This easy vegan chicken salad features tempeh cubes smothered in a flavorful, creamy mayo sauce. It’s a healthy protein option and it’s perfect to serve on sandwiches, salads, and more!
I love a good sandwich spread. That’s why I made these vegan tuna melt sandwiches. But this vegan chicken salad is another go-to favorite, especially in the spring and summer. It’s easy to make and it’s great to be able to throw together a sandwich or to add it to a salad at any last-minute meals.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Tempeh has great texture and adds plant-based protein to this sandwich spread
- Using green onions adds subtle onion flavor without overpowering this dish
- Adding berry preserves gives it a slightly pink color while also adding a hint of flavor and sweetness.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Tempeh — You’ll need an 8-ounce block of tempeh. You can substitute tempeh with vegan chicken which is easy to make and has great flavor and texture.
- Apple — I prefer using a Granny Smith Apple, but any apple will do.
- Carrot — You’ll want one carrot.
- Celery — We’ll be using one stalk of celery. I like the texture that celery adds to this recipe, but you can substitute celery seeds.
- Green onions
- Dried cranberries — These are also referred to as craisins. They add color and flavor. You can substitute regular or golden raisins.
- Walnuts — A few chopped walnuts will do the trick here.
- Dairy-free mayo — I oftentimes will use Hellman’s Vegan Mayo, or you can substitute cashew cream (I find I need to use a bit more cashew cream to get the same consistency as mayo).
- Vinegar — Use either white vinegar or white wine vinegar.
- Berry preserves — Either strawberry, plums, or raspberries jam will add a hint of flavor and sweetness.
- Salt & pepper — Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Where to Buy Tempeh
Tempeh is cultured soybeans that comes in a rectangle or square block. You can usually find it in the refrigerated sections of health food stores, near the tofu. Some grocery store chains will sell it in their health food sections or produce aisles.
How to Make Vegan Chicken Salad
- Prepare the tempeh by removing it from the package, and cutting it into cubes.
- Steam the tempeh in a covered steamer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the chopped apples, celery, carrots, onions, craisins, and walnuts to a bowl.
- Once the tempeh is done steaming, carefully dump hot tempeh cubes into the bowl with the apple mixture. Cover and set aside.
- Make the mayo sauce by stirring together the vegan mayo, vinegar, and berry preserves.
- Add the mayo sauce to cooled tempeh and season with salt and pepper.
Here is a step-by-step guide to making this recipe:
Step One: Prepare the Tempeh
We are going to steam the tempeh, but for this recipe, first it needs to be cut into cubes.
You can always break these cubes into smaller pieces, but for now, nice large cubes will work just fine.
Step Two: Steam the Tempeh
Drop the tempeh cubes in a steaming basket over a saucepan with simmering water. Steam the tempeh for 15 to 20 minutes. This helps the tempeh to soften and bind together (and not become crumbly).
Step Three: Chop Vegetables
While the tempeh is steaming, chop the rest of your ingredients, like the celery, carrots, and green onion, into a bowl.
Use a lidded bowl to make storage simple and easy. Otherwise, you’ll need to transfer the finished salad spread to a lidded bowl for storage.
This is an important step because, well, you’ll see in the next photo.
Step Four: Add Steamed Tempeh
Once the tempeh is steamed, dump the steamed tempeh (or use tongs) in the bowl with your chopped ingredients. The heat from the tempeh will gently soften things like carrots and green onions.
You’ll still get a nice crunch from the fresh veggies, but not as much.
Step Five: Make the Mayo Sauce
Stir the ingredients for the sauce together. We want that tempeh well-coated so it can take on the flavors of everything around it.
Step Six: Add Sauce to Tempeh
Once the tempeh has cooled enough, pour the sauce over and stir. I like to salt and pepper to the desired taste.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
I like to serve vegan chicken salad over greens or on toasted buns as a sandwich.
Store any unused portions in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Cooking with 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 cultured soybeans.
Nutritionally, tempeh packs a powerful punch. Here are some of the nutritional elements found in tempeh:
- Protein (roughly 18 g of protein per serving)
Tempeh is like tofu in that it takes on the flavor of what it’s cooked with. You can marinate it, grill it, and then slice and serve over a salad for a yummy, protein-packed dinner.
You can find tempeh near the tofu.
More Vegan Sandwiches
That’s it for this vegan chicken salad recipe!
Vegan Chicken Salad
- 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
- ⅓ cup dairy-free mayo
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons berry preserves (Strawberry, plums, raspberries)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Remove tempeh from the package. Cut into cubes. Steam tempeh in a covered steamer basket for about 15 to 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 the steaming basket from the 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.
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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.
This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.