Vegan Protein Salad
This healthy vegan protein salad features high-protein plant-based foods such as tofu, tempeh, chickpeas and hemp seeds alongside arugula, tahini, cucumber and avocado. It’s protein-rich, high in fibre, gluten-free, easy to make and full of amazing flavour and texture. The protein and fibre in this delicious bowl make it a filling option for a plant-based lunch or dinner.
Vegan Protein Sources
Even though I don’t think the “where do you get your protein” question is really necessary, I still like to provide options for boosting the protein in a plant-based diet. Especially for those of you that are athletes.
If you eat a well-balanced, healthy, whole food plant-based diet, you will get enough protein by default. Almost all plant foods have some protein and it can really add up throughout the day. You can read more about this in my vegan protein sources post and vegan nutrition guide.
This high-protein salad bowl will help you knock off 40 grams of your daily protein and amino acid requirements in one healthy and delicious meal. You’ll also be getting 24 grams of dietary fibre making this salad a heart-loving and digestion-promoting super star!
The vegan protein sources in this salad are:
- Tofu. Adds in 8 grams of protein plus calcium, zinc, iron, manganese, phosphorus and copper. I used firm tofu but medium or extra-firm are both fine. You can read my guide to tofu and tempeh for more info on the health benefits of tofu and tempeh.
- Tempeh. Adds 16 grams of protein plus many of the same minerals and vitamins as tofu. Tempeh is also a fermented food meaning it contains gut-friendly probiotics.
- Hemp seeds. Adds 6 grams of protein plus omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamin E, iron and B vitamins.
- Chickpeas. Adds 6 grams of protein plus folate, dietary fibre, magnesium and iron.
Protein Salad Bowl Ingredients
- Cucumber. Cucmbers are an excellent source of silica, a trace mineral that contributes to the strength of connective tissue. It’s also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid and is hydrating thanks to it’s high water content. Include the skin for a source of fibre.
- Tahini. Tahini is simply ground sesame seeds. I love it’s flavour and the calcium and iron it adds to my diet. My favourite tahini is from Arz Fine Foods, it’s ultra creamy and drippy making it perfect for salads. If your tahini is thicker and not as runny, I’d recommend making a version of tahini dressing such as my lime tahini sauce, maple tahini sauce or lemon tahini sauce.
- Avocado. You gotta go with avocado for the ultimate salad. Avocado is high in monosaturates (unsaturated fatty acids like what you’d find in olives), providing oleic and linoleic acid, which mau help lower cholesterol levels.
- Arugula. Arugula is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, magnesium, manganese and calcium. Like other cruciferous veggies. Arugula contains a group of anti-cancer compounds know as glucosinolates which exert antioxidant activity and stimulate natural detoxifying compounds in the body.
- Broccoli. This cruciferous veggie actually adds even more protein along with it’s rich antioxidant, folate and vitamin K content.
I also topped it with a generous squeeze of lemon, sea salt and pepper. Some hot sauce on there would be yummy if you want a little spice. If you wan to stretch the tahini a little further, I’d recommend whisking up my lemon tahini sauce rather than just using straight tahini.
How to Make Marinated Tempeh
I actually really love the flavour and texture of plain tempeh. It’s nutty, chewy, nutritious and delicious. I’ll often just pan-fry plain tempeh in a pan, like I did for my vegan tempeh tacos or I’ll crumble it on to salads or add it to soups and stews. For the salad bowl, I went the extra mile and made mainrated tempeh. Marinated tempeh is really easy to make and can be baked or pan-fried after it soaks up all the yummy marinated flavour.
For the simple balsamic maple marinated, I used balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, garlic powder and soy sauce. See, so easy! Just mix those ingredients together in a shallow dish, then add cubed tempeh and let marinade for 2 hours up to overnight. Once it’s done, bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes until browned. You can pour a little extra marinated over it once it’s baked.
Vegan Protein Salad Bowl
Alright, let’s put all this together. Start with some arugula or another green of choice, top with diced cucumber, a nice hunk of avocado, some chickpeas and steamed broccoli (I forgot this in the pictures..oops), then top with the baked tofu and tempeh, a generous sprinkle of hemp seeds, drizzle with tahini and lots of fresh lemon juice and finish off with some good quality sea salt. So good. I also added a little sprinkle of nutritional yeast and sesame seeds.
This salad works well for a savoury breakfast or filling lunch or dinner and the ingredients can be made ahead of time for quick assembly.
This is quite a large, filling dish. For a lower calorie, lighter salad, only use half a serving each of tofu and tempeh, reduce the amount of avocado and/or hemp seeds and make a tahini dressing instead of using straight tahini.
More Healthy Salad Recipes
If you’re loving this healthy salad, you might like these ones too:
Quinoa Avocado Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette // Roasted Chickpea Avocado Salad // Pad Thai Vegetable Noodle Salad // Vegan Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl // Mediterranean Farro Salad Bowls // Vegan Roasted Beet Salad // Roasted Squash Salad // Vegan Kale Caesar SaladPrint
For the Marinated Tempeh
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- pinch of salt and pepper
- one block of tempeh, cubed
For the Baked Tofu
For the Salad (per salad)
- To make the marinated tempeh, mix the marinade ingredients together in shallow dish then add the cubed tempeh. Let sit for 2 hours up to overnight then bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes on a baking tray either sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lined with a silicone baking mat. Once it’s baked you can toss with a bit of the leftover marinade.
- To make the baked tofu, toss the cubed tofu with the rest of the ingredients and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until browed. You can bake it at the same time as the tempeh.
- To assemble the salad, add all of the salad ingredients along with baked tofu and tempeh to a bowl. Top with the tahini and finish with a spritz of fresh lemon juice and sea salt and enjoy.
The marinated tempeh and tofu make enough for 4 salads, adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly.
For a lower-carb salad, omit the chickpeas.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 619
- Sugar: 6 g
- Fat: 33 g
- Carbohydrates: 49 g
- Fiber: 24 g
- Protein: 40 g