This meal brought me back to my childhood when I used to love pasta salad with rich creamy mayonnaise. It´s really quick to put together when you use some convenient ingredients such as tofu mayo and already fried and seasoned packaged tempeh. But you can definitely make your own tofu mayo (there are plenty of recipes on the webs) or season and fry plain tempeh according to your wishes.
I cooked some corn pasta al dente. On a pan I sauteed onion on olive oil for a couple of minutes. Then I chopped up leek, celery (stalk plus leaves) and tempeh and I grated carrot and celery root on the coarse side of the grate. Afterwards I added all these veggies to the onions, sauteeing until soft and shiny. You can season them with fresh cracked black pepper. Mix the veggies and the pasta and add as much tofu mayonnaise as you like, mix well, voila!
This recipe comes from one of my favourite Czech macro cookbooks from Dagmar Lužná (Makrobiotické nedělní vaření, for those who read Czech :-D). It´s superyummy!! Just make sure that your polenta is not too thin, otherwise it will be a mess (mine kinda was :-D).
First boil polenta (cornmeal) flour with water in a 1:2,5 ratio. When I make it, I pour the polenta flour into cold water with a pinch of salt and then bring it slowly to boil and cook for at least half an hour, on a very low flame and under a heavy lid, no stirring. When the polenta is cooked, pour it into a large shallow baking dish and let cool, preferably in the fridge, once it´s not too hot amymore. The polenta must be stiff.
In the cookbook the next step is cutting up the polenta into cubes and frying them in some oil until crispy. I didn´t want to use too much fat in the salad, so I just made the cubes, brushed them lightly with oil and baked them in the oven on a tray until they got a bit of a crust. Baking the polenta cubes might make them soft again though, so I think next time I will just omit this step altogether – this needs still some experimenting! :-p
I used a bit different veggies than in the original recipe: I had celery root, parsley root, carrot and broccoli stem, which I steamed whole, until half-soft (they must not get mushy!) and then cut them into smaller cubes. I also diced an onion and boiled it for a couple of minutes in a mixture of 1 1/2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tbsp of rice malt, a pinch of salt and enough water to cover the onion. Then I strained the liquid and added the onions into a big bowl where I placed the cut up polenta and vegetables. I mixed everything well with tofu mayo (add as much as you like, I like quite a good amount in “potato salad”!). The dish can be eaten chilled or room temperature depending on your liking and digestive system 😀
I served the salad with water-sauteed cabbage, broccoli and leek.