leafy vegetables as well as their healing properties and the recipes in which they could best fit in.

Stamnagathi is a kind of wild chicory variety very famous and valuable in Crete, not only because it’s harvesting is not an easy job, but also because of it’s remarkable nutritional and healing properties, as it is considered to be rich in minerals, trace elements and vitamins. Nowadays the vegetable is cultivated and thus we cannot actually find wild stamnagathi in the markets, but despite that fact, we can choose to buy it from a producer that we trust, as it is a delicious and highly nutritious addition to our salads.

At home, we often consumed stamnagathi raw as a salad mixed with lettuce, tomatoes, some olives maybe and simple vinaigrette. Now, we still enjoy stamnagathi salad and after so many years I think that my mom’s way of making it is the only recipe that brings out it’s flavor while balancing the mild bitterness, in which, some used to say, are hidden the numerous medicinal properties.

Σταμναγκάθι σαλάτα με ντοματίνια, κρίθινο παξιμάδι και βινεγκρέτ - Stamnagathi, cherry tomatoes, traditional Cretan barley rusk and vinegret salad - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

  • 200 g fresh and tender raw stamnagathi
  • 250 g cherry tomatoes or regular tomatoes cut into cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 small tender lettuce chopped
  • 1-2 Cretan barley rusks

For the vinegret

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons strong vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt

Σταμναγκάθι σαλάτα με ντοματίνια, κρίθινο παξιμάδι και βινεγκρέτ - Stamnagathi, cherry tomatoes, traditional Cretan barley rusk and vinegret salad - Vegan in Athens

Method

  1. Remove the yellow leaves from the stamnagathi and using a sharp knife cut a little bit the stalks. Fill a bowl with plenty of water and wash it thoroughly to remove dust and dirt. Drain and repeat the process twice.
  2. In a salad bowl add the lettuce, the pepper and the tomatoes. Drain stamnagathi, cut it in two with your hands and add in the bowl.
  3. Shortly before serving: Dip for a few seconds the barley rusks in cold water, break them into pieces and put them on the salad. Prepare the dressing by mixing all ingredients in a jar. Pour over the salad, toss and serve immediately.

 

 

 

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