Thursday, November 4, 2010

Vegan Nicoise Salad

Question: What do you do when you're home from a two week trip abroad, stuffed to the gills with carbohydrates (not to mention all sorts of other 'whatnot' you wouldn't normally eat at home) and starving for fresh, crunchy vegetables?
Answer: make a salad.

Oh, and p.s. No matter how 'easy' Honey is when it comes to my cooking, he does admit the affliction of 'salad overload' (not necessarily surprising) so when he specifically requested a salad as his 'coming home' meal, I was surprised, glad and in agreement, all at the same time!

I chose to try a nicoise salad because before we left, I was inspired during girl's night. My friend Kelli told me about a delicious nicoise salad she had recently enjoyed and that got me thinking; what would a vegan nicoise salad look like?

This. This is what it looks like:

And it's super easy, healthy and quite flavorful with the addition of a simple pomegranate vinaigrette made with POM Wonderful! juice. This vinaigrette was another POM juice experiment like my last one, featuring the delicious POM elixir, compliments of the good folks over at POM Wonderful!

Yield: About 4 healthy (entree size) servings

For the tofu:
1 package extra firm tofu, cubed
3 Tablespoons POM Wonderful! juice
4 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper
For the reduction:
1 8oz bottle POM Wonderful! pomegranate juice
For the croutons:
1 small baguette, cut into pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
Truffle salt
For the vegetables:
About 15 or 20 fingerling potatoes (white or red), steamed and then shocked, then halved
About 24 green beans, de-stemmed, steamed and then shocked
About 1 cup frozen green garbanzo beans, steamed (you can also use regular garbanzo beans)
1 package cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 package baby spinach
1 bunch italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped
For the dressing:
4 Tablespoons POM Wonderful! juice
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
About 1/2 teaspoon truffle salt
About 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine tofu, POM Wonderful! juice, vinegar, lemon juice, oregano and salt and pepper in a sealed container. Make sure tofu is evenly covered, seal and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Note: you can do this step ahead of time and let it marinate overnight. You can't over marinate. Add'l note: this is the same basic preparation used in in the vegan caprese salad.

In a small pan, heat the POM Wonderful! pomegranate juice. Bring to just a boil then reduce heat and let simmer, which will reduce the juice into a thick, luxurious pomegranate reduction (this will finish your salad). Note: do this after the tofu so the juice has time to reduce. Just keep an eye on it while you steam all your veg.

Steam potatoes and beans until al-dente. While your veg is steaming, put water and ice cubes into a bowl so you are ready to shock the veg right when they come out.

The potatoes take longer than the beans so if you're using the same pan (I did) just use tongs to remove the beans and let the potatoes cook.

When you remove the beans, put immediately into the bowl of ice water and let cool. Shocking them will help to maintain their green appearance.

When potatoes are done, do the same.

Steam garbanzo beans in the same pan once the green beans and potatoes are done. If you're using dried or canned regular garbanzo beans, prepare as necessary.

While your veg is steaming, halve your cherry tomatoes and set aside then combine spinach leaves and parsley in a large bowl and set aside.

Also while your veg is steaming, heat oven to 375 and combine bread crumbs, olive oil, truffle salt and pepper onto a baking sheet. Toss to combine then put in the oven and toast for about 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn. I love my toaster oven for this task.

For your dressing, combine in a sealable 'shakeable' container the POM Wonderful! juice, extra virgin olive oil, truffle salt and pepper. Seal and shake to emmulsify. Remember to give it another good shake before you dress your salad because it will settle a bit.

When all your veg is steamed and ready and your croutons are toasted, it's time to assemble your salad.

In the spinach and parsley mix, pour some of your dressing (just a bit) and toss to cover your greens. From there, plate your greens on individual plates.

On top of the greens, arrange potatoes, beans, tomatoes, green garbanzo beans and croutons along the outer edges.

Top the middle of your salads with the marinated tofu and finish with a little pepper (if desired) and then a light drizzle of your POM Wonderful! reduction. The reduction will give the salad an exciting, tangy burst of flavor, not to mention lovely color.

Serve and enjoy!

Pomegranate Juice


  1. YUM!!! I miss my Ellen! When can I see your pretty face!??!

  2. It was yum and I miss you just as much! Soon?



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