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Vegan Chicken Salad 2 Ways!

vegan chicken salad recipe for high protein meal prep

Vegan Chicken Salad with crunchy sliced almonds, chewy apricots, and fresh tarragon has quickly become a meal prep staple in my kitchen. My vegan chicken salad recipe starts with a base of tofu or chickpeas – up to you – and then I add in all of the usual suspects: diced celery, fresh herbs like tarragon and parsley, and then I add lots of flavor with a sprinkle of poultry seasoning, paprika, and garlic powder. My favorite part is the slightly sweet and chewy dried apricots, which I slice into small pieces so that they’re evenly distributed throughout the salad. So good!

vegan chicken salad recipe with chickpeas
vegan chicken salad recipe for high protein meal prep

YOU WILL NEED

Tofu or Chickpeas: I love to use mashed chickpeas because it’s quick and easy. Just drain two cans of chickpeas, mash with a fork, and you’re ready to go! This recipe is also delicious with tofu. Just make sure you press the tofu before hand. This is key! Pressing the tofu will remove excess water and it really makes a difference in the overall taste and texture of this Vegan Chicken Salad.

How to Press Tofu: If you have a tofu press, go ahead and use that, or you can poke holes in the bottom of the tofu container. Turn it upside down and place inside of a large rimmed dish or baking tray. Set the tofu on top of the container and then place a large plate on top. Weigh it down with something heavy like one cookbook or a large can and let it rest for about an hour.

A Creamy Sauce: Traditional chicken salad is usually made with a lot of mayo, but in this vegan version I like to use two parts vegan mayo and one part vegan yogurt. I mix in touch of mustard for flavor and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to bring it all together. Trust me, this combo is much more flavorful than plain mayonnaise and it’s a bit lighter too!

Tarragon: Tarragon is completely underrated herb in my opinion. Basil and cilantro are delicious and deserve their place in the spotlight, but listen, tarragon? Also awesome and incredibly unique. It’s actually a member of the sunflower family and it has a slight anise or licorice flavor like fresh fennel. It really adds a lot of flavor to this salad, especially when combined with the other spices, and I think it’s one of the best parts!

Poultry Seasoning: Poultry Seasoning is key in this recipe. It’s basically a blend of herbs like sage, rosemary, and marjoram and it sometimes has spices like nutmeg and black pepper too. I think opting for Poultry Seasoning is much more convenient than measuring out all of those individual herbs and spices. It provides a lot of flavor for very little time and effort and, in the words of Ina Garten, “Who doesn’t love that?”

meatless tofu chicken salad recipe

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN CHICKEN SALAD

This is a chop-and-drop kind of recipe and the process is very simple. After prepping the tofu or chickpeas, the rest is just a matter of throwing all of the remaining ingredients into a bowl and mixing it all together.

RECIPE SUSTITUTIONS

Can’t find tarragon? No worries. You can leave it out or use dried tarragon to taste. It’s a strong herb so start with a little bit and then add more as desired. You can also omit it or switch it out for dill or cilantro if you like.

Not into apricots? Diced apples, dried cranberries or cherries, and sliced red grapes are all great alternatives.  

Sweet and salty not your thing? Omit the apricots and sub relish, capers, or chopped pickles instead. Note: if you go in this direction I would switch the tarragon for dill or leave it out.

HOW TO SERVE

Serve on your favorite toasted bread with lettuce and tomato, or with crackers and cucumber slices on the side. I also love making Vegan Chicken Salad Pita Pockets with warm pitas, lettuce, tomato, a layer of hummus, this Vegan Chicken Salad recipe, and some crispy vegan bacon. Such a delicious combo! I also do a salad version of this. I make a big green salad, add a tangy vinaigrette, and then I’ll top it with a scoop of Vegan Chicken Salad, sliced avocado, and chopped crispy vegan bacon.

vegan chicken salad recipe
vegan chicken salad recipe for high protein meal prep

Vegan Chicken Salad 2 Ways

Nicole Vranjican
Two easy ways to make Vegan Chicken Salad. Tofu or chickpeas are mixed with sliced almonds, chewy dried apricots, and fresh tarragon for a delicious plant-based twist on this classic lunchtime recipe!
5 from 2 votes
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

