Vegan Protein Salad
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.
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!
- 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Maple Dijon Dressing: Sweet and tangy, just 4 simple ingredients, oil-free.
- Almond Satay Sauce: No blending needed, just a few simple ingredients.
- Tahini Ranch Dressing: Tahini sauce with herbs.
- Lemon Tahini Dressing: Classic lemon tahini sauce.
- Balsamic Dressing: Balsamic vinaigrette with simple ingredients.
- Zesty Italian Dressing: Tangy herb dressing, no blending needed!
- Ginger Peanut Sauce: This one is best blended for a smooth texture.
- Miso Tahini Dressing: Delicious umami tahini dressing with miso paste.
Any of these would be delicious!
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.
- Tempeh: This garlic herb marinated tempeh or almond butter marinated tempeh make a yummy alternative to the balsamic tempeh!
- Tofu: Try this spicy baked tofu, sweet chili tofu or bbq tofu.
- Low-Carb Option: For a lower-carb meal with close to the same amount of protein, omit the chickpeas.
- Roasted Chickpeas: For crunch, try these roasted chickpeas instead of plain chickpeas.
- More Carbs: For a heartier bowl with more carbohydrates, add up to 1/2 cup roasted butternut squash, roasted sweet potato or a grain like brown rice or quinoa.
- Cauliflower: Try roasted cauliflower instead of or in addition to the broccoli. You could also add this buffalo cauliflower or burrito-style cauliflower.
- Additional Veggies: Other veggies that work well in this salad a are roasted Brussels sprouts, grated carrot, snap peas, red or green cabbage, green beans, tomato or radish.
- Additional Texture & Flavour: Experiment with bold ingredients like dried cranberries, capers, marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, pickled red onion or olives.
- Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
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.
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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!
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
- one 350 g block firm or extra-firm tofu
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- pinch of salt and pepper
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 (1–2 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.