I’m certain I’m completely dating myself here in my discussion of a “tea room” but that’s the reality I’m living in these days. The age you get to when your references are not longer relevant (sigh). So let me explain. A tea room, where I come from, is typically located in a small town in a historic home that’s been decorated in lace curtains and tablecloths with antique dinner plates, utensils, and tea cups. It’s quaint, proper, and the noise level is kept to a minimum. It’s the perfect setting for ladies that lunch and by “ladies” I mean mother daughters, sister sisters, best friends, bible study pals…you get my drift.
It’s no secret among them that the food is really the main draw despite the intimate setting for good conversation and bonding. See the tea room I’ve described above serves the best homemade food you’ve ever set your mouth on. It’s not the food you’re serving up at home for the kids, it’s not the food you eat out with the hubby, no! The tea room is reserved for danity servings of scrumptious soups, sassy salads, crust-less sandwiches, and huge decadent desserts. I always figured their servings were small so the “ladies” wouldn’t feel guilty about the enormous pie they just ate. Either that or to make room for it, which has never been a problem for me (sigh, again!).
Anyway I’ve been to a few tea rooms and I often sit and think of some of the delicious bites I’ve enjoyed, one being a really good chicken salad. It’s the kinda of chicken salad that your Grannie would make for a wedding or baby shower (along with the sherbet punch). As a vegan, I assumed this dish was one I’d have to leave in my past but vegan cooking is not about deprivation. So like any good vegan cook, I came up with my own version. Sure you can make this like a more traditional chicken salad with celery, grapes, walnuts, etc. but I prefer the twist. For me the joy in vegan cooking isn’t about reinventing the food I loathed from my past (although it’s so easy to do). It’s about taking new ingredients and flavors I’ve since discovered and creating a new familiar.
I dream of an all-vegan tea room of my own someday, with a twist of course. Until then I’ll work on creating all the simply tasty food that us vegan ladies love to lunch on.
This salad is the perfect replacement for traditional chicken salad. The curry gives it a kick of flavor but the sweetness of the raisins balance it out. Serve it as a dip, in a wrap, on a sandwich, stuffed in a tomato or topped on a salad.
- 1 can organic chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 2 Tbsp vegan mayo
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1/2 cup cashews chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 tsp curry powder
- s&p to taste
- 1 heirloom tomato optional
- 2 cups arugula optional
- 1/2 ripe avocado optional
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast optional
- Put the chickpeas in a medium size bowl, use the back of a fork and smash the chickpeas until they easy to stir with some texture remaining. Add the mayo, lemon, and curry powder to the smashed chickpeas, stir until well blended. Then fold in the cashews and raisins until combined. Wash and dry your tomato and with a sharp knife cut it like you would slice a pizza, in angles, not letting your knife go all the way through the bottom skin. Fan the tomato out on your plate over arugula and add a couple of scoops of the salad mix to the inside. Add s&p to taste.