It’s getting very hot here in Minnesota, will hit the mid-90s this coming week. I wanted an easy, lighter meal and had seen cucumber boats on-line stuffed with tuna salad. These work best with regular cucumbers but I generally buy either the English or the mini cukes so that’s what I used. If you also use the mini cucumbers, pulse the salad in the food processor for a few seconds to grind it up. It fits in the smaller boats much better that way. Any kind of salad will do – I made some curried chicken salad but tuna would also work.
First thing, prepare the salad:
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed from the bones and pulsed in the food processor for a few seconds
4 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (or walnuts if not allergic)
Mix the dressing in a separate bowl:
1 to 2 tablespoons green curry paste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup vegan mayonnaise (if not allergic to eggs, feel free to use any mayonnaise)
2 teaspoons mustard
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon sriracha (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
1/4 cup dill pickle relish (optional)
Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and stir to incorporate. Salad is ready. Next, peel and cut lengthwise:
12 mini cucumbers (probably 2 regular sized cucumbers)
Using a small spoon, remove the seeds to create the “boats”. Fill with the salad and serve. May be garnished with sliced scallions, chopped chives or chopped parsley.
I often buy a rotisserie chicken, it’s a quick and easy meal. I’m careful of course, all rotisserie chickens are not equal. I read the ingredients until I found one that had no soy, canola, or corn oil. But since I live alone, this chicken always has lots of meat left over. I do so love chicken salad but even that can get boring when always made the same. I’ve added curry powder and made curried chicken salad which is delicious but I recently tried using a sweet and sour dressing, much like one used for coleslaw. Delicious, very easy and tasty at the end of summer when we’re getting tired of the same old salads.
I like to pulse my cooked chicken in my food processor to produce a slightly chunky chicken. Don’t take it to the extent of puree, just a fairly rough chop, almost like cooked ground chicken meat. For 4 servings, dice or pulse:
2 cooked chicken breasts, of medium size
Remove from food processor or cutting board into a bowl. Dice or pulse:
4-5 stalks celery, cleaned and quartered
4-5 scallions, cleaned and quartered
1/2 cup shredded carrots (or diced carrots)
Add to the chicken meat. I also add:
1/2 cup cooked baby peas
Mix these ingredients together. In a separate smaller bowl make the dressing using:
Whisk the dressing to combine and then add to the meat mixture. Mix well, chill and serve over a bed of mixed greens. Tomatoes and avocado on the side are a nice addition to this meal. I’ll often also garnish my chicken salad with pumpkin seeds or mix into the salad sesame or poppy seeds.
Every July 4th my mother would make what she called simply, salmon salad. It was a mayonnaise based pasta salad with canned salmon, crab and baby shrimp. I made one and put it on this site last year or the year before with a vinaigrette base. So now that I’ve found a vegan mayonnaise I can eat that doesn’t contain eggs or soybean oil, I decided this year to update this salad because it’s one of my very favorites. My mother always served blueberry muffins with it but I figure who needs all those added carbs! so I just serve the salad with the addition of more vegetables than just the onion and celery my mom used. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do. By the way, feel free to use a 16 ounce can of salmon, cleaned if you don’t have access to the fresh!
Bring an 8 quart pot of water to the boil, salt the water generously and add:
4 ounces gluten-free shells (you can use elbows or any other shape but my mom always used shells)*
When the pasta is about 2 minutes from being cooked add:
1-2 cups frozen peas (unless you have wonderful fresh peas!)
When the pasta is cooked, drain into a large colander and rinse with cold water until cool. I will often fill the pot I cooked the pasta in with cold water (it takes several times before the pot cools off) and then place the colander in it after I’ve sprayed the heck out of the pasta with cold water. I leave it in there for only about 5 minutes before it’s cool enough to add to the mixing bowl. While the pasta boils (or the water), heat an 8″ skillet over medium high heat with:
1 teaspoon olive oil
Add skin side down:
8 ounce (or so) salmon filet
Cook the salmon for 3-5 minutes on the skin side and then turn. Note, if it doesn’t come right off the skillet, it’s not ready to turn. Cook on the meat side for 2-3 minutes and then flip again to the skin side. Cover and reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon steak. Remove from heat, uncover and move the salmon to a plate to cool. When cool, flake with a fork and add to the vegetable mixture.
