A fresh favorite from 'Dinner for Everyone'
When I grew up, way back in the twentieth century, there was always a huge jar of mayo – Hellmann’s of course, and only Hellmann’s, for whatever reason – and mayo was important. (Olive oil, for all intents and purposes, only existed for people of Mediterranean origin; you couldn’t even buy it in a supermarket.)
My mom, who was the primary — read, only — cook in the house, used it liberally, but it was us kids who “discovered” that there were few limits: We’d spread toast with it, eat it hot (revolutionary at the time), dip cold potatoes into it (deconstructed potato salad, I guess), and more.
Nowadays, most of our mayo is homemade: It takes 30 seconds and kills the store-bought stuff, whatever brand. (Yes, there’s still a jar of Hellmann’s in the fridge.) And often that homemade mayo is vegan, usually with a base of silken tofu. That’s also easy to make, though of course, you can buy a variety of substitutes. The development of vegan mayo – something that really didn’t exist in my childhood – allows everyone to enjoy deli-style salads, like coleslaw, macaroni, potato, and so on. (Read more about it in this piece from Kerri.)
The basic elements of these – and of the non-vegan egg, chicken, tuna, and so on – salads, are well known. But if you start playing around, you can always come up with something new, and my favorite of this is a creamy salad of grated jicama (celeriac, kohlrabi, parsnips, even turnips – even a combination – are also fabulous here), bound in a mustardy mayonnaise dressing with grapes and the strong, mysterious fresh tarragon.
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 25 minutes
1 pound jicama, peeled
1⁄2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1⁄2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
3 celery stalks, chopped
1⁄2 small red onion, chopped
8 large, sturdy romaine leaves