Perfect Vegan 7 Layer Salad

The Vegan 7 Layer Salad recipe begins with a layer of greens, followed by green onions, frozen peas, tofu scramble, veggie bacon, cheddar cheese, and topped with a savory-sweet vegan ranch mayo dressing. That’s a lot of layers of deliciousness! If you want a healthy 7 layer salad for your holiday table, you’ve come to the right place.

A layered salad is topped with vegan ranch dressing with a bowl of frozen peas behind it.
This yummy 7 layer salad is served with vegan ranch mayo!

This is the perfect vegetarian seven layer salad, made in layers, just like the kind you love, but veganized to taste just as good and more heart-friendly too! All because I love a good salad. For example, there’s my Vegan Cobb Salad. I could eat that every day!

And then there’s my Vegan Harvest Salad. Ooh la la! 😛

But my all-time favorite salad is a little more vertical. It’s the layered vegetable salad referred to as the 7 layer salad, and it’s on our menu for every holiday meal!

Vegan Salads

I love salads. I eat them 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.

In case you need a refresher: the traditional Seven Layer Salad begins with a layer of lettuce (the iceberg kind), followed by green onions, frozen peas, boiled eggs, bacon bits, cheddar cheese, and topped with my mom’s secret mayo dressing.

That’s a lot of layers vegans cannot eat. Remove the eggs, cheese, and mayo dressing, and you’re left with a 4-layer salad. Nothing to get excited about. So, the question was, could I make that tasty 7 layer salad vegan? And another important question: could I make a vegan recipe for 7 layer salad healthy? Or at least…healthier?

This is the Perfect Vegan Seven Layer Salad, made in layers, just like the kind you love, but veganized to taste just as good and more heart-friendly too! #vegan #salad #thanksgiving #recipe

I resigned myself to a life without this succulent salad. That is, until this week when I was touched with inspiration to try making a vegan (and healthier)  version. Imagine…the perfect vegan seven layer salad!

Looking down on three bowls, one with frozen peas, one with vegan ranch, and another with vegan salad.
You can call this the Vegan Pea Salad, but it’s all the layers that makes it so good!
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How to Make Vegan Seven Layer Salad

I call this the Perfect Vegan Seven Layer Salad because not only is it scrumptious, it’s also much healthier than the older version because it’s cholesterol free! In addition, it’s also a vegan gluten free salad (as long as you use gluten-free veggie bacon).

I started with healthy greens and then cooked some tofu in seasoning to replace the boiled eggs, used shredded vegan cheese, and created my own magical dairy-free ranch infused mayo dressing.

So, how do we make this delicious Perfect Vegan Seven Layer Salad? I’ll explain below. Just so you know, the steps are not in the same order as the layers.

Step One: Scrambled Tofu

Scrambled tofu is a great egg replacer and is so easy to make. It takes around 10 – 15 minutes. Here’s how to do it.

First, remove the tofu from the container. Press the tofu by placing paper towels (or dish cloth on the top and bottom. Either use your hands to press the tofu or place it on a plate and place something with a little bit of weight on top. Allow to sit for a few minutes to drain excess liquid from the tofu.

Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Place a block of extra firm tofu in the skillet and use a spatula to break it into small, bite-size pieces. Cook the tofu over medium heat for about 1 minute.

Add Mrs. Dash seasoning, nutritional yeast flakes, turmeric and salt and stir until the tofu is well coated. Cook the tofu over medium heat for 10 – 12 minutes, occasionally stirring to keep the seasonings mixed and to prevent the tofu from browning.

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

Step Two: Greens

This healthy layered salad recipe begins with mixed greens, a healthier base than the iceberg lettuce my mom uses. Of course, romaine is another healthy option to use and it adds some crisp to the salad too. In fact, there are a variety of healthy greens to choose from as the base for this salad.

Get out the dish you will serve the salad in. I used a Pyrex 3.2 quart container that comes with a lid. Tear or cut the greens into pieces. Fill the 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 toppings 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. As mentioned above, there’s a reason for the order of these layers. the frozen peas creates a nice barrier between the lettuce and the toppings. This scrambled tofu layer helps with that as well.

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. Sweet! My mom uses a lot of bacon bits, but when I use them, I just do a small sprinkling because I think their flavor can be overwhelming. I like a bit of that smoky taste, but not too much. You can choose what works best for you.
  • Bacon Almond Slivers. My recipe for Bacon-Flavored Almond Slivers is amazing! I love using these almond slivers in my recipes, but if you’re tight on time, you’ll want to make them the day before.
  • Store-bought Veggie Bacon works too! I love the Sweet Earth Veggie Bacon or the Light Life Fakin’ Bacon is made from Tempeh and is also gluten-free (I confess, it’s my favorite!). Either way, 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.

