This healthy vegan protein salad features high-protein ingredients such as tofu, tempeh, chickpeas and hemp seeds and is easy to make for a delicious plant-based meal.

A bowl of salad with arugula, avocado, cucumber, tofu and tempeh. Slice of lemon in background.

This vegetarian high-protein salad recipe is packed with flavor, texture and nutrition! The protein comes from the tofu, tempeh, chickpeas and hemp seeds, and broccoli, avocado, arugula and cucumber to fill out the salad.

If you’re looking for a satisfying vegan meal that’s grain-free, high in protein, high in fiber and sure to keep you full for hours, this meal-sized salad is a great choice!

Recipe Features

  • High-Protein: This meal provides 31 grams of plant-based protein alongside 13 grams of fiber.
  • Dietary Features: This recipe is vegan, nut-free, oil-free and can be made gluten-free.
  • Customizable: Easy to customize with different veggies, dressings and proteins.
  • Meal Prep-Friendly: This recipe works well for a healthy meal prep idea.

Ingredient Notes

Labelled ingredients in bowls for making a vegan high-protein salad bowl.

Full ingredient list and amounts is located in the recipe card below. Here are a few helpful notes regarding specific ingredients:

  • Tempeh: Since we’re adding a marinade, plain tempeh is best though if you prefer you can use your favourite prepared packaged tempeh instead of adding your own marinade
  • Tofu: Use firm or extra-firm are all suitable. If you don’t have both tofu and tempeh, you can double one or the other.
  • Chickpeas: Canned or home cooked both work great, any other bean or lentil would work here if you don’t have chickpeas. I’d suggest cooked green lentils, white kidney beans or black beans. Edamame would also work well.
  • Hemp Seeds: Swap for sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds) but hemp seeds provide the most protein. Pecans, almonds or walnuts also work well.
  • Arugula: Substitute any green such as spinach, baby spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc. If you’re using kale, I’d suggest massaging it with a little olive oil to soften.
  • Maple Syrup: Honey (not vegan) or agave syrup are suitable substitutes.
  • Soy Sauce: Use gluten-free tamari if you need the recipe to be gluten-free.
  • Avocado: Optional but delicious!

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1. Start with the tempeh and tofu.

It’s optional to press the tofu and marinate the tempeh for 20-30 minutes before baking. If you don’t have time, you can skip it or just do as long as you have time for.

To make the tempeh, cube it and mix it with the marinade ingredients. If marinating, let is sit for 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally. In the meantime, add the block to tofu to tofu press or fold it between a dish cloth and place a heavy object on it.

Cubed tempeh mixed in a small bowl with marinade.

When you’re ready to bake, cube the tofu and mix it with the soy sauce (or tamari), garlic powder and and a pinch of pepper.

Quick Tip: Add 1 tbsp cornstarch to the the tofu mixture for a crispy baked finish!

Cubed tofu mixed in a bowl with a soy sauce marinade.

Transfer the tofu and tempeh cubes to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for about 30 minutes until browned. The tofu will get crispy and the tempeh will have a browned but gooey coating.

Cubed and baked tofu and tempeh on a baking pan.

Step 3. Prepare the rest of the ingredients.

If using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them. I used 1/4 cup chickpeas per serving (1 cup total) but you can use more or less to suit your nutritional needs. There’s about 1.5 cups in 15 oz can, so if you want to use them all up, go ahead and use the whole can.

Chop up the cucumber and broccoli and gather your greens and hemp seeds.

Chickpeas, hemp seeds, avocado, arugula and broccoli on a counter.

Quick Tip: I prefer to lightly steam the broccoli rather than leave it raw. To steam, bring water to a boil stovetop then use a steamer basket to steam the broccoli for 5 minutes.

Steamed broccoli in a steamer basket in a pan.

Dressing Options

Now you have the option to prepare a salad dressing of choice or just use some tahini and lemon to top your salad. Here are my recommendations for dressings:

Any of these would be delicious!

Bowl of creamy lemon tahini sauce on a marble surface.

Time to assemble your salad! Prepare 4 bowls and start with a handful of greens, then divide the rest of the ingredients evenly between servings.

Drizzle each with tahini, hot sauce and lemon, or a salad dressing of choice.

Quick Note: I prefer to assemble each serving separately so the ingredients are evenly divided but you can also just mix everything up in a large bowl and serve from there.

Adding a spoonful of tahini to a bowl of chickpea, broccoli, tofu, cucumber and tempeh salad.

Variations

Overhead view of a green protein salad with tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, cucumber, broccoli and tahini.

Topping Ideas

For an extra pop of flavour and texture, try any of these sprinkled or drizzled over your salad:

Squeezing lemon over a bowl of green salad with tofu, tempeh and chickpeas.

Storing & Meal Prep

  • Meal Prep Tip: Add greens last so they’re on top or keep them to the side to prevent them from getting soggy. You’ll also want to leave the avocado off until you’re ready to eat your salad.
  • The assembled salads can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
  • It’s recommended to store the dressing separately and leave the avocado off until just before serving.
  • Let the tofu and tempeh cool before sealing and storing.
  • Tofu and tempeh can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored in a sealed container in the fridge.
  • Cucumber and broccoli can be chopped and stored ahead of time for quicker assembly.
A bowl of salad with arugula, avocado, cucumber, tofu and tempeh. Slice of lemon in background.

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A bowl of salad with arugula, avocado, cucumber, tofu and tempeh. Slice of lemon in background.

Vegan Protein Salad

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This high-protein vegan salad packs in 30 g of plant-based protein along with 14 g of fibre for a nourishing and satisfying meal!


Ingredients

Scale

For the Marinated Tempeh

  • one block of tempeh, cubed (approx. 250 g)
  • 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

For the Baked Tofu

For the Salad 

  • 4 cups chopped and lightly steamed broccoli
  • 4 cups or big handful of fresh arugula, spinach or mixed salad greens
  • 2 cups diced cucumber
  • 8 tbsp hemp seeds (12 tbsp per salad)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • tahini for drizzling over top or 1 batch maple dijon dressing or lemon tahini dressing
  • fresh lemon, for serving
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Bake the Tempeh: To make the marinated tempeh, mix the marinade ingredients together in shallow dish then add the cubed tempeh. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Option to press the tofu during this time. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Once it’s baked, spoon any remaining marinade over the cubes. 
  2. Bake Tofu: To make the baked tofu, toss the cubed tofu with the soy sauce, garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer to a parchment-paper lined baking pan and bake at 400 F for 20-30 minutes until browed. You can bake it at the same time as the tempeh.
  3. Steam Broccoli: You can leave the broccoli raw but it’s suggested to steam it. Bring water to a boil then add the broccoli in a steamer basked, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Assemble Salads: Prepare 4 bowls with a handful of arugula or other greens of choice. Divide the rest of the ingredients between the 4 servings. Drizzle each with tahini and lemon or a dressing of choice and enjoy.

Notes

If you’re making for meal prep, add the greens last or to the side to they don’t get soggy. Leave the avocado and any dressing off until just before serving.

Dressing Options: Maple Dijon Dressing, Miso Tahini Dressing, Almond Satay Sauce, Ginger Peanut Sauce, Balsamic Dressing.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 596
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Fat: 37 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43 g
  • Fiber: 14 g
  • Protein: 31 g

Keywords: vegan protein salad, vegan high-protein recipes, vegan tempeh salad

Update Note: Originally published August 24, 2018.