My vegan egg salad is–if you’ll allow me to brag for just a minute–divine. Last year, it was even included in a Vegan Top 50 List.
But, at some point, perhaps in her vegan brunch cookbook, Isa (who needs no last name, like “Madonna” or “Sting”), mentioned that the addition of Indian black salt has a sulpher-y flavor uncannily similar to eggs. One sniff, and you know she’s right!
I’ve been intending to try it for a long time, but just never remembered when I’ve been in one of our Indian markets (we have two now!). However, a couple of weeks ago, we were in the Napa Valley and happened through Yountville, home of the famous (non-vegan) French Laundry and the food/home boutique Napa Style.
So we passed on the former, but popped into the latter where we were greeted with a stunning salt display! It happened to be a huge mosaic hunk of gorgeous pink Himalayan salt–my newest obsession–but I inquired about black salt and was offered a tester. One taste and I was sold, so a a perfect little canister went home with me tucked in my luggage. (BTW, “black” salt is actually a pearly gray-pink.)
I paid too much for my stash, but, again, after one whiff, I knew it was the missing ingredient in my egg salad. To confirm this belief, I had whipped up a batch a day or so ago and two friends dropped by yesterday, separately. I offered them a spot of it and, though neither are vegans, they pronounced it the best egg salad (not vegan egg salad, but egg salad, period) that they’ve ever eaten.
So, I’m sharing the recipe again here with this substitution. However, if you don’t have and can’t get black salt, just make it with sea salt and you’ll still love it on a cracker as depicted, on a sandwich, or my favorite low-cal/high-health way: on a cucumber slice.
Yield: approximately 2 cups
14 ounces firm tofu, drained (not Silken–a test proved it to be unsatisfactory)
1 1/2 teaspoons black salt, or to taste (you may substitute sea salt for a different, but still delicious, result)
2 stalks of celery, trimmed, sliced vertically into 4 strips and sliced thinly crosswise
3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (if you don’t have any on hand, use white vinegar or even sweet or dill pickle juice)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon yellow mustard (I like a generous 1/2)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon dried dill weed or 1 tablespoon fresh minced dill
1 teaspoon natural sugar or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mash tofu with salt in a medium-size bowl using a potato masher or a fork. Don’t worry about over-mashing, as the texture seems to improve with additional mashing. Fold in celery with a fork. In a small cup or bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients except black pepper and fold it into the tofu mixture until the dressing is completely incorporated. Adjust seasoning with additional black salt, sugar, and pepper if needed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
July 25, 2011 at 6:55 pm
Oooooh, it sounds delish! I’ve had black salt on my “wishlist” for a good long time now. I’ve wanted to make Isa’s omelette recipe from vegan brunch with it but now I have another motivation to get some. Thanks Betsy!
July 25, 2011 at 7:18 pm
Do you have an Indian market where you live? I feel so lucky that we have two. Otherwise, I wonder if you could find it fairly cheaply online since you’ll have to pay shipping. I think I paid $12.50 for mine–which was silly–but I wanted it THEN!
March 7, 2012 at 10:52 pm
Thank you! I miss egg salad sandwiches and this recipe sure takes care of that.
I ordered my Indian Black Salt online, I actually picked up three containers to share with friends, and it is fairly expensive. It does go a long way, though. Shorter now that I found this recipe. 😀
March 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm
My pleasure, Vanessa! I missed them too…and pimento cheese. :O Good idea to share the Indian black salt as a gift, as it is a bit “dear.” Funny about it going a “shorter” way with the recipe–ha! All the best!
June 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm
That is some SERIOUSLY good eggless salad! The best I have ever ever had!! I used extra firm tofu and luckily had invested in the blacksalt this winter to make some fake deviled eggs for a party 🙂 YUM
Thank you Betsy!!!
June 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm
Wow, Lisa, thank you for taking the time to share your lovely feedback! People really do seem to love this, which I find so gratifying. It took some tweaking. And that black salt just takes it over the top, no? How do you make your eggless deviled eggs? My father loves deviled eggs. I will seem my parents in early July and would love to make him a batch. Thank YOU for all!
