Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bonus Territory: Northern Mariana Islands: Pitaya Salad

In addition to the 50 states, the US has a number of territories.  Many of these are just a spit of sand with some scientific and/or military presence.  However, five of the territories are large enough to have a culture of their own (and, thus, food!):  Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam.   Maybe they will remain territories -- or maybe they will become states or independent nations.   Who knows?   Unfortunately, they get short shrift -- but not here at the I-40 Kitchen!  Scattered in between our posts on the remaining states, I will add some bonus posts for the territories.

We'll start with the Northern Mariana Islands.    A lot of the recipes I found online were very heavy on pork or seafood.  I wasn't feeling up to veganizing something like that (although let me know if you do it!).  I then happened across a recipe from the NMI which won a place in a healthy school lunch contest.  There are quite a few interesting (and veganizable) recipes from this contest, so you may want to check it out.   Anyhow, with some light veganizing and a little adjustment to quantities, here is the recipe:


1 1/2 c. cooked, chopped Gardein chick'n scallopini (or seitan, tofu, tempeh, or your preferred vegan protein)
1 chopped pitaya/dragonfruit (or 4 kiwis -- I used kiwis as dragonfruit was not to be found)
2 large slices fresh pineapple, diced
1/2 head green cabbage, chopped


1/3 c. plain, unsweetened nondairy yogurt
1 T. soy sauce
2 t. white vinegar
1 t. vinegar
pinch of cayenne (I used Indian chili powder, as I like it better)
2 t. black sesame seeds

Mix the salad ingredients.  Mix the dressing ingredients.  Combine.  That's it!

This was a fresh and delicious dinner.  The dressing was unexpected and very nice.  Who knew that soy yogurt and soy sauce would combine so pleasantly?   If you have leftover Thanksgiving Tofurky, this would be a good use for it.   Maybe Esther Huh, from the NMI, will see this and be inspired to try a vegan version of her recipe.

Edited to add:  After posting, I went to the market to buy apples, and they had pitaya/dragonfruit!  I got a little crazy with the pinkness of it all, and chopped up two to add to the salad:

Tip:  After sitting in the salad for a day or so, the Gardein became a bit mushy/pasty.   If you don't plan to eat this all at once, you may want to keep the Gardein separate until ready to serve.  When making again, I will probably use cooked, cubed tempeh, as I think it would hold up better.

With upcoming holiday travel, it will be a week or more before the next post.  Stay tuned!

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