Vegan Chicken Salad Recipe

This Easy Vegan Chicken Salad recipe is fun to make and reminiscent of the dish you’ve enjoyed for years…except this one is made without meat or dairy! Vegetarian Chicken Salad recipes offer lots of flavor, healthy protein, and creaminess serve on sandwiches, salads, and more! Vegan Chicken Salad recipes are a great way to satisfy hungry appetites!

A vegan chicken salad sandwich sits in the foreground with ingredients behind it.
Serve your vegan chicken salad sandwich recipe on a bun with sliced green apples!

Cooking with Tempeh

Nothing says a basic veggie chicken salad recipe like tempeh. “Tempeh?” you say. Yes, Tempeh.

If you don’t know what it is, let alone how to pronounce it, here’s a little guide. Tempeh, pronounced TEM-pay, is basically fermented soybeans.

You can find Tempeh in the same area of your grocery store as tofu.

Nutritionally, tempeh packs a powerful nutritional punch: as much as 18 g of cholesterol-lowering protein per serving, riboflavin, magnesium, manganese and copper, and (saving the best for last) the fiber in tempeh binds to fat and cholesterol in the other foods you eat so less is absorbed.

Tempeh is like tofu in that it takes on the flavor of what it’s cooked with. You can marinade it, grill it, and then slice and serve over a salad for a yummy, protein-packed dinner.

Let’s begin with a quick trip to the grocery store.

I sometimes have a hard time staying focused in a section like this, but we try to stick to the shopping list.

How to Make Vegan Chicken Salad

Here are the steps to make this vegan best Chicken Salad recipe! When you get your tempeh home, remove it from the package and chop it up. Here’s what that can look like:

A block of tempeh on a cutting board next to a knife.

Place the tempeh on a cutting board.

We are going to steam the tempeh, but for this recipe, first it needs to be cut into cubes.

Tempeh chopped into cubes sitting next to a knife on a cutting board.

You can always break these cubes into a smaller pieces, but for now, nice large cubes will work just fine.

Tempeh cubes in a steaming basket.

After chopping the tempeh into cubes, drop them in a steaming basket over a saucepan. Then I steam the tempeh for about 15 – 20 minutes. This helps the tempeh to soften and bind together (and not become crumbly).

What are the Ingredients in Chicken Salad?

You’re going to love the combination of flavors in this vegan sandwich recipe. Let’s start with the meatless chicken salad ingredients!

It has everything from granny smith apples to carrots and craisins!

While your tempeh is steaming, chop the rest of your ingredients, like the celery, carrots, and green onion, into a bowl.

Other ingredients for this vegan chicken salad, like celery and green onions, sit on a cutting board.

This is an important step because, well, you’ll see in the next photo.

All the other ingredients are chopped and in a bowl.

Once the tempeh is steamed, use tongs to place the hot tempeh in the bowl with your chopped ingredients. That way the heat from the tempeh will gently cook and soften things like carrots and green onions.

You’ll still get a nice crunch from the fresh veggies, but not too much.

Freshly steamed tempeh cubes added to the bowl with the other ingredients.
Faux chicken salad is made using cubed tempeh.

Finally, stir the ingredients for the sauce. We want that tempeh well-coated so it can take on the flavors of everything around it.

Then once the tempeh has cooled enough, simply pour the sauce over and stir. I like to Salt and pepper to a desired taste. Serve this over greens or on toasted buns as a sandwich!

A pink hued sauce in a glass bow.
The sauce for unchicken salad is pink because it includes berry preserves.

Vegetarian Chicken Salad

This is basically a chickenless chicken salad recipe that can be used as a spread for sandwiches. You can also serve this vegan mock chicken salad recipe over a bed of greens or with crackers.

We love a good vegetarian chicken salad sandwich. Of course, you’ll also want to try our vegan lentil burgers recipe. It’s gluten-free and so easy to make! We love it!

Also, we have a delicious Vegan Egg Salad recipe too! I know. How can an egg salad sandwich be vegan? Trust me, you won’t miss eggs or dairy at all in that veg salad sandwich recipe! Even my mom, who has eaten egg salads her entire life, really loved this recipe!

If you’d like to try something different make tofu chicken salad by using pressed cubed tofu in place of the tempeh. Alternatively, you can make jackfruit chicken salad by using jackfruit in place of tempeh too!

