Vegan Chicken Salad

This vegan chicken salad is easy to make and reminiscent of the recipe you’ve enjoyed for years…except this one is made without meat or dairy! But don’t worry, there’s lots of flavor, healthy protein, and creaminess to keep you coming back for more!

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

Cooking with Tempeh

Nothing says chicken salad 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.

Did I lose you? Stay with me on this because it will be worth it in the end.

You can find Tempeh in the same area of your grocery store as tofu. It’s the one soy-based product that didn’t originate in either China or Japan. All credit goes to Indonesia for this tasty little creation. And 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. Does that need repeating? Eating tempeh can help your body absorb less fat. That alone may be reason to try this recipe.

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. Or you can try my favorite way to serve it, Chic Chick Salad.

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

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.

A block of tempeh waiting to be chopped.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.
Tempeh chopped into cubes.

Karate Kid has nothing on me!

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.
Tempeh cubes in a steaming basket.

After chopping the tempeh into cubes, I 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.

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.
Other ingredients, like celery and green onions, waiting to be chopped.

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. Why? Because 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.
Freshly steamed tempeh cubes added to the bowl with the other ingredients.

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.
A sauce is made from vegan mayo and berry jam.

This vegan chicken salad is another one of our family favorite recipes! We eat this as a sandwich on toasted wheat buns. I love to serve it with sliced green apples for added sweetness and flavor.

We love a good vegan sandwich. For example, you’ll 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 sandwich. I know. How can an egg salad sandwich be vegan? Trust me, you won’t miss eggs or dairy at all in this recipe! Even my mom, who has eaten egg salads her entire life, really loved this recipe!

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

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!

5 from 2 votes
A vegan chicken salad sandwich sits in the foreground with ingredients behind it.
Vegan Chicken Salad
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
This vegan chicken salad is easy to make and reminiscent of the recipe you've enjoyed for years...except this one is made without meat or dairy! But don't worry, there's lots of flavor, healthy protein, and creaminess to keep you coming back for more!
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Chicken Salad
Servings: 6
Calories: 232 kcal
Author: Marly
  • 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
  1. Remove tempeh from package. Cut into cubes. Steam tempeh in a covered steamer basket for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until tender. 

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl add apples, celery, carrots, onions, dried cranberries, and walnuts and mix well. 

  3. 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.

  4. In a separate bowl combine mayo, vinegar, and preserves.

  5. 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*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Sodium 84mg 4%
Potassium 237mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 8g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 34.8%
Vitamin C 3.6%
Calcium 5.3%
Iron 7.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Updated by Marly · Permalink