We have all seen the vegan salad memes and if you’ve been vegan for even a few months, you know how true the meme is.
It’s kind of sad to think that only vegans are privileged enough to enjoy these delicious salads when they are so packed with nutrition, vibrant colors (which is also a clue to nutrition) and tons of raw, high fiber vegetables. But hey, if you need animals in your salad…
Today’s vegan salad recipe is kind of my own creation. In my mind, I love a good backyard barbecue and that probably stems from all the great cookouts spent at my grandmother’s house as a kid. But the reality of charcoal and lighter fluid, the awful smell and burnt food makes it less appealing.
So I decided to veganize and salad-ify the backyard barbecue.
One of the first lessons I learned when I became a vegan and a healthy (ish) eater, was that a salad can be just about anything. I always thought of salad as the pitiful thing you get at restaurants when the choice is soup or salad, you know two quartered tomatoes, iceberg lettuce and a few half-moons of cucumber. That can–and has–turned plenty of people of eating salad.
So what exactly is a backyard bbq vegan salad? It is some of your favorite cookout ingredients–corn, jalapeno, grilled tofu–only put into a salad. You can even whip up a mustard & barbecue sauce salad dressing to really sell it, but I thought the smoked tofu went far enough for me. And the use of jalapeno peppers added enough spice that I opted for a parsley, lemon and veggiegurt salad dressing.
You can use whatever you want to make this easy vegan salad, but here’s what I used.
The first step to any good salad is to chop and rinse the lettuce or whatever other leafy green you plan to use. For me, that means a salad spinner. The truth is, I don’t know how I spent so much of my life without one. Wet, soggy lettuce is probably another reason the average person doesn’t actually enjoy eating salad.
Rinse it until the water runs clear, which for me is 2 or 3 times because I never used bagged salad. But do what you gotta do to add more fresh veggies to your diet.
For the cooked ingredients, you have a few options; air fryer, oven or stovetop grill. Since this a post-workout vegan salad, I went with the oven.
Preheat to 200C/400F.
Next, chop up the sweet potato and tofu. Season with your favorite herbs and spices. I went with a grill seasoning to give them that ‘fresh off the grill’ taste. In fact, I added some to the corn on the cob as well, and cooked all three in the oven until they were done.
Note: The corn and tofu will cook fast and that’s all right, you need to let the corn cool just enough so you can hold it and cut the kernels off the cob.
All that’s left to do now, is chop up the raw ingredients. There’s no magic to this step, just chop them in uniform pieces in line with the potato and tofu so you can get a little of everything with each bite. Add it to a large bowl and set aside.
For the vegan salad dressing you need vegan yogurt, fresh parsley, fresh lemon juice & zest, salt, pepper, garlic and smoky paprika. Stir until blended and when everything is in the bowl, drizzle it over the top and toss.
Toss like you mean it until every piece is a little bit coated.
Then, what? GRUB.
And that’s it, your quick and easy vegan salad recipe. Fit for a hot day or fit for a cookout. Eat it and feel good, why not, it’s just 430 per serving, according to Cronometer!