Vegan chicken salad is piled high over greens and sliced green apples.

That’s it for this fake chicken salad recipe!

I hope you love this recipe for vegan chicken salad as much as we do! If you make it, be sure and snap a photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. We love seeing your photos!

A vegan chicken salad sandwich sits in the foreground with ingredients behind it.

Vegan Chicken Salad

Enjoy this vegan chicken salad on a sandwich with greens and sliced green apples, or serve it on a bed of greens. You’ll love the creamy, sweet flavor!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Chicken Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 232kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

  • 8 oz tempeh
  • ½ Granny Smith apple , diced
  • 1 carrots , diced
  • 1 stalk celery , finely chopped
  • ¼ cup green onions , diced
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry raisins
  • ¼ cup walnuts chopped
  • cup dairy-free mayo
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons berry preserves (Strawberry, plums, raspberries)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Remove tempeh from package. Cut into cubes. Steam tempeh in a covered steamer basket for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until tender. 
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl add apples, celery, carrots, onions, dried cranberries, and walnuts and mix well. 
  • Once the tempeh is done steaming, carefully remove steaming basket from pan, drain any excess liquid and dump hot tempeh cubes into the bowl with the apple mixture. The hot tempeh will help soften these ingredients. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl combine mayo, vinegar, and preserves.
  • Add mayo mixture to cooled tempeh and season with salt and pepper.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Chicken Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 232 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Sodium 84mg4%
Potassium 237mg7%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 1740IU35%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 53mg5%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Enjoy!

19 Responses to Vegan Chicken Salad Recipe

  1. Okay Marly where were you when my niece V was living with me years ago. She was vegan and I always had such a difficult time cooking for her. Could’ve used your wonderful recipes, I always felt like I was starving her.

    • I wish I knew you then too! I’ll do my best to make up for lost time, especially with this vegetarian chicken salad sandwich recipe!

  2. Marly,
    What a wonderful recipe. I just made a “real” chicken salad for a friend’s bridal shower, and I wanted so badly to make a vegan/vegetarian adaptation so I could enjoy a bit. This looks great, and I’m excited to give it a try. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Marly, I want to thank you for not only offering further info on what and how to use Tempeh…but also for the encouragement to want to eat it. I’m still experimenting with tofu. Just yesterday I found the nutritional yeast you’ve spoke of in the past. Now, I will slowly discover if this suits my palate. One step at the time ;o)
    Thanks for your experience on another way of eating.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

    • There are so many options for vegetarian eating and ways to tweak recipes to make them so much more enjoyable! When I first went vegetarian it seemed like I just ate veggie burgers all the time. I knew I wanted to add more interesting dishes, but just was a little afraid to try them. Tempeh seemed to me like it might as well have come from the moon or something. But once you try it once, you will want it again and again. It has a really great texture. Glad you found the nutritional yeast flakes. Isn’t it fun trying new things?

  4. I love to learn new things and your blog helped that happen today. I am a meat eater but am trying to cut way back. Blogs such as yours are enormously helpful. I spent some time reading your earlier posts and really enjoyed my visit. I’ll be back often. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

    • Ahh, you have made my blogging day! It can seem insurmountable to change a diet all in one swoop. However, taking steps here in there – maybe designating one day a week as vegetarian to start – can make a big difference. Thanks for the well wishings and I hope the same for you too!

  5. Oh Marly, you are so good at posting interesting recipes. I love this, and I’m going to the Asian market in a minute. I’ll see if they have tempeh. If not, I get it at the health food store and make this. Sounds so good.
    p.s.-beets are my precious. Trixie hobbits!

    • I had a feeling you might be another beetster. You want to know my favorite, cost-saving tip? I buy a jar of fancy beets…the more expensive variety (at our store they’re usually about $2 per jar). But at the same time I buy about 3 (less expensive) cans of beets (usually about .70 cents per can). The juice from the jar of beets is still leftover even after I’ve eaten the beets so I just transfer the beets from the can into the left-over juice of the jar. I let them sit in the juice for about a day and they take on the yummy flavor. The canned beets have juice too, I know. But it’s not quite as tasty as the ones in the jar. So, voila! I have tasty beets at a fraction of the cost!

    • Are you another beet lover too? I used to hate them when I was a kid, but I have since been converted!

    • Hi Anna. Definitely! In fact, I think the flavors intensify a little as it sits in the fridge overnight.

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