Sunday, April 28, 2013

creamy apple-pesto vegan chicken salad [gluten-free]

Soy curls swimming in a creamy-crunchy pesto dressing. Who needs chicken? 
This was one of those "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"-inspired recipes. In a moment of utter discombobulation, I bought a bag of organic apples at Trader Joe's thinking I was saving money. Sure, they were cheap. Downside was that they also tasted more like potatoes than Gala apples. I could have used them to make a cobbler or pie, but I wanted something savory and the crunch-tastic Waldorf Salad muses – Celery and Apple – were calling my name.

Enter the star of the show -- Plant-Powered Protein: Butler Soy Curls. I love soy curls and buy them by the case especially since I'm running a lot lately and as a result, need to consume more protein than the average bear. Soy Curls fit the bill: they are gluten-free, non-GMO, contain no trans-fats, and are easy and tasty to prepare – just soak in broth, drain and sauté. If you are newly vegan or vegetarian and are one of those people who miss the taste and texture of meat, then you should give these a go. When browned, they are eerily meaty.

My provisions arrived on Friday!
Here, I've paired sauteed soy curls with some leftover frozen pesto, courtesy of last summer's windowsill harvest, and a creamy soy-yogurt-Vegenaise base. If you want to up the hedonism quotient, use all Vegenaise. If you are watching your fat intake, use all yogurt – it's up to you. This salad gets fancy over a bed of baby greens or spinach. It also makes a humble-but-tasty sandwich filling; be sue to use toasted bread for mo'-better-crunchy.

This salad is perfect for sandwiches. Toasting the bread is a must. 

creamy apple-pesto vegan chicken salad [gluten-free]

  • 1 1/2 cups Butler Soy Curls 
  • 2 cups vegetable broth [I use Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base]
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 6 T non-dairy, unsweetened yogurt
  • 2 T Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 T pesto [Store-bought or make your own]
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small apple, cored and finely chopped [If organic, don't bother peeling]
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Serves 4
You'll need to chop your drained soy curls into bite-sized pieces.
Soak soy curls in broth for 15-30 minutes to rehydrate. Drain then chop into "salad size" pieces. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium and brown the soy curls under golden, stirring constantly, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

Mix remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir in browned soy curls; make sure they are well coated.

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Andrea said...

I'm so glad you made the salad with soy curls instead of fake chicken. Yay soy curls! Lucky for use we can buy them locally so we usually buy just three bags at a time, but I really want a whole case! The recipe sounds so easy to make and the flavor combo sounds great — it would be perfect to whip up for impromptu guests.

Joey said...

Soy curls so need to come to England. Fingers crossed they migrate at some point!

Carrie™ said...

I haven't seen soy curls around here yet, so I'm going to check out stores when I do my cross-border shopping. I'm dying of curiosity.

Lizzie Bordello said...

This one looks great - perfect for Summertime! I think I have a package of Soy Curls in the freezer... :)

Kate Cunningham said...

This looks delicious, I will definitely be trying this recipe out :)

Thanks for sharing!