June 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm
I found the recipe online and modififed a bit – you take small new red or yellow potatoes and boil til done.(peeled). Halve them before boiling. Cool potatoes.
Combine 2 tb olive oil, 4 tb mayo, 1 tsp mustard, dash of garlic powder, tsp or two of black salt, sea salt, salt/pepper/turmeric.
Scoop out center of cooled potatoes – leave a shell of the potato there. Add cooled potatoes to the above and mix well with a mixer til light and fluffy.
Put the fluffy egg mixture into the potato shell and top with a dash of paprika
June 18, 2012 at 7:04 am
I appreciate your taking the time to share! What a fun idea. I think I would use the potatoes as recommended,but then fill with my egg salad, perhaps more finely mashed, and use the scooped out potato flesh for another dish. Yum!
June 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm
Just so you know, I have made your eggless salad 3 times so far. Yep 3 times in 13 days. That is how good it is.
July 1, 2012 at 9:01 am
Lisa, you are my ‘kinda girl! When I get a taste for something, I could eat it every day. After getting your first message, an opportunity came up that required a “sack lunch,” so I was reminded to make it (why did I have to be reminded?!) and ate it for two days. It is so low-cal, though, one could practically eat it all in one sitting. With July 4 approaching, I’m thinking my egg salad in your little potato “egg shells”! Thanks so much for your message!
July 21, 2012 at 10:10 pm
Hi Betsy, I made this last night and I took it to church today. Everyone loved it!!!! My vegenase was the low fat version and I added a small amount of red onion. That black salt smelled just like eggs. I’ve been vegan for so long that the smell of eggs makes me sick. But I got over this and the salad was delicious. How do you think the black salt would work on potato or macaroni salad? I will be making this again very soon, probably this week! Thanks for the great recipe
July 22, 2012 at 8:55 am
Thank you for letting me know about the “conversion” of your congregation, Cassie–ha! Seriously, I appreciate your taking the time to share. I love using low-fat versions of products when taste is not sacrificed, as with the Veganaise. The red onion sounds like a really nice addition. Isn’t the salt amazingly similar to eggs? So funny about the smell of eggs making you sick, but getting over it. 🙂 I know just what you mean. I think the black salt would be OUTSTANDING in potato and macaroni salad. I just don’t think I have made either since I discovered “the dark secret,” but I have put it in my “tuna” salad (just search my site for the recipe; it’s fairly recent). And I have added it to my vegan quiche batter and it provided that “special something” that was irresistible. Happy summer salad days!
December 31, 2012 at 7:54 pm
I was looking for a great potato salad recipe. So I thought if I made potato salad and then added the “egg” salad would it be delicious. I made it tonight and it is delicious. I can’t wait to have it tomorrow when the seasoning has time to sit.
January 1, 2013 at 3:37 pm
Brilliant synthesis, Cassia! Thanks tons for sharing. My mouth is watering. This is the second mention of potato salad in two days and I think I have to have some! Forget black-eyed peas for new years, I want vegan potato salad, please!
February 15, 2014 at 4:59 pm
O.M.G. I made this this past week and it is indeed perfect!! I didn’t have black salt so I just did without and it is absolutely delicious. It made such a huge batch that I’ve been eating all week, and I too, have been thinking about using some of it to make some potato salad.
Egg salad was always a favorite for me but I no longer have to miss it. This tastes exactly the same without the weirdness…and no random eggshells!!!
THANK YOUUUUUUUU SO MUCH!!!!!!
February 15, 2014 at 10:56 pm
What a cute message, Eileen…”exactly the same without the weirdness”/eggshells–amen! I am thrilled you love it as much as I do. Thank you so much for sharing your feedback. And you are more than welcome!
February 22, 2014 at 1:19 pm
I’m terribly disappointed. The sulfur smell that I get from sniffing the bag of black salt just didn’t come through in the final product. I kept adding more black salt until the level of saltiness was as much as I could take, and the egginess still wasn’t there for me. It’s fine as mock egg salads go, but not the near perfect replica of the real thing that I was hoping for.
