Greek Salad

If you’re not new around here, you may have noticed a new addition to the site conspicuously lurking in the sidelines. Hm. What’s that link to Amazon products doing there? Well, after over a year of posting my recipes, listing my favorite, must-have ingredients and crediting those cookbooks that have inspired me along the way, I had a thought. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to provide a link to all of these gluten-free products, sugar substitutes, gadgets and books right here, so that I don’t have to worry about the fact that my mom has to drive an hour to get her hands on NuNaturals’ vanilla stevia, or the fact that I have readers who tell me that they can’t find bean flours anywhere? And, I thought, given how many people I’ve steered toward books like “Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Cooking,” wouldn’t it make sense to link to that book here, where I’m (hopefully) providing some support and advice for those with similar allergies and restrictions?

In full disclosure, whenever someone clicks on a link on the side and buys something based on it, I get, like, a nickel or something. While I may be an unemployed former law student with impending loans to pay off, and living in the most expensive city in the world (ugh), I’m not so desperate that I need the rare nickel deposited in my account. I just figured it was a good, efficient way to share those products and books that have helped me thrive as a gluten-free, (mostly) vegan, sugar-free food lover.

Ok, onto this salad. I am a Greek salad FREAK. I mean, I think a good Greek salad is heavenly. And yet, I’ve had plenty bad. So by now I’ve assembled a pretty good formula for failure and success. Success: good romaine lettuce. Failure: iceberg. Success: Fresh cooked beets. Failure: the canned stuff. Success: good, kalamata olives. Failure: bad kalamata olives (um, duh) — or worse, no olives! Success: a good, creamy-yet-not-too-thick-dressing. Failure: Too-thick-dressing. Success: good quality feta…

…and that’s where a great vegan Greek salad has eluded me until now. The feta. With a little help from the internet, I learned that some tofu drizzled with red wine vinegar and some other flavorings could be masqueraded as the real deal. Still, I was skeptical. Very skeptical. It took my own series of experiments with this idea before I considered it a satisfying — if not exact — substitute. Hey, I didn’t say that for a good Greek salad the feta portion had to actually be feta, I just said it had to be good. This savory, briney tofu creation is quite good. My secret is to use a really good, raw fermented red wine vinegar for the marinating. It’s better for you, and I think it tastes better as well. Eden makes a very good one (actually, the it’s the only raw red wine vinegar I’ve seen).

I hope you enjoy this healthy, crunchy, salty Greek salad as much as I did! I listed the recipes for the various components separately below.

Tofu Feta:

1 package firm tofu, drained (extra firm will work, though I prefer firm for this recipe)

1/3 cup raw fermented red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided

Directions:

1. Crumble tofu into a medium-sized, shallow glass dish. Whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt in a separate bowl and pour over tofu. Add two tablespoons of nutritional yeast and let sit for about 15 minutes. When ready to serve, stir in the remaining nutritional yeast. Taste for salt.

Greek Dressing:

1/2 cup grapeseed oil vegenaise

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)

Directions:

1. Whisk all ingredients well until smooth or add to a jar and shake vigorously.

Other Salad Ingredients:

Romaine lettuce, chopped

Beets, cooked and chopped

Kirby or Persian cucumber, chopped

Red onion, thinly sliced

Kalamata Olives (pitted preferably), drained

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