Monthly Archives: December 2010

Wilted Salad with Warm Vegan “Bacon” Dressing

Forgive me father for I have sinned. It has been (gasp) FIVE weeks since my last post. During that time I have gone out of state for Thanksgiving, had two back-to-back craft-fair-filled weekends, finished Christmas orders, Christmas shopped, headed out of town for a family Christmas and baby shower and cleaned out my back office on my one day off (which was more like 3 hours off after a much needed relaxing brunch with my squeeze over at Toast), worked some more, wrapped presents, trimmed a tree, hosted a holiday part.

A few of us managed to gather for a wintery Cooking Club at Karen W.’s new loft downtown last week. I was totally going to phone it in and bring salad fixin’s but decided to do at least a LITTLE better. I feel like I only had it a couple of times, but I remember really loving the warm bacon dressing my mom used to make. Well, she probably still makes it — I just don’t eat it anymore…

Since I was heading straight from work to the store by the time I thought of it, I couldn’t look up mom’s recipe, but found one that sounded similar online. I subbed fake bacon for the bacon and –instead of the bacon fat that usually sits as the base of the dressing — I used olive oil with two little drops of hickory liquid smoke.

I offered hard boiled eggs — as the original recipe includes — and also made a vegan option by soaking a block of firm tofu in water and turmeric overnight, then pressing out the liquid in my tofu press for a crumbly egg-like feel.

I think I pulled it off and I think I’ll be making it a lot this winter. I wonder if my mom would even go for it… I doubled this recipe and it was plenty for six to eight servings.  Here it is!

• Spinach
• 2-3 hard boiled eggs or 1 block extra firm tofu + turmeric
• 1/2 pkg. fake bacon, cooked and crumbled
• 3 Tbsp. olive oil
• Liquid Smoke (hickory)
• 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
• salt and pepper
• sliced mushrooms (white is the traditional here, I think I went with baby bellas)
• 1 small red onion, cut into thin slices

1. The recipe says to remove stems from the spinach, but I didn’t bother. We did it buffet style so people could add what they like. Make sure it is washed well and dried.

2. Non-vegan version: To boil eggs, place eggs in pan and cover with water until there is about an inch of water above the eggs. Bring to a boil, turn the pan off and leave it, covered, for about 15 minutes. Cool or rinse with cold water until cool. Peel off shell and slice.

Vegan version: Soak tofu in water with a few shakes of turmeric over night. It won’t give it too much flavor but it will be a nice yellow color.

3. Add 3 Tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil (I went with olive) to a small saucepan and add 2-3 drops liquid smoke. It doesn’t take much! Whisk in vinegar, sugar and mustard. Season with a pinch each salt and pepper.

4. Create salad with spinach, mushrooms, onion, egg or tofu, and bacon. Top with warm dressing and serve immediately.