This weekend I had one of the best “mock” vegan tuna salad’s I’d ever tasted, and you’ll never guess what the key ingredient was.
OK, I’ll tell you.
Sunflower seeds. I know, right? I too admit to being skeptical when I saw the recipe on the speaker’s handout, but by then the samples were already making their way through the tent enclosure. Before my mind could convince my mouth we didn’t want any, its tangy deliciousness had already hit my tastebuds, atop a light and crunchy blue corn chip. (Hint: the secret lies in the soaking, and the seaweed.)
The recipe’s creator, Dr. Ruby Lathon, was one of the key reasons I’d made the trek down to the waterfront for DCVegFest ’13, an annual event in the nation’s capital celebrating all things vegan. Plenty of vendors were on hand promoting everything from eco-clothing to vegan-friendly travel packages, neither of which I can tell you anything about since I blew by those in search of good stuff to eat.
I’d read up on Dr. Lathon’s story before I got down there, and wanted to hear more about her inspiring journey. In 2007 she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Rather than automatically default to the traditional surgery route, she adopted a plant-based, whole-food diet in an attempt to boost her health.
Eighteen months later, her tumor had dissolved.
You’re free to draw your own conclusions, but all I’ll say is that these types of survivors are the folks I tend to seek out more and more these days, for potentially useful clues on healthy living. I hope to catch up with Dr. Ruby in the future for a more in-depth conversation, but she already gave me more than my Metro fare’s worth this weekend with this (raw) vegan tuna recipe, which she allowed me to pass along to you (below). When you’re done scraping the bowl, you can check out Dr. Ruby on her YouTube channel The Veggie Chest, or on her website Roadmap to Holistic Health with Dr. Ruby.
Because this recipe is considered "raw" it's a great option for detox diets. (Reviewer note: I went with reduced-fat vegenaise to cut the calories and fat even further, plus added chopped sweet pickles, for extra flavor.)
- 2 cups soaked raw sunflower seeds (soaked for 2 hours to overnight)
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 red or white small onion
- 1 1/2 stalks celery
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of dulse (seaweed)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon brown or Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flax oil OR 2 tablespoons grape seed oil Vegenaise (EFS note: I used reduced-fat Vegenaise)
- 1 large diced tomato
- Optional: 1 teaspoon dill or 2 finely chopped kosher dill pickles (EFS note: I used diced sweet pickles)
- Drain and rinse sunflower seeds (soaked for 2 hours or overnight).
- Finely chop parsey, onion, and celery and pulse in a food processor and set aside.
- Mix dulse with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl.
- Add sunflower seeds, garlic, dulse mixture, mustard, sea salt to food processor. Pulse until seeds are grounded and ingredients are well incorporated. Scrape sides with spatula as needed.
- Combine sunflower seed mixture with parsley, onions, celery and flax oil or vegenaise in a bowl. Gently mix in diced tomatoes.
Serving Suggestions: Wrap in romaine lettuce leaves; use as a dip for veggies such as red pepper slices or celery; serve on a bed of mixed greens; with raw crackers; serve on toasted bread with lettuce and tomatoes.