Vegan 7-Layer Salad

This vegan 7-Layer Salad recipe is a makeover of a Midwestern classic salad. It begins with a layer of greens, followed by green onions, frozen peas, tofu scramble, veggie bacon, cheddar cheese, and it’s topped with a savory-sweet vegan ranch dressing. That’s a lot of layers of deliciousness!

You can serve this scrumptious salad with some vegan mashed potatoes and vegan gravy on the side as perfect side dishes for a family dinner.

A layered salad is topped with vegan ranch dressing with a bowl of frozen peas behind it.

Making the 7-Layer Salad Vegan

I consider myself a salad expert because I eat one nearly every day. And the Grand Poobah of salads for me has been the Seven-Layer Salad. My mom makes this for Thanksgiving every year. And it was something I always looked forward to. Until I became vegan.

The traditional 7-Layer Salad has these layers: iceberg lettuce, green onions, frozen peas, boiled eggs, bacon bits, cheddar cheese, and a mayo-based ranch dressing.

If you remove the non-vegan layers — eggs, cheese, and mayo dressing — you’re left with a ho-hum 4-layer salad. So, that’s why I’m thrilled with this vegan seven layer salad.

Ingredients

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:

  • Tofu scramble — We’ll replace the layer of sliced boiled eggs with this tasty Tofu Scramble. It’s actually easier than boiling eggs anyway!
  • Greens — You can use your favorite greens here, such as iceberg, romaine, field greens, kale, and more.
  • Green onions — You’ll need between 3 and 7 green onions, depending on their size and your preference for onions.
  • Frozen peas — A 10-ounce bag of frozen peas will work perfectly here. You can make this 7 layer salad without peas: substitute edamame or even chickpeas.
  • Bacon bits — You can use storebought bacon bits (learn more about accidentally vegan products). I prefer to use either storebought veggie bacon or this tempeh bacon.
  • Vegan cheddar shreds — I use either Daiya or Follow Your Heart vegan cheddar shreds. Or you can buy a block of Daiya cheddar and shred it yourself (which results in a more tender shred, which I like for this salad).
  • Dairy-free mayo — I typically use Hellman’s Vegan Mayo because it’s readily available and has a great flavor.
  • Vegan yogurt — There are many vegan yogurts these days. Make sure the one you choose is plain and unsweetened. You can substitute vegan sour cream or cashew cream.
  • Seasonings — You’ll add both garlic powder and onion powder (or dehydrated onions) as seasonings for the dressing. Some dried parsley is a nice touch too.
  • Syrup — You don’t have to sweeten the dressing, but it adds a nice touch. You can use either agave nectar or maple syrup.
  • Salt + pepper — Add these to your personal tastes.
Looking down on three bowls, one with frozen peas, one with vegan ranch, and another with vegan salad.

How to Make Vegan 7-Layer Salad

I call this the perfect vegan 7-layer salad because not only is it scrumptious, it’s also much healthier than the classic version. Why? Because it’s cholesterol-free! In addition, it’s also a vegan gluten-free salad (as long as you use gluten-free veggie bacon).

These are the layers:

  1. Greens
  2. Scrambled Tofu
  3. Sliced Green Onions
  4. Frozen Peas
  5. Veggie Bacon
  6. Cheddar Shreds
  7. Dairy-free Mayo Ranch Dressing.

Here are the steps to make this vegan 7 layer salad. These steps display the process of making the salad and therefore are not in the same order as the layers.

Step One: Scrambled Tofu

Follow the instructions to make Scrambled tofu. It takes around 10 to 15 minutes.

Once it’s done, turn the heat off and set it aside to cool momentarily before transferring it to a lidded bowl. Cover the dish and place it in the fridge to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Tofu is in a skillet and it's broken into pieces by a wooden spatula.

Step Two: Greens

Get out the dish you will serve the salad in. I used a Pyrex 3.2-quart container that comes with a lid. Wash the greens and pat them dry. Then tear or cut them into bite-sized pieces. Fill the serving dish with mixed greens until it’s nearly full.

Step Three: Green Onions

Next, get out the green onions. Cut off the root end and slice the rest. I use as much of the green onions as I can with this recipe. Spread the sliced green onions evenly over the greens.

Two layers down, five to go!

Step Four: Frozen Peas

Spread the frozen peas on top of the green onions. I use the entire bag so the frozen peas layer is thick enough to create a barrier between the greens and the toppings.

This prevents the greens from getting soggy. That means if you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers, the salad will still taste great the next day too!

Step Five: Add Cooled Scrambled Tofu

Evenly spread the cooled tofu pieces on top of the frozen peas. This scrambled tofu layer also helps create a barrier between the greens and the toppings.

Step Six: Veggie Bacon

The next layer is veggie bacon. There are several options for you to consider to add that delicious bacon flavor and texture. Here are my favorite options:

  • Bacon Bits. Believe it or not, they’re accidentally vegan. I find the flavor a bit too strong, so I just do a small sprinkling.
  • Tempeh Bacon is another great option.
  • Bacon Almond Slivers. I love using these smoky morsels in my recipes, but if you’re tight on time, you’ll want to make them the day before.
  • Store-bought Veggie Bacon. Sweet Earth Veggie Bacon is great. Lightlife Fakin’ Bacon is made from tempeh and is also gluten-free. If you’re using a store-bought veggie bacon, follow the instructions on the package and fry it in a skillet until crispy. Then break it into pieces and allow it to cool completely.
Several strips of tempeh bacon are stacked on a cutting board. There are cherry tomatoes and pieces of lettuce behind it.

