Happy Herbivore Blog

Fat-Free Tofu "Egg" Salad (Vegan Egg Salad)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

The first time I tried egg salad was about five years ago, when I was a vegetarian. I'd forgotten my lunch at home that day, and an egg salad sandwich was the only "option" at the grab-n-go deli by my internship. Honestly, it looked like a sloppy yellow mess and...well, I didn't know how I felt about it. 

For starters, I wasn't one for mayonaise (to be honest, mayo still gives me the heebie jeebies) and also wasn't a fan of eggs. In other words, an egg salad just wasn't anything I ever desired to try. Still, my stomach was rumbling so I bought one, hoping for the best.

One bite into that sandwich and I unleashed what would become a rather intense love affair with egg salad. I ate it on salads, slipped into a warm whole wheat pita or my fave--squishing out between two slices of pumpernickel bread. 

This affair continued until I went vegan a few months later. Although I'd sought out replica recipes online immediately, one glance at them made me realize they'd never taste the same... so I filed egg salad under "unhealthy foods I now avoid" in my brain and moved on.

And really, I'd forgotten about egg salad sandwiches until last week when a friend emailed to say the deli had closed down. Although I haven't eaten there in years (and since they didn't offer anything vegan, I couldn't patronage it anyway), I still find it sad when long-standing, independently-owned establishments go under.  

After reading the email, however, I started thinking about all those egg salad sandwiches---and then I wanted a vegan one. Not willing to try any old recipe--I sent a message out to twitter, asking if anyone knew of a good vegan egg salad sandwich recipe. Several people replied that if I found one, please share it--which left me feeling dismal about finding a great recipe...

But then, @pdxyogini tweeted me the following recipe: "12oz crumbled x-tra firm tofu, 1/3 c small dice onion, same of celery, veganaise, mustard, salt/pepper, dill pickle relish."

I liked the simplicity of her recipe and decided to use it as a template. The first time I made this eggless salad, I kept adding a little of this--a lot of that--tasting along the way until I had what I thought was the right taste. I served it to Scott & he went crazy for it--eating three and a half total sandwiches!

I then scratched out what I thought I'd done on a piece of paper and waited a few days to test out my "recipe." The second salad was not the same as the first--but it was better--- as though my mind somehow knew what was right and remembered it that way. 

Still, even with my recipe--you'll still need to do some tasting as you go, especially because we all have our own preferences when it comes to egg salad. For instance, Scott really likes the tang of dill, so he's generous with the relish, where I like it as a slight flavor accent.


Recipe:Eggless Salad


My long search for the perfect vegan "egg" salad is over! This tofu eggless salad tastes just like the original, only it's fat-free and a whole lot healthier. Black salt is the secret ingredient here. This has quickly became a favorite in our household.



If using firm tofu, press for at least 20 minutes. Give exrta-firm tofu a good squeeze before starting. Crumble tofu into a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Let set for a few minutes (this allows the flavor to merge but also enhances the yellow coloring). Stir again. Taste, adjusting spices as necessary. Add black pepper to taste and serve.

Chef's Note: I use the fat-free vegan mayo from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook.

The 4 Hour (Vegan) Body Diet Review

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Reviews

SHOCKER: Tim Ferris wants you to be vegan (no, really!)

"If you are considering test-driving a PPBD, which I hope you will..." - T.F.

Background: I've been hearing about the 4-Hour Body in one way or another since Tim first mentioned it on his blog. Several emails poured in asking for my thoughts on the Paleo diet (the alleged cornerstone of the book) and if I was going to review the book--so here we are.

Paleo Diet: I could speak for days on the fallacies and problems with Paleo but I need't do that here because the 4 Hour Body diet isn't necessarily a Paleo protege. Sure Tim shuns grains (like Paleo) but he's pro-legumes (a non-Paleo food). Is there some overlap? Well sure, but I think Tim calls his diet Slow-Carb for a practical reason: it's not identical to Low Carb/Atkins or it's protege, Paleo.

Sound Nutrition? Tim and I are on the same page with a few key issues: We both think commercial juices are rubbage and that whole foods are the way to go, but Tim is anti-fruit which always gives me a cause for concern. He's also pro-oil and well, we know where I am on that.

One thing I found particularly amusing: Tim recognizes milk as a retardant for weight-loss... but why is where we differ: His explanation revolves around some insulin-surge theory (which I'm not discounting); but he then later encourages whey, cottage cheese and some creams. Tim, all dairy is a weight-loss retardant and causes weight gain... because that's what dairy is intended to do! Turn a calf into a 400lb heifer in record time! Der.

Ferris Hates Vegetarians: Reading the first part of the book, you'd think Tim loathed vegetarians. Take this FAQ, for example: 

Can I do this if I'm lacto-ovo vegetarian? Tim:Meat isn't necessary, but it does make the job easier. Eggs and beans are sufficient to lose weight. (He also goes on to talking about how you really can't shake the last 5-10lbs without eating one of five meals every 3 hours--4 of which contain meat and/or eggs and the other--whey).

This is then supported by evidence presented from his 194 test subjects (he lists 10 as vegetarian and 178 as non-vegetarian..I'm guessing the other 6 are space aliens?) The vegetarians lost 21lbs on average, compared to the non-vegetarians who lost 23.

The problem I have with this kind of "evidence" is that it doesn't take into account where the individuals started from. Since vegetarians have lower BMI's than non-vegetarians perhaps they lost less because they had less to lose?? I really don't know--and except for a passing sentence, there isn't any information on the people who dropped out or who gained weight--and what their diet was. (I wonder, too, if the gainers might reduce the overall averages??)

