Wicked Vegan Lobstah (Salad or Rolls)

Wicked good.

Being a Massachusetts-born vegan-fetishist, I feel it’s my responsibility to make things not only vegan for all my darlings, but wicked vegan. My biggest challenge to myself post-home visit was to come up with a tasty vegan take on my BFF’s favorite regional delicacy, lobstah rolls. Even the vegan and vegan-friendly cafes we frequent on the north shore (and there are some excellent ones in Newburyport, Salem, and Beverly) don’t offer anything like it on the menu.

I experimented with some existing recipes out there using hearts of palm, and was soundly disappointed – they tasted almost as if I’d thrown a little Old Bay and lemon juice on some crunchy artichoke hearts and called it a day, even with the added vegan mayo and other ingredients like dill. Which is fine, if you’ve never tasted or liked seafood. There was definitely a whole taste profile missing. Sweetness, tenderness, and that ineffable fishy undersea-taste you either love or hate, to name just a few elements.

A lot of restaurants secretly use knockoff lobster made of whitefish surimi, so I looked into how surimi was made, and one of the ingredients cited was Japanese mirin, a rice wine that has both sweetness and savory umami flavor. To make a long story short, I wound up making a marinade using mirin and a generous helping of kelp as well as Old Bay, and steam-baked the marinated hearts of palm to make them tender. I saved the lemon for the very end, so there could be a zing of acid without having made lemonade-fish. While the result may not fool carnivores (they might think it’s some kind of whitefish), it’s pretty satisfying if you crave those sea-flavors. I have yet to find a better recipe.

Serves 2-4, depending on how much you want to pile on a roll.

Ingredients

  • 2 14-oz cans hearts of palm (use Native Forest for sustainably sourced), chopped at an angle and irregularly in chunks/roll cut
  • 2 T avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup + 2 T mirin
  • 2-3 tsp Old Bay (it’s very peppery, so use accordingly)
  • 4 tsp kelp granules
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp salt (be advised kelp and Old Bay are already somewhat salty)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup vegan mayo (I prefer to make my own with avocado oil, see recipe below)
  • lemon slices, paprika and/or celery leaves for garnish
  • Hot dog buns if making rolls (Schär also makes a vegan, gluten free bun) and vegan butter or olive oil (optional)

Combine the avocado oil, mirin, Old Bay, kelp, garlic powder, and salt in a bowl or container for the marinade. Add the hearts of palm and toss thoroughly to coat, then let marinate refrigerated for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 and lay the marinated “lobster” out in a single layer on a baking sheet covered in enough foil to fold over and pinch seal so the contents can steam cook without drying out. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pieces are tender, and let cool.

Combine the celery and red onion in a bowl with the thoroughly cooled “lobster” and mix in the mayo. If you have time to chill it, so much the better. Serve as salad on lettuce or as rolls on toasted buns brushed with a little salted olive oil or melted vegan butter, and garnish with a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of paprika, and/or a few celery leaves.

U mami, that’s wicked good.

Vegan Mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (chickpea liquid)
  • 3/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp brown mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kala namak (Indian black salt)

Blend everything but the avocado oil in a blender until frothy, then slowly pour in the avocado oil as a thin stream. Now whip it! Whip that saucy mixture on high for several minutes until it thickens to the pudding-like consistency of mayonnaise. Aquafaba acts like egg. (You can also whip it with a hand mixer if you prefer.) Store the mayo refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Leonard says:

    Great idea with this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Madame le P. says:

      Merci beaucoup!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mirandagualtieri says:

    Wow!! So much effort and it looks delicious!
    THANK YOU for the LOBSTAH ROLL .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Madame le P. says:

      You’re worth the effort, and welcome!! xoxo

      Like

    1. Madame le P. says:

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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