Whether you’re vegan or not, this delightfully light take on the classic Greek Horiatiki Salata is simple and delicious. The “feta” is made with firm tofu, which I marinated in lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt. The salt in the marinade not only brines the tofu, it also draws out water from the tofu, giving it the crumbly texture of feta. The lemon juice adds the requisite tangy taste, and the nutritional yeast brings the umami and barnyard funk typical of sheep’s milk cheese.
While I’d be lying if I told you it tasted exactly like good feta, it does hit all the right notes: tangy, creamy, salty and brimming with umami. If given the choice between having this and a bland flavorless “feta-style” cheese made with cow’s milk, I’d choose this any day. When paired with the sweet juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, pungent onions and salty olives, this plant-based Greek Salad is a festive party of colors, textures and tastes.
As with any simple dish, it’s very important to use the very best ingredients you can find. The tomatoes in particular should be red and ripe as the salad really needs the balancing sweetness of the tomatoes to offset the salty olives and cheese. The tofu can be prepared up to a week in advance, but the salad should be chopped and tossed just before serving.
To eat, it just crumble up the “feta” and stir everything together.
Vegan Greek Salad
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 7 ounces (200 grams, 1/2 pack) firm tofu
- 7 ounces (200 grams, 2 cucumbers) Lebanese cucumbers, cut into bite-size pieces
- 7 ounces (200 grams) tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 ounce (30 grams, 1/4 onion) red onion, thinly sliced
- 2.8 ounces (80 grams, 1/2 cup) Kalamata olives
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- Put the lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt into a sealable bag and shake to dissolve the salt.
- Add the tofu, and then press out as much air from the bag as possible before sealing. If you have a vacuum sealer, this will make this a lot easier. Let this marinate for at least 24 hours, or up to one week.
- Toss the cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, olives, wine vinegar and salt together and plate.
- Drain the marinated tofu and place on top of the vegetables. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano to serve.
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marcs been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.