Step Seven: Vegan Cheddar Shreds

Whatever vegan cheddar you’re using, cover the top of the salad with the shredded cheese, leaving a little left over to sprinkle on top.

Step Eight: Vegan Mayo Dressing

Mix the ingredients together and then add salt and pepper to taste. You can make the dressing ahead of time and then pour it over the salad right before serving.

Salad Garnishes

Garnish the salad with additional chopped onions, bacon bits, and the remaining cheddar cheese.

Marly’s Tips

  • Typical veggie bacon won’t stay crisp when added to the salad. So, if you’re not going to serve the salad right away, consider this: Make the rest of the salad ahead of time, leaving out the layers beginning with the veggie bacon. Then add the remaining layers beginning with the veggie bacon, immediately prior to serving.
  • The layers of this salad are very intentional and work well together. I do not recommend adding things like chopped celery, chopped bell peppers, or even cherry tomatoes.

Make-ahead Tips

You can make some of the toppings, like the tofu scramble and ranch dressing the night before. Then, the morning of your dinner, simply combine your layers in a serving dish and you’re ready to go.

I always keep this salad refrigerated up until the moment it’s served. Then, after dinner, any leftovers goes back in the fridge.

Vegan Salads

A close-up of Vegan Seven Layer Salad in a large bowl with frozen peas behind it.
A close-up of Vegan Seven Layer Salad in a large bowl with frozen peas behind it.

Vegan 7 Layer Salad

This is the Perfect Vegan 7 Layer Salad, made just like the kind you love! It features layers of greens, tofu scramble, green onions, peas, veggie bacon, vegan cheddar, and a creamy vegan mayo dressing.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 14
Calories: 321kcal
Author: Namely Marly

Ingredients

  • 1 batch tofu scramble
  • 4 – 5 cups greens (romaine, field greens, etc) washed, patted dried, & long stems removed
  • 3 – 7 green onions washed and sliced
  • 10 oz bag frozen peas
  • ½ cup bacon bits (See note for options)
  • cups vegan cheddar shreds

Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing

  • 2 cup dairy-free mayo
  • ½ cup plain vegan yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup,
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon pepper freshly cracked is best

Instructions

  • Make the tofu scramble and set it aside to cool.
  • Layer One: Get out the dish you will serve the salad in. I used a Pyrex 3.2-quart container. Tear greens into pieces. Fill the dish with greens until it's nearly full.
  • Layer Two: Next, cut and discard the root tops off of the green onions. Slice the rest. Spread the sliced green onions evenly over the greens.
  • Layer Three: Spread the frozen peas on top of the green onions. Use the entire bag to make a thick layer. This creates a barrier between the greens and the toppings, preventing the salad from getting soggy.
  • Layers Four and Five: Evenly spread the cooled tofu pieces on top of the frozen peas. Next, sprinkle with bacon bits.
  • Layer Six: Add the shredded vegan cheddar cheese, leaving a little to sprinkle on top.
  • Layer Seven: Spread the dressing on top of the salad if you're ready to serve dinner. Or refrigerate the salad without the dressing and add it immediately before serving.

For the Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing

  • For the Vegan Mayo dressing. Add the dairy-free mayo, yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, and agave nectar in a small bowl and stir until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Top with additional chopped onions, bacon bits or a little bit of the remaining cheddar cheese for garnishing.

Recommended Equipment

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Notes

I used Daiya Cheddar, but you can also use Follow Your Heart cheddar cheese. I can find these in the health food section of my local grocery store, but they’re also typically available at most health food stores.
Veggie Bacon: Some storebought bacon bits are vegan. I find their flavor quite strong so if I’m using those I will do a light sprinkling of them. Otherwise, I prefer to cook and crumble store-bought veggie bacon or make tempeh bacon.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan 7 Layer Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 321 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 3mg1%
Sodium 468mg20%
Potassium 155mg4%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 155IU3%
Vitamin C 9.2mg11%
Calcium 34mg3%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* 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!

This post was originally published in 2010 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2020.

12 Responses to Vegan 7-Layer Salad

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMiss Becky Reply

    This looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing a healthy alternative to the traditional recipe. The one thing I’m really missing as a newbie vegan is cheese, and so far, the vegan cheeses are not doing it for me. But…growing up on a diary farm and living in Wisconsin, weening myself from cheese, one of my all-time favorite things to eat, is not going to be easy! Have a joyful Thanksgiving!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyPachecopatty Reply

    Hi Marly, I have also been a fan of layered salads. I enjoy the discovery process as you serve and make a meal of this kind of salad. You’ve made a healthy, beautiful and tasty looking salad here, just the kind I would enjoy anytime:) Happy Holidays!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySMITH BITES Reply

    Nice transformation Marly – and it really does look gorgeous enough to eat!!

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJuliana Reply

    Great idea of layering the salad…looks beautiful.

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMs. Adventuress Reply

    SO beautiful!

    And so glad you’ve enjoyed your balmy weather…I must admit the snow is so beautiful…and as soon as my ice cleats arrive, I’ll enjoy walking out in it, up and down the hills, too!

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyTatiana Reply

    That totally looks awesome. In my head I already swapped out the spinach (don’t like it raw) for arugula, and pondered a layer of beans somewhere. But what a great recipe!

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyDiane Reply

    Love this salad! My new favorite….Yum-m-m:-)

  8. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAmy Reply

    This looks amazing! I too have not eaten this salad in a while simply because it is so rich and dairy filled, but after seeing your vegan version, I want to make it! Great recipe :)!

  9. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyNikki Reply

    I’ve never heard of the original salad, but your substitutions look delicious!

  10. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet Reply

    This looks delicious, Marly! So glad I found your site! I’ve been browsing around and I love your recipes!

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