Ferris Loves Vegetarians: The word vegan did actually slip past Tim's lips a few times, but he ultimately opted to use PPBD (primarily plant-based diet) -- which can mean vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and flexitarians whose diet is 70% or more plant foods... though the vegan diet is emphasized in the greatest detail... with a transition plan to boot! 

However, Tim starts the topic of veganism by saying: if someone becomes vegan, he realizes he needs a B12 supplement, and upon researching B12, he sees that animal liver is a good source of B12, so he then eats grass-fed beef once a week instead of being vegan.

I almost fired off an angry email right then! I mean, that is so nonsensical I don't know where to begin! Especially coming from the same person who pushes supplements in the proceeding 100 pages! (100 pages!) of the book! 

Then I turned the page and Tim does a complete 180. 

"If you are considering test-driving a PPBD, which I hope you will..." - T.F.

Why Tim, you did get all my emails! 

Tim's reasons for PPBD? Environmental welfare. And health. kinda. The "health"aspect is all really complicated, and I hate to say, bi-polar. Tim's message is so conflicting--even his "expert" contradicts himself--but the takeaway message is pro-vegan if you don't buy into the BS too much. 

Allow me show you: 

In one of his "vegan" chapters, Tim introduces Dr. Beradi (who admittedly I'm totally unfamiliar with). Dr. Beradi enters the picture after Ferris talks about super vegan Scott Jurek (he interviewed him) and Bill Pearl's sexy vegetarian muscles... and Dr. Beradi tries the 4-Hour Body diet as a ovo-vegetarian. and he does well on it, but ultimately concludes "I've come to conclude that vegetarianism can work, but this usually requires the help of a trained nutrition coach... I've also concluded that vegetarianism is a real challenge for the average person. Without meticulous planning and some nutritional guidance, most are doomed to muscle loss, poor performance, and a host of nutritional deficiencies" Umm... no. (My feelings on this subject are here). By the way, even if you are an omnivore, if you are on Tim's diet without supplements, you too will have a host of nutritional deficiencies...(as admitted by Tim). So...yeah.

But then (!) Dr. Butthead--Beradi, follows with this on the next page"Proper vegans tend to eat more whole, natural, locally produced and unprocessed foods than most omnivores. This means things like raw nuts and seeds, whole grains...locally grown fruit and veggies. That's all they eat, so they do it right." Dr. Beradi also affirm that vegans are more eco-friendly--which is Tim's big point for why you should try PPBD.

All-in-all, the two chapters on PPBD read this way--bi-polar--and I can only guess Tim was trying to be objective, but in reality you just want to say "spoken like a true meat eater" in a passive-aggressive tone. (i.e. He rails on soy, pointing out it can mess with your hormones and make you infertile...so how to we explain the population crisis in China, Tim?)

Conclusion: Tim's diet reads a little like an Eating Disorder--if I'm going to be brutally honest. It's obsessively restrictive, with one binge day---but hey! He didn't totally crap all over vegans, which is what we all expected from him, right? (I'm also concerned he approves things like sugar-free jello and Diet Coke...daily!) but aside from all the flaws, there is also great information in there and its presented in a way you not only understand, but won't find terribly boring to read. Is this book and diet for everyone? I'm doubtful--but I'm tempted to try it vegan-style for two weeks as an experiment.

Btw--Tim is wearing sneakers in all his workout demos--don't wear running shoes when you are lifting weights!

Disclaimer: I speed read the book as Tim told me too--namely, I only read chapters that mattered to me. For example, I skipped the chapter re: the 15-minute orgasm because I don't know that I want to experience a 15-minute orgasm..that sounds painful, actually.

Holiday Recipe Ideas

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Holiday

Hey herbies! I've been getting a couple of emails and comments via Facebook asking for suggestions and ideas for foods one can take to their office party, neighbor's holiday gathering and the like, so for this Top 10 Tuesday, here are some of my favorite Holiday party "potluck" dishes.

On the simpler side, I recommended "Honey" Roasted "Nuts" -- you can also do a savory take on these no-nuts by roasting them (a la Chickpea Taco style) with Chinese Five-Spice (the chickpeas from the chickpea tacos and the Teriyaki Chickpeas are also great for nibbling by themselves!). 

Homemade (fat-free) Hummus with plate of chopped fresh vegetables is also easy and you can kick it up a notch by using a medley of flavored hummuses such as roasted red bell pepper, black olive and jalapeno. 

Other good potluck plates include Zucchini Sticks and Double-Chocolate Muffins (add in touch of coffee granules!) 

For slightly decadent desserts: I like to make my Butter Bean Cookies (with some macadamia nuts slipped in), Rice Pudding (prepared with lite coconut milk) and my beloved Cheesecake. You also can't really go wrong with Chocolate Glazed Donuts, Pumpkin Pie, or the classic: Holiday Sugar Cookie Cutouts.

If you're going to a brunch or a party thats early in the day, I recommend Apple Crisp MuffinsApple Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Gingerbread French Toast, Cinnamon Raisin BiscuitsCinnamon Buns or a nice Quiche

Then of course, there is always (fat-free!) egg nog! and the egg nog parfaits I made for Vegetarian Times. 

Plus, the Gingerbread Mini Loaves in my cookbook are sure to win over your friends---and you can get this recipe now via the "look inside" preview feature on Amazon!

Also check back on Friday for my (fat-free!) Chocolate Christmas Cupcake recipe!