Vegetarian Plus Vegan Tuna Rolls

IMG_1458    This vegan tuna tastes so much like tuna fish that it’s freaky.   It even smells like tuna fish.  I ordered these Vegan Tuna Rolls from Healthy Eating, a good resource for all kinds of things.   Here in the U.S., the word roll can refer to a type of sandwich–the exact type of sandwich pictured on the box (see photo below).   However, the world “roll” as used on this box of tuna rolls means you literally get two frozen, sausage-shaped rolls of vegan tuna filling (see last photo below).  So, the tuna filling comes all by itself, with no bread or anything.  You simply thaw and then cut open these tuna logs and use the filling as you would a can of tuna fish.   About price: I had no choice but to order six boxes of tuna rolls for a total of $59.99.  Shipping and handling was another $14.95, for a total of $74.94, let’s call it $75.   However, we got three sandwiches out of each tuna roll, and that means enough vegan tuna to make six sandwiches per box.  $75 divided by 36 = $2.08 per serving, and that includes frozen shipping with cold packs.  Now, the box says there are “about 4” servings per box, and that would make some big sandwiches.  The sandwiches I made were a generous-average size, in my opinion.  So, price would vary depending upon use.

As far as “dressing up” this tuna, the sky’s the limit.  My favorite ingredients include Vegenaise, chopped pickled red onions, sweet relish, salt and pepper.  I had a friend who always put Celery Salt in her tuna salad, and finely-chopped celery.  You could put capers or grated carrots, etc.  If these Vegan Tuna Rolls are not your thing, please check out the other vegan tuna salad also on this site–it’s delicious and easy.   p.s.  Lars never liked tuna fish salad, so I was surprised that he really likes this vegan tuna!
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IMG_1454  Two rolls of vegan tuna filling per box.

Vegan Zucchini Crab Cakes

For all those who miss the flavor of crab cakes.   These are delicate and must be handled a bit gently.  In my opinion, this is a “wow” recipe; something you can serve as a special meal.  The Nori gives a faint hint of oceanic flavor, and the Panko gives the outside of the cake a delicate crunch that’s refined in a Japanese way.  Serving them with a vegan tartar sauce or better yet, this Vegan Remoulade Sauce is a must.  And so are at least two lemon wedges per serving.  These will take you at least an hour, but they’re worth it.  They freeze beautifully, so you’ll have some for future.  There are easy tips in this recipe; a non-stick skillet, pressing the tofu until it’s dry, etc.  Follow the procedures and all will be well.  This would be a great recipe to use when the zucchini ripens this summer.

VEGAN ZUCCHINI CRAB CAKES

Makes approximately 14 “crab” cakes.

INGREDIENTS
3 slices whole wheat bread toasted and processed into fine crumbs (I use Ezekiel Bread with the orange wrapper)
1 flax egg   (mix 1 Tablespoon flax meal with 3 Tablespoons water and let thicken)
3 Cups (no more) zucchini, pulsed fine in food processor (don’t peel it if it’s organic) (I used two approx. 8-inch zucchini and got just about 3 cups)
1 stalk celery finely chopped (food processor)
1/2 yellow or white onion finely chopped (food processor)
1 carrot (food processor)
1/4 Cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 teaspoon neutral-tasting oil (such as canola, safflower or grapeseed)
16 oz. firm tofu, pressed and dry (food processor but do not puree)
1 sheet Nori seaweed, chopped (I fold it and use scissors to snip into very small pieces)
1/2 Cup vegan mayonnaise (I like Reduced Fat Vegenaise)
1 Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 Cup Panko crumbs (for coating)
Cooking spray (if baking)

