This simple and healthy vegan cobb salad features baked tempeh bacon, protein-packed chickpeas and a creamy tahini-ranch dressing with classic corn, tomatoes and greens.
Cobb salad is totally one of those menu items that sounds healthy (greens, veggies, lean protein), as long as you ignore the creamy dressing, bacon and crumbled blue cheese. It was always my go-to order at restaurants, but now it's time to lighten things up a bit.
This vegan cobb salad is the perfect melding of traditional cobb salad flavors with fresh, bright and totally plant-based ingredients. I promise you won't miss the heavy dressing and cheese situation. Plus, this recipe is one you can eat all the time and still feel your best. It's easy to digest and full of protein, vitamins and minerals, thanks to all the colors in your bowl.
How to Make Vegan Cobb Salad
There are a few key ingredient swaps to make your cobb salad healthy and vegan. This recipe ditches processed bacon for easy and smoky tempeh bacon. The chicken is replaced with chickpeas, and instead of a heavy dressing, it's a homemade vegan tahini ranch dressing you'll want to eat on EVERYTHING!
Here's what you need to assemble this colorful bowl:
- Mixed greens. Use your favorite salad greens. I like arugula, but baby spinach or shredded kale would also be great.
- Corn. This adds a little sweetness and a pop of sunny color to the bowl.
- Avocado. A must-have for healthy fats and creaminess.
- Cherry tomatoes. These add pops of fresh, juicy flavor.
- Chickpeas. You can cook your own from dried or simply drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Other beans, such as white beans or black beans would also work if you're out of garbanzos.
- Tempeh. This is our vegan bacon substitute that you'll love. It has all the meaty texture of bacon with none of the highly processed ingredients.
- Tamari. You can also use low-sodium soy sauce if you are not gluten-free.
- Maple syrup. This adds that signature note of sweetness to the tempeh bacon. If you don't have pure maple syrup, use agave or coconut sugar.
- Liquid smoke. This is the secret to smokiness without lighting a flame!
- Nutritional yeast. A must-have vegan pantry staple for cheesy flavor on everything.
- Hot sauce. I like a little heat on my tempeh bacon. Use your favorite hot sauce, this is mine.
- Smoked paprika. This is another way to add spice and reinforce the smoky flavor of your bacon.
Making Tempeh Bacon
The star of this salad is the tempeh bacon. It's smokey, charred, crispy and so satisfying. In fact, highly recommend making a double batch to top other dishes. It would be especially good on my vegan truffle mac and cheese.
To make the bacon, simply coat strips of tempeh in the smoky and savory sauce. Then bake them until crisp and lightly brown. Finally, let the tempeh cool a bit before you crumble or chop it to top your salad. You can store tempeh bacon for up to three days in the fridge.
Meal Prepping Vegan Cobb Salads
This is a salad that I know you're going to come back to time and time again. It's quick to make and is perfect for a Sunday meal prep day. If you're into meal prepping, here's how to make this salad work for you to save time during the week:
- First, make tempeh bacon up to three days ahead, store in the fridge.
- Chop cherry tomatoes up to three days ahead.
- Cook the sweet corn and leave on the cob until the day before serving.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas and keep in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
- Make the tahini ranch dressing up the 4 days ahead of time.
- Lastly, slice the avocado day of serving.
Finally, assemble and dress the salad just before serving and dig in!
More Healthy Salad Recipes for Meal Prep
I hope you love this vegan cobb salad as much as I do! Be sure to let me know what you think with a rating, comment, or IG tag @simplyquinoa!
Vegan Cobb Salad
for the salad:
- Make the bacon: Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the tempeh into thin strips and set aside. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add tempeh and toss to coat. Place tempeh strips on baking sheet and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, flipping halfway through until golden brown and lightly crispy. Let cool.
- Make the corn: steam/boil the corn for 5 - 7 minutes. When done, slice kernels off the cobb and set aside.
- Assemble the salad: divide all the salad ingredients evenly amongst four bowls. Crumble bacon on top Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!
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