Simple Vegan Smoked “Ham” Salad (a childhood favorite veganized for Easter)

Ham Salad in Celery 2Yield: approximately 3 to 4 cups

This super-easy salad was a pre-vegan childhood favorite.  I remember consuming way too much of it when I was home sick from school one day.  The mere thought of it brings back feelings of nurturing and nostalgia…even more so now that I’ve replaced the ham with extra-firm tofu and finely chopped smoked almonds.  To recreate the total flavor profile that I longed for, I added a few additional spices like fennel, sage, thyme, etc., and then stirred in the requisite vegan mayo, pickle relish and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

This recipe goes together in a flash, so when the craving strikes, satisfaction is only minutes away!  Enjoy for breakfast on a toasted bagel half, in a sandwich or wrap for a brown bag or even company-ready lunch, or spread on crackers or raw veggie slices as an accompaniment to a bowl of soup for a light–and lightening fast–supper.

14 ounces extra-firm tofu (not Silken), lightly pressed and blotted with paper towels

1 cup smoked almonds, finely chopped (I use a food processor)

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (lightly crush with a mortar and pestle if desired, but not necessary)

1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage

1/4 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional, but I think it is nice)

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

5 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1/2 of a large vegetable bouillon cube

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

2 teaspoons Braggs Liquid Aminos

Freshly ground black pepper to taste (I am quite generous with it in this recipe)

Crumble tofu into a medium bowl.  Add almonds, fennel, sage, nutritional yeast, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder, and toss with fingers to combine well.  Mash bouillon cube with fingers and whisk into mayo.  Add mayo to tofu-almond mixture along with remaining ingredients.  Stir together gently until completely combined.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time.  Delicious stuffed in celery sticks, mounded onto cucumber slices, or crackers, piled onto a sandwich, rolled in wrap, or heaped on a toasted bagel.

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  1. It’s not red/pink enough so … BEET JUICE! 🙂 Easy-peasy and vegan.

  2. I love beets, but I think that would change the flavor. I believe I’d go for smoked paprika for color and more smoky goodness. But, to each his own!

  3. LOVED this recipe! Unfortunately the nuts proved to be a bit much on my system. I swapped out the almonds for a can of chickpeas, and 2 tsp of smoke flavoring. I dropped the mayo and replaced it with a TBS of tahini and 2 TBS of coconut oil.

    It worked perfectly and stayed true to your flavor profile. Thank you!

  4. Great idea! I love when people adapt to suit their needs. My pleasure; thanks for sharing.

  5. I didn’t have any thyme, so I left it out, and I subbed dill relish for sweet pickle relish because that’s what I had. This is great! I’m thinking about trying it with some beet juice, though, because I agree that I want it to be pink–and I think the flavor wouldn’t change that much, just a bit more sweetness, which is how I ate my ham, anyway. I’ll report back later.

  6. Cool! Pkease do. And thanks for the detailed comment.

  7. It turned out the pickled beet juice was the wrong color pink. It tasted fine but it looked super strange! So I went with the uncolored version. It was lovely with a bit of lettuce for color and crunch:

  8. Thanks for the update–so good to know!

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