VEGAN | WFPB | GLUTEN-FREE | 30 MINUTES OR LESS
With a full load of lovely veggies already in-hand, a beautiful cucumber came into view from across the farm stand and I made a beeline for it. I often buy cucumbers at the farmers market these days, enjoying them on a salad or sliced with a little soy sauce or coconut aminos. It seemed time for something a little different. This particular cucumber happened to be the ideal size for spiralizing. Cucumber noodles? Yes! I'd been thinking of creating a vegan version of Nicoise Salad for awhile...what if the cucumber noodles were paired with it? And this dish was born.
Salade Niçoise this is not. I've seen a surprising number of recipes claiming to be the "classic" version, some with tarragon, hericot verdes, tomatoes, etc., and some without. This version, I think, impressively has the vibe considering it's without those and the key ingredient: tuna. Somehow smashed chickpeas flavored with pickle juice, mustard, seaweed, and shallot pull off a similar mouth-feel and even flavor. It's a miracle, really. I'm not saying it tastes just the same, but the essence is there. Chickpeas are full of magic tricks, kind of like cashews. The cucumber noodles provide a nice counterbalance to the acidic chickpea mixture, as do the potatoes and olives - all together, they sing in harmony. It's a simple dish, easy to throw together within a half hour, with flavors that pop and bring me back to the "classic" version I grew up with. So here's a new "classic"!
VEGAN NIÇOISE SALAD
with spiralized cucumber noodles
- 1 large or 2 medium cucumbers
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed (reserve the liquid for an aquafaba project if you'd like!), or about 2 cups cooked
- 2 tablespoons pickle juice or white wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1 1/2 tablespoons plain unsweetened coconut milk (the drink, not from a can)
- 1 tablespoon whole grain or dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
- 3 seaweed snack sheets or 1 large sheet of nori
- 1 cup chopped, steamed potatoes*
- 1/3 cup sliced kalamata olives
- salt & pepper to taste (optional)
- lemon wedges for serving
*This recipe assumes you have steamed the potatoes beforehand. I like to keep steamed potatoes in my fridge at all times to add to various dishes. To steam the potatoes: Peel the potatoes if desired (I usually don't to keep nutrients in the potato skins, as long as they're organic), chop them to a consistent size, and place them in a prepared steamer basket. Steam for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart. Let them cool and store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Peel the cucumber if desired (again, I usually don't), then use a spiralizer with the smallest "noodle" setting to make cucumber noodles. Set them aside.
- In a medium bowl, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher or fork. Stir in the pickle juice or vinegar, shallot, coconut milk, mustard, and maple syrup (if using).
- Crumble the seaweed sheet(s) over the mixture and stir until well distributed. Stir in the potatoes and olives.
- Place the cucumber noodles on a plate or in a bowl. Spoon the Niçoise Salad mixture over the noodles. Serve.
- Enjoy thoroughly.
My goal is to provide recipes that are easy and relatively quick; doable during a busy week. Kitchen times are approximate and will depend on various factors, like your personal kitchen speed and how many hands you have working with you. Cooking can become a centering experience that brings family together. I hope you enjoy the ride!
While I consider eating more produce the top priority, I do recommend buying organic ingredients whenever possible to avoid consuming (and supporting the use of) harmful pesticides and GMOs. Compare the cost of organic to the drive-thru and you may be surprised to find that organic made-at-home meals can cost less. Many recipes you'll find here travel well and are about as quick to make as hitting the local fast-food joint.