Here’s a fun and easy salad that you can use as a sandwich filling or serve atop a green salad or in lettuce cups. It’s a vegan dish inspired by a chicken and pinenut salad sandwich I used to have at Beans & Barley in Milwaukee back in my student days. The curry adds a delicious warming dimension, the chopped celery gives a nice crunch and the toasted pine nuts lend a gourmet air.
Curry “chicken” and pinenut salad
Makes enough for 2 to 3 sandwiches
- 6 oz. (160 g) vegan “chicken” (or substitute firm tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, etc.)
- 1/4 cup (25 g) pine nuts
- 1/4 cup (25 g) chopped celery
- 1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) vegan mayonnaise
- 3 teaspoons fresh curry powder
- red or white onion (optional)
- parsley or cilantro, for a garnish
- bread, if you want to make sandwiches
Begin by toasting your pinenuts. Place them in a dry frying pan and heat over low/medium for several minutes, shaking the pan to stir occasionally. Stay right there in the kitchen during this process, so you can keep an eye on them… once they begin toasting, things can go fast and they can end up burnt in no time. Pinenuts are expensive, so it would be sad to have to throw them out. You can also chop your celery during this time (not shown).
This is the vegan “chicken” I used. You can also try this same recipe with firm tofu, tempeh, chickpeas or seitan.
It comes in the form of large chunks, which I recommend chopping into smaller pieces. The package says to cook it, but it’s actually already cooked and since this is a cold sandwich, there’s no need.
I used this German vegan mayonnaise I found at Un Monde Vegan in Paris. These days, more and more vegan and non-vegan brands are coming out with vegan mayo.
Mix the curry powder into the mayonnaise. I used 3 teaspoons for 1/3 cup mayo, but you could add less or more curry powder as you like. Make sure your curry powder is fresh, because after it sits around for a while it loses its flavor, and you don’t want to miss the punch that full-flavor curry packs in this dish.
The curry gives the mayonnaise a beautiful vibrant yellow color.
Mix the curry mayonnaise into the “chicken”, then incorporate the chopped celery and pinenuts. If you won’t be serving the salad right away, wait until the last moment to incorporate the pinenuts so they stay more crunchy. You may want to reserve some pinenuts to add as a final garnish if you’re serving this salad in lettuce cups for example.
To make a sandwich, toast some bread (this is the foldable stovetop “camping” toaster I use because there isn’t room in my kitchen for a normal toaster). 😉
Top the toast with some of the “chicken” salad, then add onion and an herb garnish, if desired. You could also serve this with lettuce and tomato. This can be either an open-faced sandwich, as shown above, or a traditional sandwich with two pieces of bread, as shown below.
Variation: I recently learned of a British dish, coronation chicken, that’s quite similar to this and was invented for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation banquet. It differs in that it has no pinenuts but does have chopped dried apricots and flaked almonds.