Persian Potato Salad (Vegan)
When I was a kid, my mom worked for a couple from Iran and they taught her how to make some of their favorite Iranian recipes. One recipe that stuck with us was their Persian Potato Salad. Now, back then we were not vegan and so I've made some adjustments to this recipe; removing the shredded chicken and replacing the hard boiled egg with super firm tofu. Everything else in the recipe I have left somewhat the same.
Although many consider potato salad to be a side dish, we always ate it as a main course. The addition of the chicken always made it feel more like a complete meal. Now that I've removed the chicken I still eat it as a main dish, sometimes adding it on some bread and having a potato salad sandwich, which I must add is good either hot or cold. Additionally, this recipe is great for meal prepping and taking to work because you don't need a microwave and because it's easy to carry without spilling or making a mess.
Plastics Used & Carbon Emissions
Regarding this meals plastic usage I must say it's not horrible but you will end up with one piece of plastic trash. The tofu is impossible to find plastic free, unless you make your own. Everything else can be purchased free of packaging, or in glass containers. Regarding emissions, if you've read my blogs before your will know that a vegan diet is the most environmentally friendly diet there is because it creates the least carbon emissions, and least amount of water and land usage. Consider the amount of land and water used to grow, say some corn that someone will eat, versus the amount of land and water used to grow and eat a cow. An animal grown for food not only requires much more space, but it requires a much greater amount of water and food. I saw feed conversion rates in a peer reviewed article a few years ago. They are as follows: to grow a cow by 1 pound, it must eat 7 pounds of corn. There are 1,656 calories in one pound of corn, multiply that by 7 pounds and we get a total of 11,592 calories. The calories in one pound of beef are 798... In other words, it is a lot more efficient to eat plants. If that corn was given to people (considering a 2000 calorie per day diet) we could feed a little under 6 people, or 5.7 people for the entire day. If that corn is given to the cow and then we eat the cow, we end up feeding one meal to one person, not even their entire daily recommendable caloric intake. Food for thought my friends! :)
Lets move on to the ingredients, specifically the potatoes. For this recipe I used 6 medium / large Russet potatoes. These took about 40 minutes to cook because I boiled them whole. Please keep in mind that if you plan on making a different type of potato or if you plan on boiling them in cubes your cook time will vary. So keep a good eye on them while they boiling, maybe check them every 5 or 10 minutes.
The Persian pickles might be something new to you. The cucumbers used to make these pickles are called Persian cucumbers, they are much smaller than the regular Italian or English cucumber. They are like mini English cucumber but without the plastic wrapping and they tend to have a much more concentrated cucumber flavor compared to the large Italian ones. Additionally, they tend to be slightly spicy as they are pickled with dry red chilies, garlic and herbs. I find these at my local international food store but these can always be replaced with whatever pickle you might have handy.
The original recipe called for cubes of hard boiled egg which I replaced with super firm tofu. I added spices to enhance the flavor and appearance. If you are familiar with black salt. I highly recommend adding black salt to your tofu. This salt has a strong sulfuric smell and it makes anything seasoned with it taste more like egg. Be weary though that it smells funky BUT, it taste delicious.
This recipe will serve about 6 people.
- 3 pounds or about 6 medium/large potatoes
- 2 3/4 teaspoons salt (divided)
- 1 pound of super firm tofu
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon of high heat oil
- 200 grams or 3 celery sticks
- 72 grams or a bundle of 9 small green onions
- 300 grams or 1.5 cup mayonnaise
- 300 grams of pickled Persian cucumbers
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
Rinse your potatoes off any dirt. Boil enough water to cover up the potatoes then add 2 teaspoons of salt and the potatoes for about 40 minutes. When done cooking, take them out of the water and let them cool down for about 15 minutes before peeling them. After being peeled, chop them up into small cubes. Place them in a bowl big enough to fit the rest of the ingredients.
While the potatoes cook, chop the firm tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and add them to a mixing bowl. Add the garlic, onion and turmeric powder and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well.
Heat a large pan and add 1 teaspoon of your preferred high heat oil, then add the tofu. Make sure every piece of tofu has contact with the pan and let it cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat on one side. Then stir, turning the squares on a different side so that most sides get a nice golden appearance.
Chop the celery sticks into small squares. Slice the green onion into 1/4 inch pieces. Chop the pickles. Add them all to the same bowl the chopped potatoes are in.
Add the mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice to the bowl with all the ingredients and mix well.
Taste, add more salt or mayo as desired and serve.
Hope you enjoy this meal :)