DIRECTIONS 
Preheat the oven to 350 if baking.
In a lightly oiled skillet on medium heat, sauté zucchini, celery, onion, carrot, and parsley until the vegetables are softened but firm. Set them aside.
In a large bowl, combine the processed tofu, flax egg, sautéed vegetables, 3/4 of the whole wheat bread crumbs, vegan mayonnaise, seaweed, and seasonings, and mix everything well. If the mixture seems too wet and isn’t holding together, add the remaining toasted crumbs until you have a mixture that is moist and easy to shape into patties. Usually I use the entire amount of toasted crumbs.
Form about 14 half-inch-thick patties, using a level 1/3 cup of mixture for each.
Coat each patty with Panko bread crumbs and put on a plate.
Spray or heat a little oil in a seasoned (or nonstick) skillet until the pan is hot but the oil isn’t smoking.    Gently lay each patty in the pan and fry about 5 minutes.
Don’t fuss with the cakes until they move freely when you gently shake the pan forth and back.    When the cakes are golden brown on one side, gently turn them over and fry the other side.

Alternatively, you can place the patties on an oiled, lined (or nonstick) baking sheet.  Spray each patty lightly with cooking spray and bake about 15 minutes.
Then, gently turn the patties and continue baking until toasty brown.

Serve hot or warm with Vegan Remoulade Sauce and lemon wedges.   Note:  These freeze beautifully.  Fry them and cool completely before freezing.  To serve, thaw and reheat in the oven or microwave.  I highly recommend that you belly up to the food processor for this recipe, and process everything in groups.  It saves a ton of time.  If you cannot find the Old Bay Seasoning in your country, here is a recipe for it.  It really adds a lot and is the classic, essential seasoning here in the Mid-Atlantic on the Chesapeake Bay.  I did use myTofuExpress tofu press here, but it’s easy to simply put the tofu on a plate and put another plate on top and then a weight (a can of soup or a book) on top of the top plate, and just keep draining.

Vegan Better-Than-Tuna Salad

Recently, I was wistful for a tuna sandwich.  Not that I would eat one, but it’s natural to miss something you used to eat without thinking about it.  Some of what we miss is that hit of protein, and texture.  By pulsing chickpeas lightly in the food processor, you get that flaky texture of canned tuna.  And to my surprise, this actually tastes like tuna (without the fishy smell).  Not exactly, but pretty close, and it’s delicious.  This recipe is adapted from The Vegan Table.   An added bonus is that this recipe will make you feel good.  Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) have all the essential amino acids that adults need, and are packed with protein and fiber.  Here is a quote from the LiveStrong web site:  “The proteins found in garbanzo beans include all eight of the essential dietary amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. The only missing essential amino acid in garbanzo beans is histidine, which is necessary only for infants.”

Colleen’s addition of adding the raw walnuts (which you cannot really taste) supplies the Omega 3 Fatty Acids.    p.s. I changed some measurements and added the onion and relish.  The optional seaweed flakes give it a faint fish flavor.
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Better-Than-Tuna Salad from The Vegan Table cookbook

Half quantity shown here, makes at least 4 servings or sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 Cup Vegenaise (eggless mayonnaise)
½ medium-sized red bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1 carrot, grated fine (or pulsed to a grated consistency)
½ celery stalk, minced fine (or pulsed to a grated consistency)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion or shallot
2 Tablespoons sweet relish
½ C raw walnuts, chopped fine (or pulsed in food processor)
1.5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Dulse granules (seaweed flakes) (optional, for that faint fish flavor)

DIRECTIONS
Rinse and drain chickpeas well.
Here, if you want to, you can pulse the carrot, celery and walnuts in the food processor, until fine.  Empty food processor and then process the chickpeas until they are a somewhat-fine flaky consistency. Do not over-process, or you’ll get hummus! The flakiness of the chickpeas resembles tuna in texture, which is important for this recipe.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir carrot/celery/walnut mixture with onion, relish, mustard, and mayo and seasonings (salt, pepper and optional seaweed flakes/granules).
Add flaked chickpeas and stir again to mix all well.  Chill until ready to serve.

Notes:  I use my Pickled Red Onions in this (and everything else).  Please note that this recipe (as you see it here) is halved.  A scoop of this would be good sitting in the middle of a green salad, or you could make vegan tuna melts with Daiya cheese, or stuff it into pita pockets, etc.