Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vegan Fried Green Tomatoes with Creamy Tomatillo Salsa

...with bonus fried pickles! Monday marked day 2 of vegan week. Here's a reminder. Monday, I ate the following:
  • almond milk yogurt
  • to drink: coffee, seltzer, coke, & water
  • vegan chocolate cake**
  • vegetable pizza*
  • pepita-cranberry snack mix
  • campanelle with garlicky broccoli**
*exempt leftover item that would spoil during vegan week if not eaten
**recipe to follow

This recipe was especially challenging for me. My husband and I had purchased some green tomatoes at the coop before vegan week with the intention of frying them. This was challenging because I had never made fried green tomatoes, and I wasn't sure how to compensate for the egg bath or buttermilk bath I had seen in most fried green tomato recipes.

I used the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que An American Roadhouse for guidance on prepping the tomatoes, but the recipe is my own. I searched online for a vegan buttermilk substitute, and the general consensus is 1 C soy milk with 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar, allowed to sit for 10 mins. The tomatillo recipe comes from Kevin at Closet Cooking, however the adaption into a creamy version is my own. Here we go!

Creamy Tomatillo Sauce (makes about 1 1/2 C--try to make in advance)
  • 3/4 lb tomatillos, husked
  • 2 jalapenos, stemmed and sliced in half longways
  • 1/2 med-large onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice & zest of 1 lime
  •  1/2 C cilantro
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 4 oz soy cream cheese
1. Put the broiler on high. Arrange the tomatillos, jalapenos (skin side up), and onion in a single layer on a baking sheet. 
2. Broil until the jalapenos are darkened, and the tomatillos blackened all over. The tomatillos release a lot of juices, be careful when removing from oven. 
3. In a food processor, place the tomatillos, jalapenos, onions, garlic, lime juice and zest, and cilantro and mix until it's reached the desired consistency. Add a bit of salt and pepper and adjust as needed.
4. Remove half of the tomatillo sauce and save for another recipe. Add the soy cream cheese and pulse til smooth. Refrigerate the sauce until ready to use.

Kitchen Notes: Kevin's original recipe called for 1lb tomatillos. I only had 3/4lb, so I reflected that here. I was concerned that the flavor of the sauce would be very charred tasting, but it isn't. I needed to remove the jalapenos before the tomatillos. I use Tofutti brand Better Than Cream Cheese.

                                                                  Waiting for the oven

                                                             Before Cream Cheese...

                                                             And After!

Vegan Fried Green Tomatoes (serves 3)
  •  3 green tomatoes
  • 3/4 C soy buttermilk (see instructions above)
  • 1/2 C cornmeal
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (or more, or less to taste), plus extra
  • 1 tsp chili powder (or more, or less to taste)
  • pepper to taste
  • peanut oil 
1. Slice the tomatoes into 1/2 in slices. Blot on paper towels to drain and dry out the tomatoes a bit.
2. Begin heating the peanut oil to 350 degrees. You'll need at least 1/2 inch of oil for a 9 inch heavy skillet. Sprinkle a bit of Old Bay seasoning on each slice of tomato, each side. 
3. Mix together the corn meal, Old Bay, chili, and pepper in a large bowl. 
4.. Set up a work station: buttermilk, bread, fry, drain, warm. Dip a slice of tomato in buttermilk, shaking off excess. Next, heavily coat the tomato slice in the corn meal mixture. 
5. Fry the tomato 2-3 mins on each side. Several tomatoes can be cooked at once, but don't crowd the pan. 
6. Drain the tomatoes on a paper towel, and keep warm in low oven. 
7. Continue frying tomatoes, but ensure that oil returns to 350 before adding more. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! 

Kitchen Notes: The Dinosaur Bar B Que cookbook recommends breading the tomatoes then allowing them to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Verdict? Kevin's tomatillo sauce recipe was spot-on, I'll try to never buy commercial salsa verde again. The addition of the soy cream cheese made for an outstanding dip, but without the heaviness of cream based dips. The breading was delightful, but the tomatoes were not very crispy, but they were not soggy either. I'm exciting to make these again.


  1. I love this time of year just so I can have some fried green tomatoes! They are definitely a guilty comfort food; however, it does look like you've taken some of the guilt out of it! There's nothing like the addition of a homemade salsa! Love your salsa verde recipe.

  2. Thanks mjskit! They weren't guilt free, but some of the guilt was alleviated :)