It’s been a while since last time I posted a local Italian recipe, and here am I today!
This is a traditional Pugliese dish, known in fact as “Cialda Pugliese” or “Cialda Barese”.
It is a summery frugal dish traditionally cooked by peasants starring a bunch of humble ingredients available in the fields: potatoes (boiled), tomatoes, cucumber and onions, that are chopped and seasoned with salt, olive oil and herbs.
The dish has been enriched later on with other elements available in the pantries, such as canned tuna or beef.
The version I’m sharing with you today would be my vegan take on this humble dish, not specifically traditional, yet enriched with ingredients to transform this salad from a simple side dish to a nutritious tasty main easy to assemble.
Following my few little tips will allow you to prepare and enjoy this dish even during hot summer days, as you won’t be creating any extra heat in your kitchen.
Let’s then see how to prep this Italian-style potato salad, shall we?
Tips and steps
First thing we need to do to prepare this hearty salad is to peal and wash the potatoes.
Note: Even though I keep the potato skin all the time to get extra nutrients, to make this salad I usually remove it, but only for aesthetic reason, especially if I plan to serve it to my guests. Feel free to keep it for extra texture and nutrients.
Then we have to chop the potatoes into as regular as possible cube chunks.
Next we transfer the potato chunks into a glass bowl or microwave friendly dish with 1 inch of water. We cover the bowl with some film and then we pierce the film with a fork a few times.
This method will allow to equally cook the potatoes while allowing the steam out.
Then we microwave the potatoes for 8 minutes at 800W. Rest time: 4-5 minutes.
Once the potatoes are cooked, we need to drain them to remove the extra water and allow to cool completely (better if next to a window).
Using the microwave to “boil” the potatoes not only will cut cooking time by a lot, but also it will create less steam in the house, and consequently it won’t add extra heat in your kitchen.
This is why I use the microwave a lot during summer: it’s the perfect ally for those that still want to enjoy a homecooked meal in the heat, without producing too much heat!
While the potatoes are cooking/cooling, we can move up to prep the veggies.
After giving a little wash, chop both the cucumber and the salad tomatoes into cubes, and finely slice the red onion.
We are going to enrich this potato salad with some steamed peas and cubed tofu.
I steam the peas for 2:30 minutes in the microwave at 800W if frozen, and for only 1 minute if they’re fresh, before combining with the rest of the salad.
Choose a good quality tofu for this recipe, as we are going to use it raw (if you’re not a fan of raw tofu feel free to fry or oven bake it).
Since going vegan (and even before, when I was a veggie) I tried tons of different tofus and brands, and I’m currently in love with a brand from the UK, that doesn’t even need to be pressed!
This is a very firm tofu, ideal for this recipe. And the version I used is the naked one, which basically is the plain tofu.
If you don’t live in the UK or you cannot find any already pressed extra firm tofu, don’t worry! All you will need to do is to grab a block of tofu (the firmer, the better!) and press it for a few minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
Assembling the Potato Salad
Now that all our components are ready, we only need to combine them together, season with a good quality extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and a pinch of salt.
I also like to add some capers and oregano for an extra kick.
You can prepare this potato salad in advace and it can be stored in the fridge up to 2 days.
For best result refrigerate the potato salad for at least 30 minutes-1 hour before serving it.
Tip: if you’re planning to prepare this salad in advance I advice you to add the salt only before serving it, as it can go soggy after adding it.
The quantities of this recipe yield 4 side servings of less than 300 kcal each or 3-2 if you’re planning to have it as a main.
This final product is naturally gluten-free and rich on vitamin C, iron, calcium and proteins (almost 20 g per portion if consumed as a main!).
Hope you enjoy this summery idea, if you do so please let me know with a comment in the section below or tag @avegtastefromatoz or #aVegTasteFromAtoZ both on Instagram or Facebook.
If you’d love to discover other flavours from my native town, I so far have shared the recipe of the absolute classic Focaccia Barese, the typical Parmigiana di Melanzane, the amazing Braciole and the mouthwatering Potato and Rice Bake.
If you have any request or question feel free to get in touch with me using the contact form section.
And if you like my recipes don’t forget to register your email to receive updates when a new recipe is available on the blog 🙂
Now I’ll leave you with the full recipe and method, have a nice day!
Italian-Style Potato Salad Recipe
500 gr Baking Potatoes
1 cup Tofu
1/2 cup Peas
3 Salad Tomatoes
1/2 English Cucumber
1 Red Onion
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 tbsp Capers
1 tbsp Oregano
1. Wash, peal and cube the potatoes. Arrange into a microwave friendly bowl, cover with film pierced a few times with a fork and microwave for 8 minutes at 800W. Allow to rest for an extra 4 minutes before draining the potatoes. Let it cool completely.
2. Steam the peas in the microvawe for 2:30 minutes if frozen or for only 1 minute if using fresh ones (800W).
3. Chop the tofu, the salad tomatoes, the cucumber and the red onion.
4. Transfer potatoes, tofu, tomatoes, cucumber and onion to a bowl, add the capers and the oregano, and season with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.