Who doesn’t deserve a vacation!? I probably don’t, but I’m sure there are a lot of you out there that do. And since spring break is right around the corner, I thought I would take y’all on a trip to Hawaii right in your own kitchens.
Living in Las Vegas, we are spoiled with a number of awesome Hawaiian restaurants, but none of them have any legit vegan options. So, what’s a guy to do when he gets a craving for his favorite restaurant foods that he can’t order at a restaurant? He makes it for himself.
Inspired by a “Local Plate”, I have come up incredible vegan versions of my favorite Hawaiian restaurant foods: Kalua Jackfruit, Mac Salad, and Tofu Musubi.
I’ve portioned out these recipes for two people, but all of the recipes can easily be doubled or quadrupled to feed a crowd.
My take on a veganized Hawaiian “Local” Plate Lunch
- Hawaiian Style Vegan Mac Salad (recipe below)
- Kalua Jackfruit (recipe below)
- Tofu Musubi (recipe below)
- Short or medium grain white rice (recipe below)
Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Allow it to soak overnight in filtered water. If you can, replace the water at least once. Doing this will help to tame down some of the “briney” flavor.
Make the Hawaiian Style Vegan Mac Salad
To make me feel like I’m eating at my favorite non-vegan Hawaiian restaurant here in Las Vegas, I use a large ice cream of cookie scoop to serve up the components of this flavorful plate lunch. I add one or two scoops of warm white rice to a plate, along with a serving of Kalua Jackfruit, a generous scoop of Hawaiian style Mac Salad, and two tofu musubi.
This is a vegan version, inspired by a traditional Hawaiian style macaroni salad.
- 4 ounces dry elbow macaroni, or noodle of choice*
- 1 to 2 tablespoons grated sweet or yellow onion
- 1/2 medium-sized carrot, grated
- 1/2 cup (104g) vegan mayonnaise. I prefer Vegenaise (or more to taste)
- 1 heaping tablespoons sweet pickle relish (liquid included)
- salt and ground pepper to taste
Cook your macaroni in salted water, according to package directions.
While he macaroni cooks, combine the other ingredients in the bowl you plan on storing your mac salad in.
Drain and rinse your macaroni with cold water. Add to the macaroni to the mayo mixture. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but overnight is best.
*The recipe will be gluten free if you use a gluten free noodle.
A vegan version of traditional Hawaiian Kalua Pork, but made with jackfruit.
- 1 (20 ounce) can young jackfruit in brine, soaked in filtered water overnight*
- 3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos** or tamari (low sodium)
- 3 tablespoons pineapple juice
- 2 to 3 dashes liquid smoke
- black pepper and salt to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Drain and rinse your jackfruit, and allow it to soak in filtered water overnight.
Before cooking, drain the water, and pat the jackfruit pieces completely dry. To a pan on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and your jackfruit pieces. Sear the jackfruit on all sides until golden brown. Remove the jackfruit to a heatproof bowl, and cover with a lid. Allow the jackfruit to rest until it is cool enough to handle. Combine the Liquid Aminos, pineapple juice, and liquid smoke.
Heat your oven to 450 degrees F.
Using your hands, shred the jackfruit into a loaf pan, or small glass baking dish. Add the liquid amino mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and toss to coat.
Bake the jackfruit at 450 for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is browned on top. Toss with tongs, and then return to the oven until golden on top, and there are a few charred or crispy bits.
Toss and serve warm or at room termperature.
*If you have the time, I would even suggest soaking the jackfruit for a couple of days to draw out even more of the brine. Just swap out the water each day to help with the process.
**Using Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or tamari makes this dish gluten free.
A vegan take Hawaiian Spam musubi.
- 4 slices (1/4 to 1/2 inch think) firm or super firm tofu about ¼ inch thick
- 3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos* or tamari
- 2 tablespoon agave syrup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups cooked rice short grain rice (Instant Pot instructions below)
- 2 tablespoons seasoned sushi vinegar
Slice your tofu into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick rectangles. Allow the tofu slices to dry between two towels for about 10 minutes.
Bring a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron pant to medium heat. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Sear the tofu on each side until crispy and golden brown.
In a shallow dish, combine the Bragg’s and agave syrup. Add the seared tofu to the dish, and allow them to soak up the mixture, flipping at least once, for about 5 minutes. Return the pan to medium to medium-high heat, and sear the marinated tofu again, until caramelized.
Combine the seasoned sushi vinegar with 2 cups of cooked short grain rice, and toss until evenly coated.
To assemble, cut 2 sheets of nori in half lengthwise. Place one 1/2 sheet of nori on your work surface, and brush the center with a bit of the Bragg’s and agave marinade. Add a rectangle of tofu to the center, perpendicular to the nori sheet. Add 1/2 cup seasoned sushi rice to the top of the tofu. Brush the rice with a bit of marinade, and fold one side of the nori over onto the rice. Brush marinade onto the top, and then fold the second side over. Try your best to get the rice into the nori wrap, and seal the 2 sides of the nori together. Flip the musubi over so that the tofu side is on top. Serve at room temperature.
The fastest way to make perfectly cooked white rice.
- 2 cups short or medium grain white rice
- 2 cups filtered water
Rinse your rice thoroughly. Add your rinsed rice to the Instant Pot, along with an equal amount of water. Set the Instant Pot for 4 minutes on high pressure. When the time is up, unplug the Instant Pot and let it naturally release for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a rice paddle.