If you’re looking for the best vegan spinach salad that actually tastes good, look no further. This spinach salad recipe is perfect for those who follow a gluten-free or plant-based diet. Packed with plant-based protein and a colorful array of veggies, this salad is a crowd-pleaser.
Is Spinach a Vegetable or a Salad?
Spinach is classified as a vegetable and is a great base for various salads when paired with other veggies and protein.
The Health Benefits of Vegan Spinach Salad
There are several reasons why you should add this vegan spinach salad to your menu:
- Plant-based protein: This salad contains protein-rich ingredients like chickpeas and pecans, making it a satisfying option even when paired with low-protein main dishes.
- Versatile: Whether you want to enjoy it as a main dish or a side salad, this vegan spinach salad is versatile and will keep you feeling full with its fiber and vegetable content.
- Healthy fats: Pecans in this salad provide heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Choose an oil-free dressing if you prefer.
- High fiber: This healthy spinach salad offers a whopping 11.2 grams of fiber per serving, helping you increase your daily fiber intake.
- Rich in nutrients: This vegan spinach salad is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. It also contains beneficial phytonutrients like lycopene and carotenoids.
- No-cook: This no-cook salad recipe is perfect for meal prepping, ensuring you have a healthy lunch ready for a few days.
- Delicious: With its medley of colors, textures, and flavors, this pretty salad is not only nutritious but also incredibly tasty.
Ingredients for Vegan Spinach Salad
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Baby spinach leaves
- Grape tomatoes
- Shredded carrots (or carrot ribbons)
- Chopped celery
- Yellow bell pepper
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Candied pecans
- Canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- Vegan balsamic dressing
Specific quantities can be found in the recipe card below.
I recommend using baby spinach leaves for this salad as they are convenient and typically sold prewashed. If you have larger spinach leaves, rinse them, remove the thick stems, and chop them into smaller pieces.
How to Make Vegan Spinach Salad
- Start by preparing all the ingredients. Halve the grape tomatoes, shred the carrots, and drain the chickpeas.
- Dice the celery into ¼-inch pieces and cut the yellow pepper into ½-inch dice. Peel the red onion, halve it, and slice it into thin half-moons.
- Now it’s time to assemble the salads. Divide the baby spinach between four salad bowls. Add an equal amount of tomatoes, carrots, celery, yellow pepper, red onion, and drained chickpeas to each bowl. Finish with a sprinkle of candied pecans.
- Dress the salads right before serving to keep the spinach crisp. Avoid letting the spinach sit in the dressing for too long to prevent it from turning soggy. Enjoy!
Vegan Spinach Salad Substitutions
You can customize this vegan spinach salad with various ingredients:
Fresh or dried fruits add sweetness without the need for added sugars. Consider adding sliced apples, strawberries, blueberries, dried cranberries, dried cherries, raisins, or dried apricots.
Both non-starchy and starchy veggies work well in salads. You can add kale, sliced fennel, cucumbers, sliced mushrooms, roasted red peppers, roasted butternut squash, aromatics like garlic and ginger, asparagus, beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, or radishes.
For added protein, choose from tofu, tempeh, edamame, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, or sliced seitan.
For some crunch, consider sliced almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, or tortilla strips.
Creaminess can be achieved with ingredients like avocado or a creamy salad dressing made with silken tofu or olive oil. High-fat ingredients like nuts and seeds also provide that creamy mouthfeel.
Feel free to experiment and add grains like quinoa or rice to your salad. The possibilities are endless!
How to Store Spinach Salad
You can refrigerate leftover vegan spinach salad for up to 3-4 days. Keep the dressing separate until serving time. Please do not freeze this salad.
What to Eat with Spinach Salad?
Here are some side and main dishes that pair well with spinach salad:
- Vegan Gazpacho (Raw Soup)
- Air Fryer Garlic Bread
- Air Fryer Eggplant Parm
- Tempeh Bolognese
- Sandwich (choose your favorite!)
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This vegan spinach salad is a level 1 recipe that can support fat loss due to its high volume and low calorie content. If you have higher energy needs, you can add more fat by using a high-fat dressing or adding additional nuts. You can also pair this salad with some bread or crackers on the side for extra calories.
Remember that the nutritional information may vary depending on the dressing you use. Some dressings can be high in fat and sugar, which can significantly increase the calorie content. Balsamic dressing is generally a lighter option, but be sure to check the label.
If you have any questions, feel free to check out our other easy vegan salad ideas, such as the Chick Fil A Kale Crunch Salad, Air Fryer Salad Recipe, or High Volume, Low Calorie Salad Recipe. And don’t forget to explore our collection of Vegan Recipes!
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Please note that all recipes on this website may not be suitable for everyone. Consult with a registered dietitian or physician to determine the best dietary pattern for you.