Vegan Chicken Salad

  • 2 14oz blocks of extra firm tofu or 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots sub cherries or cranberries if desired
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2.5 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • 1/4 cup plain vegan yogurt
  • 1 tbsp mustard yellow or Dijon
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions
 

Prep

  • If you're using chickpeas (might be my favorite but I like it both ways!) then drain and rinse both cans of chickepas. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork until it looks like canned tuna.
    If you're using tofu, press the tofu using a tofu press to remove the excess moisture. If you don't have a tofu press, no worries, neither do I! Just follow the pressing instructions in the notes below. Once pressed, dice the tofu into very small cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Then chop the celery, onions, fresh herbs, and dried apricots. Set aside.

Mix

  • In the large mixing bowl with either the tofu or chickpeas, add the remaining chicken salad ingredients. Mix well and then add the mayo, vegan yogurt, mustard, chopped herbs, and lemon juice. Mix again until well coated.
    Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Serve

  • Serve on your favorite toasted bread with lettuce and tomato, or with crackers and cucumber slices on the side.

Notes

Can’t find tarragon? No worries. You can leave it out or use dried to taste. It’s a strong herb so start with a little bit and add as desired. You can also omit it or switch it out of dill or cilantro if you like. 
 
Not into apricots? Diced apples, dried cranberries or cherries, and sliced red grapes are all great alternatives. 
 
Sweet and salty not your thing? Omit the apricots and sub relish or chopped pickles instead. 
 
How to Serve: Serve on your favorite toasted bread with lettuce and tomato, or with crackers and cucumber slices on the side. I also love making Vegan Chicken Salad Pita Pockets with warm pitas, lettuce, tomato, a layer of hummus, this Vegan Chicken Salad recipe, and some crispy vegan bacon. Such a delicious combo! I also do a salad version of this. I make a big green salad, add a tangy vinaigrette, then I’ll top with a scoop of this Vegan Chicken Salad, some avocado, and chopped crispy vegan bacon on top.
 
How to Press Tofu: If you have a tofu press, go ahead and use that, or you can poke holes in the bottom of the tofu container. Turn it inside down and place it inside of a large rimmed dish or baking tray. Set the tofu on top of the container and then place a large plate on top. Weigh it down with something heavy like one cookbook or a large can and let it rest for about an hour.
 
Keyword vegan chicken salad recipe

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Nicole Vranjican

Hey! I’m Nicole and I make practical vegan recipes for REAL life. I cook with simple, easy to find ingredients and I’m passionate about creating delicious plant-based meals that everyone will love!

I hope you enjoy my recipes and videos :) Happy Cooking!

Find me on: Instagram

7 Comments

  1. Hailey
    April 13, 2021 / 9:28 pm

    5 stars
    Made this with tofu and it’s really yummy! Will definitely be saving this recipe to come back to when I want an easy delicious lunch!

  2. Teresly
    April 18, 2021 / 11:34 pm

    Made the tofu salad and it was delicious!! you’re a genius.

    • Nicole
      Author
      May 31, 2021 / 6:15 pm

      haha aw thank you so much! I have the biggest smile on my face knowing that you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know! 😊😊

  3. Charlotte
    April 23, 2021 / 7:52 pm

    5 stars
    I made this with tofu and I really enjoyed it! It was so flavorful and definitely something I will be making again and again 🙂

    • Nicole
      Author
      May 31, 2021 / 6:12 pm

      Nice! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it 😊😊 I love meal prepping this “chicken” salad, especially in the summer time ☀️

  4. Adam
    April 28, 2021 / 1:54 am

    made this for a spring day in the park with friends and it was a hit! I put it back in the cooler soon after cause I wanted to take the rest home for myself lmao

    • Nicole
      Author
      May 31, 2021 / 6:09 pm

      haha that’s awesome! That’s how you know it’s good lol Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know that you enjoyed it 😊

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