Fast forward a zillion years to my vegan versions of these family favorites. The potato salad is an easy do-over, since I just needed to swap out Vegenaise for the mayo and omit the hard-cooked eggs that my mother habitually added to her potato salad (double helping of cholesterol, anyone?). At the last minute, I diced a ripe avocado that I needed to use up and added it to the salad, and I’m glad I did. The avocado was a nice counterpoint to the pimiento-stuffed green olives that are requisite in my Close to Mom’s Potato Salad (below) adapted from Vegan Planet.
For the sausage, I used a recipe from one of my upcoming cookbooks (sorry, I can’t share that recipe just yet) in which I come close to the seasonings in my family’s sausage recipe. To cook the sausage, I used a variation of the steaming method I learned when I used to make seafood sausages as an omni restaurant chef — we’d shape the delicate seafood mixture into logs and wrap them in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before steaming. For the vegan sausage I just use the aluminum foil.
Many years ago I saw a similar method used for making seitan sausage in an old cookbook and it does work fine, although I thought the resulting texture could have been firmer. My own take on that method (which I think produces a better texture) is a steam/bake combination where I shape the sausage or seitan into patties or logs and wrap them in foil, then place the “packages” in a baking dish. I then add water to the baking dish about halfway up the sides, cover the entire baking dish tightly with foil, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on how thick the seitan or sausage is). After baking, I remove them from the pan and let them cool. Then they’re ready to sauté (or grill) to give them a nice browned color on the outside. (I’ll post the actual recipe soon.)
To approximate the great Italian rolls my family used to enjoy, I defrosted some frozen pizza dough, divided it into quarters that I shaped into logs and baked for about 15 minutes. After cooling for a minute, I sliced them open, added the sausage and peppers, and served up a taste from my childhood — vegan-style. It’s definitely not a low-cal, low-carb, or low-fat meal, but, hey, at least it’s cholesterol-free and a delicious indulgence for a cookout.
Close to Mom’s Potato Salad
Adapted from Vegan Planet. I used small red-skinned potatoes and left the skin on. To this recipe, I also added a diced avocado, making it a little less close to Mom’s version!
1 1/2 pounds small waxy potatoes
1 celery rib, minced
2 tablespoons grated onion, or to taste (optional)
1/3 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives
1/3 to 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise)
1 to 2 tablespoons soy milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Paprika, for garnish
1. Boil the potatoes in a pot of salted boiling water, until tender but still firm. Drain and allow to cool, then cut them into bite-size chunks, and place them in a large bowl. Add the celery, onion (if using), and olives and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the vegan mayonnaise, soy milk mustard, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and add to the potato mixture, stirring gently to combine. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve right away or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.