Taramosalata is a Greek meze made from tarama, the salted roe of the cod, carp or grey mullet mixed with plenty of olive oil, lemon juice, maybe some vinegar and a starchy base which usually is mashed potatoes or stale bread.
Inspired by the traditional recipe, I created a vegan taramosalata recipe, which tastes like the real thing but it is totally cruelty-free. Actually the taste is so similar to the original stuff that probably no one will ever realize that it does not contain animal-derived ingredients.
In order to achieve the plant-based seafood flavor I used nori – my favorite edible seaweed which provides us also some valuable nutrients – and flaxseed oil that is very rich in omega-3s (but you probably know that already). These two ingredients, apart from being very healthy, they also give a nice summer flavor to the dish, reminiscent of seafood, making its taste very similar to the non-vegan taramosalata.
Taramosalata is prepared mostly during the Clean Monday and the subsequent Lent, but you may decide that its vegan version is very delicious to be eaten only once a year.
- ½ cup sunflower seeds or walnuts or cashews soaked for 2-4 hours
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes in oil
- 1 ½ cups stale bread (crusts removed)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons flaxseed oil
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dried edible seaweeds (usually I use nori) coarsely chopped -or more for enhanced sea flavor
- ½ -1 tsp salt (depending on how salty our sun-dried tomatoes are)
- freshly ground pepper
1. Soak the seaweeds in a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes. Drain them and keep the soaking water, as it retains all the flavors of seaweeds as well as a strong umami taste that will make your taramosalata unbeatable!
2. Cut the bread in cubes and soak in the water you’ve saved for 5 minutes. Strain and put aside.
3. Strain the nuts and blend in a blender together with the olive oil, the lemon juice and the vinegar for 2-3 minutes until smooth.
4. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and seaweed and blend for 2 more minutes, until you have a homogeneous mixture. Finally add the soaked bread and the flaxseed oil. Taste and add some salt, lemon or pepper if necessary. The sun-dried tomatoes and the bread I used were not salted and so I added about 1 tsp of salt to achieve the right taste. However most sun-dried tomatoes are very salty, so I would suggest a test before adding extra salt. However keep in mind that taramosalata has to be salty.
Note: Enjoy your vegan taramosalata as a meze or appetizer with fresh bread, preferably lagana bread, as Greeks do during Clean Monday! And don’t forget to add it in a sandwich with grilled vegetables and maybe the leftover lagana bread. It’s amazing!