Because it fits both my theme and the official #VeganMoFo prompt for today ("Indoor/Outdoor Picnic"), you know I cannot help but share a picnic post! This is a meal for two to share for a picnic I had with a friend back in June (these tiffins really seem to work best when packing food for two, I think):
If you've been reading Food for Dissertating since my actual dissertating days in graduate school--which I doubt is the case for most of you, because the demographics have shifted a lot and I think most of you wouldn't have read my pre-vegan blog, and those who did read that aren't into vegan food so much and have abandoned ship--you know that once upon a time I loved a certain boxed pasta salad mix made by Archer Farms (the Target store brand). And like most things I loved made by Archer Farms, it mysteriously disappeared one day, never to be seen again. But I would have wanted to recreate it anyway, because it wasn't vegan.
Well! I have done it! Or at least something close. My friend liked this and she isn't vegan, so this is omnivore approved! So here is how you make vegan pesto pepperoni salad. It involves several specialty ingredients, including a jar of tofu pesto (this is a Shop Rite brand item, and not explicitly labeled as vegan, but the label lists no non-vegan ingredients), so it is not especially cheap. I waited until the pesto was on sale for half price to try it. But the tofu pesto is delicious on its own or as the basis for something else and makes this salad very easy. The pasta salad can be made ahead and packs well. You can't always have everything but having most things is nice. Some halved cherry tomatoes are a nice addition just before serving, but I didn't have any this time.
Vegan Pesto Pepperoni Salad
Serves about 4
4 oz. radiatore pasta (or something similar if that is not available; corkscrew pasta would probably also be nice), tricolor if you can find it (I did not find tricolor, alas)
1/2 7 oz. jar tofu pesto
1/3 cup vegan mayo (I used reduced fat Vegenaise)
3 tablespoons grated vegan Parmesan, plus additional Parmesan for garnish if desired
1/2 can black olives, halved
About 20 vegan pepperoni slices, halved (I used Yves)
Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, mix pesto, mayo, and Parmesan well in a large bowl. When pasta is done, drain and rinse in cold water. Toss with sauce, then add olives and pepperoni. Mix well. Allow to chill for a half hour to allow flavors to meld. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.