In a large mixing bowl (I actually use a 2 gallon plastic container), combine:
3-5 scallions, sliced on the diagonal
5-6 stalks of celery diced
1 medium, peeled and diced (and I also seed mine) cucumber
8 ounces of crab meat
8 ounces of baby shrimp (if you can eat them, I can’t so I leave them out)
In a smaller bowl combine:
1 1/2 cups vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
NOTE: I had a half bag of snow peas left over from the Moo Goo Guy Pan so I destringed them, cut them in half (or thirds if really long) and added them with the peas to the boil – delicious! Some diced jicama or water chestnuts would also go very nicely in this salad.
Whisk to combine and then pour over the vegetables after adding the pasta, peas, and fish in the mixing bowl. Stir to combine and then cool in the refrigerator for about an hour to let all the flavors meld. I like to serve it over some lettuce or as I did now, pea shoots. Serves 4-6.
*Whole Foods makes wonderful organic chickpea shells. Only 37 grams of carbs per serving which is quite good for pasta, along with 21 grams of protein. And note, we only use 2 servings instead of 4 so it cuts down on the total carbs per serving even more.
Sorry I haven’t blogged in a couple of days. The other main activity in my life is learning the craft of screenwriting and I’ve been at a virtual screenwriting summit all weekend. Just ending today so I have a little time to put up an old recipe of mine that I learned from a friend who was a caterer. Very easy to do and can be used as an appetizer or an entrée. Stuffed tomatoes can be stuffed with any kind of salad you like, egg, chicken, ham, etc. Tip from my caterer friend, use your food processor to process the meat into a well grated product so that it’s easier to stuff into the tomato, especially if you’re using very small tomatoes. It can also be put into a piping bag to fill the tomatoes. Use any size of tomato you like. I prefer to use Campari tomatoes, large for smaller tomatoes and large enough for 2 bites, a good size for an appetizer. If I’m making this as an entrée, a larger tomato is of course needed, like a Big Boy.
If you want the tomatoes to sit neatly on the plate, you can cut a very small amount from the bottom. Just be careful not to cut through the meat of the tomato.
Begin by making the salad. Put into the bowl of a food processor:
1 pound of ham, 1 large chicken breast, 8-10 hard boiled eggs, etc., cut into large chunks
1 large celery stalk, cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons dill relish (this is a sugar free relish; for a sweeter salad, add a little sweetener rather than use a sweet relish which contains sugar)
1-2 scallions, cut into large pieces
Blend until the meat is in small pieces. Add:
1/2 to 2/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
Blend until well mixed, be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl before finishing processing. Remove the completed salad to either a piping bag or a medium bowl.
For the tomatoes:
16-20 Campari tomatoes
36-48 grape tomatoes
or 2-4 large tomatoes
Begin by washing the tomatoes.* Then cut off the very top of the stem end of the tomatoes. Then, using a small sharp knife, cut around the inside of the tomato next to the meat and use a sharp ended spoon to scoop out the seeds and veins of the tomato.
Set the tomatoes on a paper towel, upside down so that some of the moisture drains out. Leave for about 5 minutes before filling. Place on a plate, garnish with scallions, chives, or thin slices of dill pickle.
*I hope all my followers know that you should NEVER store tomatoes in the refrigerator! Take this from a girl who grew up on a farm. Refrigerating them steals their flavor and also toughens the skins. Also when buying tomatoes, smell them. If they don’t smell like a tomato, they won’t taste like a tomato. Same with most fruit that has a distinct odor like strawberries.