Any pizza lover will tell you that tomatoes and cheese are a near perfect pairing. I was looking for an easy appetizer or side dish that was light and quick to put together, packed a good flavor punch. This salad from Northeastern France and would have typically been made with a sharp cheese like Gruyere, but Daiya’s Smoked Gouda makes a great vegan option because it has a hint of smoke flavoring that pairs nicely with the rest of the ingredients.
In the grand scheme of things vegan cheese-making is still in its infancy – let’s face it, the dairy folks have a few thousand years head start. However, new and better options are becoming available all the time – everything from Daiya to Miyoko’s to Kite Hill which are available in more select areas or by online order, and even more recently small artisan makers who serve local markets, like Culchurd in Toronto or Fresh Start Fauxmage that we came across in Charlottown, PEI. If you prefer the DIY route, there are some great books by excellent vegan chefs who are doing pretty remarkable things in the non-dairy cheese world. I really suggest you take a look, and even give them a try (look for links at the bottom of this post). The cheeses aren’t very difficult to make, but do require a few specialty ingredients and a little time. The results, however, are well worth it!
I recommend using toasted walnut oil in the recipe, because its nuttiness helps bring all the flavors together, but can be an expensive purchase. Feel free to substitute olive oil in its place.
- 4 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced about ¼-inch thick
- ½ medium shallot, peeled and thinly sliced. Taste it. If it’s very sharp, or ‘hot’, soak it in a small amount of cold water for 20 minutes to take away most of that bite. Substitute a thinly sliced green onion, white and green parts, thinly sliced on diagonal
- ⅓-1/2 block Daiya Smoked Gouda
- 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2-3 tbsp toasted Walnut Oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- Freshly ground Black Pepper
- Arrange the tomato slices neatly on a serving dish.
- Sprinkle the shallots and most of the chopped parsley over top.
- Drizzle with most of the vinegar and walnut oil
- Season generously with salt and pepper
- Grate the Daiya Smoked Gouda over top of the tomatoes
- Top everything with the remaining parsley and a little vinegar and oil