February 22, 2014 at 5:24 pm
Really, Jean? I would be disappointed too, but that aroma DEFINITELY comes through when I make it with just a tiny bit of the salt. I doubt you want to ante up again for more black salt, but the brand I use is Napa Style in case you do.
March 28, 2014 at 7:58 am
I am in LOVE with this recipe. I have been making it so often I came up with a few add-ins that I absolutely love. Curry powder makes a great addition. So do diced green olives, shallots, or chives. Some avocado and cumin folded give it a great mexican flavor for summer picnics.
April 5, 2014 at 12:52 pm
David, sorry, your comment went to my “junk” folder for moderation and I just found it–and it is hardly junk! Thank you so much. LOVE your suggestions for add-ins. I am allergic to avocado–sadly–but everything else sounds beautiful. I’ve yet to “meet” a food that didn’t respond well to the smokiness of cumin. Thanks for sharing!
June 18, 2014 at 2:08 am
Thank you so much for this! I’ve made it twice in four days! I’m newly vegan and so used to relying on eggs as a vegetarian. My egg salad sandwich addiction can resume! I only had black Himalayan salt, not Indian, but it tastes divine all the same.
June 19, 2014 at 8:57 pm
Wow, Zooey, I love hearing this! Welcome to veganism and to The Blooming Platter. I was similarly addicted to egg salad and this more than satisfies the cravings! You will find that SO many foods don’t need eggs or even egg replacer (of which I’m not a huge fan)–here I’m talking about baked goods–from cookies to cakes, cheesecakes, quiche, pancakes and more. Just some baking powder/baking soda and a bit more moisture (about a scant 1/4 cup per egg) does the trick. Enjoy the tasty, nourishing journey!
November 9, 2014 at 4:13 pm
This sounds great! And there’s no cooking of the tofu at all?!
November 9, 2014 at 9:06 pm
None at all, Ishan, and to me–and others–it is perfection! I hope you find the same to be true!
December 29, 2014 at 2:59 pm
I am a new-ish vegan and I must admit I do kinda miss egg salad (although since becoming vegan the thought of eating eggs grosses me out, LOL). Would love to make this recipe, but would you please tell me what you mean by “natural sugar”? Is that raw sugar or coconut sugar, or something else? Thank you!
December 30, 2014 at 9:57 am
Melanie, I use turbinado, but use whatever you have. Won’t affect the flavor. Happy New Year! BTW, I agree with you about eggs; I thought, early on in my vegan odyssey, that if someone I trusted kept backyard chickens and treated them well, I wouldn’t have a problem. Wrong. I find them repulsive as well. Cheers!
February 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm
Any problem with leaving the sugar out or a recommended substitute?
February 22, 2015 at 12:15 pm
Alocasia, the balance of subtle flavor notes will just be slightly different, but no problem at all. Taste it without the sugar and see what you think. If you feel the saltiness and tanginess needs tempered ever-so-slightly, I would just use whatever you normally use as a sugar substitute. Enjoy!
March 4, 2015 at 8:04 pm
AGAIN, OMG, funny this is just over a year since I commented on this recipe… I finally managed to get some black salt and just made your egg salad with it. It was absolutely delicious without the black salt, but… this just totally ROCKED MY VEGAN WORLD!!! Thank youuuuu!!! I’m going to try using the dressing to make potato salad too!!!!
March 4, 2015 at 9:04 pm
What a delightful message, Eileen…so glad you found it worth waiting A YEAR for! It’s a whole different ballgame with black salt, no? Oh, yea, you’ll love it in potato salad! It’s my pleasure to share, so thank YOU for letting me know you hardily approve! Cheers!
July 23, 2015 at 12:56 pm
Is this prepared or powdered mustard?
July 27, 2015 at 7:03 pm
Hi Bonnie, it’s prepared mustard! Thanks for asking; hope you love it!
September 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm
Local health food store did not have. Found it at Amazon.com under KalaNamak
September 6, 2015 at 8:29 am
October 7, 2015 at 2:49 pm
Ok… Is it me? This tastes exactly like egg salad, I think I could fool my non vegan friends with this! I will be ordering black salt, but loved it with sea salt as well. Made a delicious sandwich with this salad, tomato and a “shmear” of avocado……can’t wait for lunch tomorrow! Thank you!!
