Thursday, December 9, 2010

Celery Salad

This sweet little salad makes just enough for two.  The suggested menu alongside it was roasted Cornish hens and roasted potatoes - read below for how I made that vegan!  But first, the Celery Salad.

  • 3/4 cup sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup dried sweet cherries
  • 1/3 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon toasted and chopped pecans*
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, then cover and chill until ready to serve.  The salad probably only needs about an hour to chill, but I made it during the afternoon to save time in the evening.

*Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until toasted. Be sure to stir or shake the pan frequently to prevent the nuts from burning.

As to the Cornish hens... When I saw that was the recommended entree alongside this salad, I knew the time had come to try the vegan Half Chicken lurking in my freezer.  Made by the company Vegetarian Plus, I ordered the product from a few months back out of curiosity, wondering if I could in good conscience make a product that looked like this:

For novelty's sake, I decided I had to give it a go, even though it's hard for me to advocate something that so shamelessly mimics the body of a dead animal.  The verdict? Tasty, but not as good as other vegan chicken products I've tried on the market, such as Match or Gardein.  I probably won't, as a result, order this item again, but it was certainly novel to try it out, and paired nicely with the Celery Salad. Roasted potatoes and a chilled glass of (vegan) pinot gris rounded out the meal.

Nutrition Info:
2 servings (about 2/3 cup), Calories 160

Tasting Notes:
Celery isn't normally my favorite vegetable, especially raw, but this salad made it quite good indeed.  I loved the contrasts in texture from the crisp celery to the soft peas and chewy dried cherries.  The dressing gave just the right hint of creaminess without being overwhelming.  The only ingredient I felt got short shrift was the pecans.  Next time, I would increase the amount to 2 tablespoons.


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