Final tip regarding veggie bacon, it won’t stay crisp when added to the salad. So, one idea is to make the rest of the layers ahead of time, and add the remaining layers beginning with the veggie bacon, immediately prior to serving.

Step Seven: Vegan Cheddar Shreds

The next layer is the shredded vegan cheddar cheese. I love using either Daiya Cheddar Shreds or Follow Your Heart Cheddar Shreds. Of course, now Daiya offers the block of cheddar and so I oftentimes will buy that and shred it myself because I can use the smaller holes on my box shredder to make a finer grated cheese. It’s lovely!

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

Step Eight: Vegan Mayo Dressing

For the Vegan Mayo dressing, I begin with dairy-free mayo. There are many options to choose from, but I prefer Hellman’s Vegan Mayo. Just Mayo is great too, but I have trouble finding it these days.

I mix the mayo with plain vegan yogurt make it a little bit healthier. Besides, I like the texture better too.

To make the 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.

You can add this dressing to the salad right away if you’re ready to serve dinner or you can refrigerate the salad without dressing and add the dressing immediately before serving.

Step Nine: Garnishes

We eat with our eyes is true even for salads. Adding a few garnishes can make this salad sing! I like to top it with additional chopped onions, bacon bits or a little bit of the remaining cheddar cheese for garnishing.

Make-ahead Tips

The nice thing about this salad, is 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 too.

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

We’ll be making this salad for many more family dinners to come. I hope you will too! If you do, share a photo of it with us using #namelymarly on Instagram or Twitter. We love seeing your photos!

I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!

The Perfect Vegan Seven Layer Salad

Vegan Seven Layer Salad

This is the Perfect Vegan Seven Layer Salad, made just like the kind you love, but veganized to taste just as good and more heart-friendly too!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Seven Layer Salad
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 14
Calories: 321kcal
Author: Namely Marly

Ingredients

  • 15 oz Extra firm tofu drained
  • 1 teaspoon Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash garlic & herb seasoning
  • teaspoon Turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons Nutritional yeast flakes
  • Dash of salt
  • 4 – 5 cups Mixed greens washed, patted dried, & long stems removed
  • 3 – 7 Green onions washed and sliced
  • 10 oz Bag frozen peas
  • ½ cup Bacon bits (I used Bacos because they are vegan or Bacon-Flavored Almond Slivers
  • cups package Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 cup Dairy-free Mayo
  • ½ cup Plain Coconut 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

  • Remove the tofu from the container. Press the tofu by placing paper towels (or dish cloth on the top and bottom. Either use your hands to press the tofu or place it on a plate and place something with a little bit of weight on top. Allow to sit for a few minutes to drain excess liquid from the tofu.
  • Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Place the block of tofu in the skillet and use a spatula to break it into pieces. Cook over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add Mrs. Dash, nutritional yeast flakes, turmeric and salt and stir until the tofu is well coated. Cook the tofu over medium heat for 10 – 12 minutes, occasionally stirring to keep the seasonings mixed and to prevent the tofu from browning. Once it’s done, turn the heat off and set aside to cool momentarily before placing in a lidded bowl. Place this in the fridge to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • Get out the dish you will serve the salad in. I used a Pyrex 3.2 quart container. Tear mixed greens into pieces. Fill the dish with mixed greens until it’s nearly full.
  • Next get out the green onions Remove tops, 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!
  • 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 toppings from getting soggy. That means if you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers, the salad will still taste great the next day.
  • Evenly spread the cooled tofu pieces on top of the frozen peas. Next sprinkle with bacon bits. My mom uses a lot of bacon bits, but I just do a small sprinkling because I think their flavor can be overwhelming. I like a bit of that smoky taste, but not too much. You can choose what works best for you.
  • The next layer is the shredded vegan cheddar cheese. Cover the salad with the package of shredded cheese, leaving a little left over to sprinkle on top.
  • For the Vegan Mayo dressing. Add the dairy-free mayo, coconut yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, and agave nectar in a small bowl and stir until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can add this dressing to the salad right away if you’re ready to serve dinner or you can refrigerate the salad without dressing and add the dressing immediately before serving.
  • Top with additional chopped onions, bacon bits or a little bit of the remaining cheddar cheese for garnishing.

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.

Enjoy!

This layered veggie salad post was updated to include larger photos and some edits to the recipe. Here’s an example of one of the previous photos on this post.

A close-up shot of vegan layer salad in a glass serving dish.

Updated by Marly · Permalink