The foodstuff: “Jalapeño Face” Spicy Waldorf Salad (recipe below)
The connection: Is improv for Iron Chef.
As tempted as I was to make another pizza for this week’s Iron Chef challenge (hot peppers, sunflower seeds, and grapes!), I ix-nayed the idea-ay, since we literally just made two pizzas yesterday – and have the leftovers to prove it. Instead, I decided to go the healthy route with a Waldorf salad. (Which is to say, Shane had salad for dinner whilst watching me chow down on pizza, ’cause hot peppers? Not my scene. HE’S A SAINT.)
Though I eat a ton of salad, I almost never follow a recipe proper. For me, it’s as easy as tossing all my favorite veggies and toppings together in a ginormous Tupperware bowl (mere dinnerware cannot contain my Big Salads!) and getting my nom on. Before today, I had only the vaguest idea of what goes into a Waldorf salad.
According to the Wikis, “A Waldorf salad is a salad traditionally made of fresh apples, celery and walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise, and usually served on a bed of lettuce as an appetizer or a light meal. [...] Other ingredients, such as chicken, turkey, grapes, and dried fruit (e.g. dates or raisins) are sometimes added. Updated versions of the salad sometimes change the dressing to a seasoned mayonnaise or a yogurt dressing.”
The “Jalapeño Face” Spicy Waldorf Salad* I came up with is a mix of old and new. It’s got all the classic fixins of a Waldorf salad: greens, apples, celery, grapes, walnuts, and mayo – as well as a few new additions: spicy, jalapeño-roasted sunflower seeds and an equally spicy jalapeño mayo dressing. A mix of sweet and spicy, the “Jalapeño Face” Spicy Waldorf Salad is not for the faint of tongue!
Pro tip: The mayo is just my go-to DIY Nayonaise recipe with some diced jalapeños thrown in. You can just blend some hot peppers with your own favorite vegan mayo, if you’d rather. Make a whole batch of the stuff, or just enough for the salad – it’s super-flexible.
Paired with Iggy Pop because he and The Stooges played the Waldorf-Astoria (the birthplace of today’s meal) when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. That, and Iggy Pop is all the awesome.
“Jalapeño Face” Spicy Waldorf Salad
a bed of leafy greens
jalapeño-roasted sunflower seeds (see recipe below)
spicy vegan mayo (see recipe below)
In a large bowl, put down a layer of greens. Top with the apples, celery, grapes, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and mayo and enjoy!
Jalapeño-Roasted Sunflower Seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 jalapeño, diced
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
In a large frying pan or skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium. Add the diced jalapeño and saute for several minutes. Add the raw sunflower seeds and continue to cook for several more minutes, stirring all the while, until the sunflower seeds turn a rich golden color. Remove from heat immediately. Lay the seeds out on a paper towel and remove the jalapeños. (Save them for later use in the mayo dressing, if desired.) Enjoy on a “Jalapeño Face” Spicy Waldorf Salad or as a snack.
Spicy Vegan Mayo
12 ounces silken tofu
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
a dash of paprika
diced jalapeños to taste (if desired, you can use the leftover sautéed jalapeños from the Jalapeño-Roasted Sunflower Seeds; they have a slightly milder taste)
1. Using blender or food processor, blend the tofu until it’s smooth and silky. Add the rest of the ingredients (minus the jalapeños) and process until well blended, stopping several times to scrape the bowl. Add the diced jalapeños a teaspoon at a time until the mayo reaches the desired level of spiciness. Store in an airtight container in the fridge; use within a week.
* “Jalapeño Face,” get it?
Pepper Potts IS NOT AMUSED.