October 12, 2015 at 5:58 pm
Sarah, I don’t think so…maybe we haven’t eaten eggs in so long that we don’t remember, but I think it is a dead-ringer and am so glad you do! Black salt will change your life. But, until then, so glad you are enjoying it with sea salt!
October 13, 2015 at 11:29 am
Well, now I have the black salt and HOLY COW!! I have an obsession with this eggless egg salad! Thanks for this incredible recipe!
October 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm
You are my ‘kinda girl, Sarah–I totally agree! It is absolutely my pleasure to have created the recipe and be able to share it. Thank YOU for taking time to share your Feedback!
December 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm
I made this for a work potluck today. It was gone in a few minutes! Those who know I’m vegan couldn’t believe it wasn’t made with eggs! I’ve already passed on your recipe to a couple of people who thought it was, “feakin’ amazing!”
The only 2 things I did differently were: I didn’t use celery seed and I put more Vegenaise mayo (approx. 8 tbsp) to make it creamier.
The salt I used was kala namak (Indian black salt) for the sulphuric taste of eggs.
I can’t thank you enough for this recipe!!!
December 9, 2015 at 5:33 pm
Voula, it is absolutely my pleasure to share. Brava for you for turning your coworkers onto egg salad, vegan style. I really like the celery seed in it and the amount of mayo is definitely a personal preference. But, I definitely agree with you on the black salt that I include in the ingredient list. It is, in my opinion, vastly superior to the sea salt option, but some folks can’t easily obtain kala namak (though it is available online). Have a very happy holiday and thank you so much for taking time to comment.
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February 27, 2016 at 8:21 pm
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October 28, 2016 at 9:04 am
Thank you for making, and posting this! 🙂 I made this yesterday for someone from the local newspaper. I wanted to show her that it’s possible to eat well without harming anyone. She liked it, but I have a lot of leftovers. Is it possible to freeze this, you think?
October 29, 2016 at 8:49 am
I’m so glad. Thanks for sharing. The texture of tofu changes when frozen; it my experience, it becomes more chewy. But why don’t you try it and let us know?
November 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm
If anyone reads this, I would highly recommend going to an Indian market (or Asian market that carries Indian ingredients) for your black salt. I got a sizeable bag that I’m certain will last me at least a year or two for $1. I was too broke to buy it online knowing that it could be sold for such an inflated price, so I’m glad I checked the store!
November 4, 2016 at 7:03 pm
Oh! Maybe someone will read this. I just realized the other comments are quite recent. Most often, I end up commenting on a post at least a year after it’s new and active, haha.
June 20, 2017 at 1:10 pm
I know this recipe has been out for a long time but I just found it and tried it. My first recipe with black salt. Although it was a little salty for me since I don’t use much normally, the eggless salad turned out really good. I added dill pickle relish because that’s what I have in mine, and it was every bit as good as real egg salad. I’ll be making this often.
June 20, 2017 at 1:54 pm
Better late than never! So glad that you took the time to respond. And I am thrilled that you are yet another fan. It is universally popular and I am delighted that I could create it and share it with everyone. Cheers!
August 27, 2017 at 2:58 pm
Hi there, my daughter is just now going vegan and so I tried this recipe. Since I didn’t have any garlic powder or onion powder on hand, I substituted the other two “sulphuric” spices I had on hand, asafoetida “(an Indian spice) and a dash of white pepper, and considered myself lucky to have the black salt on hand. I also added a dash of dill seed for sparkle and turmeric for color. I omitted the sugar because when I tasted it while seasoning, it just didn’t seem to need it. Used Just Mayo as I prefer its flavor to that of Vegenaise.
From across the house my daughter could smell it and she came into the kitchen thinking I’d made real eggs. To say it’s delicious would be an understatement. It’s complex and aromatic, mingling sweet, tangy, and umami; it tastes way better than real egg salad!
My daughter says she’ll like it better than the real thing because she doesn’t like the chalky texture of the yolks, so this is a real winner in our house. I tried it nestled into some crispy romaine leaves, sort of like an egg salad taco. Tellement délicieux!