Vegan Cevicheceviche was at the top of the list. Ceviche is a Peruvian seafood dish where raw seafood is marinated in citrus juice, usually lime juice, until it is "cooked". It's traditionally eaten with fried plantain chips or tortilla chips in the summer.
Growing up, the most common types of seafood I had were frozen fish sticks and canned tuna made into tuna casserole, and by "most common types of seafood", I mean the seafood we had maybe 3 times a year. I think I've had shrimp cocktail maybe twice in my life, but never any other kind of shellfish, no fresh fish, and certainly not any raw fish, so I have never had authentic ceviche.
It always seems difficult to try to create a dish that mimics something you've never had, but really, this was a snap. My immediate reaction was to use mushrooms, since they have such a distinct texture and flavor, but I decided to try an experiment and see if tofu would work, since I know many people who are not fans of fungi. Just before I went shopping, I saw Bazu's post about her ceviche, which uses hearts of palm to beautiful visual effect, so I thought I'd try that as well. I decided to experiment with four versions: tofu, frozen tofu, mixed mushrooms, and hearts of palm.
In the end, each version had its own set of pros and cons, and I realized that a combination would work best. For example, some of the mushrooms get a bit toothsome, which is how I imagine calamari or shrimp would be in ceviche, while the tofu is nice and tender, and if you use frozen tofu it absorbs a ton of flavor. The hearts of palm are beautiful and an ingenious addition, giving a slight visual nod to calamari, but also lending the dish a nice flavor and texture.
You'll notice in the pictures I didn't use cucumbers or tomato, although they are mentioned as optional ingredients in the recipe; I've been having a terrible eczema/psoriasis outbreak this summer, so I've been using tomatoes very sparingly, as nightshades can aggravate any inflammatory disease. However, tomatoes would be a great, colorful addition, especially if you used various heirloom tomatoes, or a combination of yellow pear and cherry tomatoes. Additionally, if eaten in the summer, tomatoes can be very cooling. Oh, and I simply didn't have any cucumber on hand.
Textural Close-up of Vegan Ceviche
Yields: 4–8 servings
1 cup organic red onion, diced
1/2 cup organic cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 medium organic tomato, seeded and cut into 1/2” cubes, optional
1/2 medium organic cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2” cubes, optional
2 pinches unrefined sea salt, SI brand recommended
1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar
juice of 5 organic limes
8 ounces hearts of palm, sliced 1/4” thick
8 ounces organic soft tofu, frozen overnight, then thawed and cut into 1/2” cubes
1/2 cup organic oyster mushrooms, cut into 1/4” thick slices
1/2 cup organic button, crimini or wild mushrooms, cut into 1/4” thick slices
1/2 cup organic fresh shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/4” thick slices
1 tablespoon organic unpasteurized shoyu
1–2 tablespoons organic agave nectar
1 organic avocado, cut into 1/4”–1/2” cubes, optional
1–2 tablespoons organic hemp oil, optional
In a glass bowl, mix red onion, cilantro, tomato and cucumber, if using, sea salt, umeboshi vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Marinate for 1–2 hours.
Meanwhile, in a separate glass bowl, mix hearts of palm, tofu, mushrooms, shoyu, agave nectar and remaining lime juice. Marinate for 1–2 hours.
Add onion mixture to mushrooms mixture, add avocado and hemp oil, if using, and adjust seasonings.
Spoon into individual servings in martini glasses, and garnish with additional fresh cilantro. Serve with fried plantain chips, tortilla chips, or water crackers.
-For a more pronounced cooling effect, add 1–2 cloves minced garlic to onions before they begin marinating.
-For crisper cucumbers, add them at the last minute instead of pickling them.
-Add diced celery just before serving.
-Instead of freezing tofu overnight, press it for 30 minutes, then blanch or steam it for 15 minutes and cool before marinading.
-You could use all oyster mushrooms or all shiitake, but I wouldn't recommend using all crimini or button mushrooms as they tend to get a little bit...soggy. I really like the textural differences you have when you use a combination, too.