Since I renewed my commitment to eating vegetarian, I’ve been eating many more varied dishes – trying new recipes, inventing, experimenting with flavor combinations – but I haven’t had that urge to “makeover” old favorites into vegetarian-friendly entrees, for the most part. There was a bit of experimenting with lentil-based “meat” loaf, which didn’t yield anything worth blogging about (yet) and I’ve been making the occasional Shepherdess Pie. But I’m simply not really interested in turning meat dishes into vegan or vegetarian dishes. I’m happy with the variety of foods I’m eating already, all unquestionably vegetarian.
So I was surprised even at myself when I suddenly had the urge to “makeover” tuna salad. I have never been a big fan of canned tuna. Sure, I liked raw tuna in sushi and tuna tartare, and even the occasional seared tuna (but I had to be in the mood) but the texture and fishiness of canned tuna salad never appealed to me. Still, one day on a run I had a Eureka! moment – that tends to happen on runs – and I decided to make a mock tuna salad that could serve as a sandwich filling, dip, spread, or mix-in for a casserole. And how to get that seafoody flavor without seafood? Well, obviously, sea vegetable! I’ve been adding sea vegetable to dishes when I want that briny ocean taste – why not use it to replicate tuna salad? So I blended up some chickpeas, nori, tamari (for more umami) and lemon juice (for tang) and… well, I liked it better than any tuna salad I’ve ever had. So on those blue moon occasions when I get a craving for a tuna melt, I now have a solution. And what a delicious solution it is…
Chickpeas of the Sea
This makes a rather large batch, but it’s great stuff to have on hand. It keeps very well (although hubby thinks it’s best on the first day). I love to make it on Sunday and keep it in the fridge for mock tuna sandwiches… that is, if I can stop dipping carrot sticks in it long enough to make the sandwich!
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons tamari
2-4 sheets nori
1/2 cup vegenaise (or mayonnaise for a non-vegan version)
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
- Tear nori sheets into large pieces (start with 2 – you can always add more if you want more briny flavor). In food processor, combine chickpeas, lemon juice, tamari and nori. Pulse until chickpeas are broken up into coarse crumbs and other ingredients are combined.
- Scoop chickpea mixture into a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Fold mixture together and remove to refrigerator. Allow to set for 30 minutes, until flavors meld.
Source: Covered In Flour