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.
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.