Well, here’s a recipe that really hits me in the nostalgia bone. Growing up, there were few things I loved more than a heaping scoop of egg salad between two pieces of perfectly soft, squishy white bread. If my mom packed an egg salad sandwich in my lunch, it was bound to be a good day. This vegan egg salad takes me right back.
Before going vegan, I loved hard-boiled eggs so much that I could have eaten a whole carton in one sitting. Add mayo, and we had two of my favorite foods at the same flavor party. When I cut eggs out of my diet, I needed to fill the void. Tofu scrambles were Vegan 101, but how would tofu fare in a vegan egg salad? The answer is: swimmingly.
Combine tofu with all the same ingredients in a classic egg salad, plus a little pinch of black salt (kala namak) for a hint of that funky egg flavor. This tofu egg salad is creamy, tangy, savory, and outright delicious. It’s also high in protein. Served in a sandwich or over greens, it’s a perfect, satisfying lunch option.
Table of Contents
Ingredients for Vegan Egg Salad
If you’ve ever made a classic egg salad prior to going vegan, the ingredients are mostly the same! We’ll simply be swapping out eggs in favor of tofu, and adding in a few extra spices to achieve the right color and flavor. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Medium-firm tofu: This is one of the few recipes in which I actually prefer medium tofu, simply because it more closely mimics the smooth, squishy texture of eggs. It’s not a dealbreaker if you can only find firm/extra-firm though.
- Vegan mayo: Make sure to use a brand whose flavor you really like, because it features prominently in this recipe. My favorite is good old Vegenaise by Follow Your Heart. A lot of brands have released vegan “sandwich spreads” which taste a little too much like canola oil in my opinion.
- Scallions (green onions): Or sub in ~2 tablespoons finely-diced white or red onion if that’s what you have on-hand. It adds a little bite to the salad.
- Dill: Fresh is ideal, but you can sub in about 2 teaspoons of the dried stuff in a pinch.
- Celery: Adds a nice crunch and, in my opinion, makes this taste more reminiscent of the real deal. You can boost the flavor with 1/4 teaspoon celery seed as well, if you have some handy.
- Lemon juice: To brighten up the flavor of the salad.
- Mustard: A classic addition to mayo-based salads. Dijon or yellow will both do the job.
- Nutritional yeast: Really ramps up the umami factor in this eggless salad! Plus it’s a nice source of some vitamins and protein.
- Turmeric: A pinch of this will impart an eggy yellow color without changing the flavor. It’s an optional (but fun) addition.
- Black salt: This adds an eggy smell and flavor. Find it at your local Indian food market or online.
How to Make Vegan Egg Salad
- Press your tofu: Use your favorite method to press your tofu for at least 30 minutes. I like to wrap mine in a clean kitchen towel and weigh it down with a cutting board and a few cans. Don’t skip this step unless you fancy a watery eggless salad!
- Chop & mash your tofu: I like to mash half of the block of tofu (to make the salad creamier and to somewhat mimic the texture of mashed egg yolks). Give the remaining half a rough, irregular chop like egg whites.
- Mix everything together: Easy-peasy. Give it a taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference. Keep it classic, or see below for a few fun variations on vegan egg salad.
- Let it marinate: This can be eaten right away, but I do think the flavors improve after they all have a chance to meld in the fridge for a few hours, or even overnight.
- Chow down!
3 Tasty Variations on Vegan Egg Salad
Here are a few twists you can add to this classic eggless salad.
- Curried eggless salad: Add in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of curry powder and one small grated carrot. Swap out the dill for chopped parsley.
- Bacony eggless salad: Dice up some of your favorite plant-based bacon and add it to the mix for extra savory, smoky flavor and a protein boost. I like Sweet Earth’s Benevolent Bacon or Lightlife’s Smart Bacon. Stir it right into the salad, or crisp it up, chop it and use as a topper so it stays crispy.
- Pesto eggless salad: Omit the fresh dill and add in a tablespoon of prepared vegan pesto. Two easy options are the Trader Joe’s Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto or the Sprouts Vegan Organic Basil Pesto.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will this recipe keep?
This will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days, but it’s best eaten within the first 3 days! It will start to get a little weepy after that, with the salt drawing the moisture out of the fresh ingredients.
Do I absolutely need to add black salt?
The black salt is what gives the recipe the familiar eggy taste/smell, so I recommend adding it if possible! But the salad will still be tasty if you can’t find it or don’t like it. Just make sure to add in some regular salt in its place. You can also experiment with adding a little garlic powder or smoked paprika. It won’t taste like the black salt, but it will give the salad a little extra flavor boost so it reads less “tofu.”
What can I substitute in for the mayo to make this oil-free?
Don’t skip the vegan mayo if you want this recipe to taste as much like classic egg salad as possible. If you don’t mind a bit of a different flavor, here are a few potential substitutions you can make to lighten up the recipe:
- Plain hummus.
- Vegan yogurt. Make sure to select a plain, unsweetened variety. I think Culina would work well for this, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t 100% vouch for the results.
- Tahini. In a separate small bowl, whisk a tablespoon together with a splash of water until it’s fluffy. Do this before adding it into the rest of the eggless salad ingredients.
- Cashew cream. Purée some soaked raw cashews with enough water to form a thick cashew cream. Or thin out some raw cashew butter with water.
- Mashed avocado. I only recommend using this substitute if you’re able to eat the salad within a day or two. Past that, the avocado will develop an unappealing color/flavor.
More Creamy Salad Recipes
Vegan Egg Salad (Tofu Egg Salad)
- mixing bowl
- 1 package medium-firm tofu sizes vary; see notes
- 1 stalk green onion finely-sliced
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh dill finely chopped
- 1-2 stalks celery finely diced
- 1/3 cup vegan mayo see notes
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric optional, for color
- 1/2 teaspoon black salt kala namak
- black pepper to taste
- Drain tofu, wrap in a clean tea towel and press for 30 minutes under a plate with a few cans. (This step is important; if you don’t press out excess liquid, your salad will become watery as it sits.)
- Finely chop half of the tofu. Mash the other half. The two textures will mimic the different textures of egg whites and egg yolks. (Optional, but I also find mashing some of it makes the mixture a bit more cohesive so pieces of tofu are less likely to fall out of your sandwich.)
- Stir tofu together with remaining ingredients. You can serve it immediately, but it’s best if you let it marinate for a few hours or even overnight in the fridge.
- I prefer the texture of medium-firm tofu in this recipe, but sometimes it’s hard to find. Firm or extra-firm will also work great! Depending on the brand, packages range from 14-16 oz and sometimes more. You may need to add a little extra mayo, salt and pepper if your block is on the larger side. Taste and adjust as needed.
- The black salt is what gives this salad an eggy flavor and smell. I purchased mine at a local Indian food market. You can also find it online.
- You can substitute in 2 tablespoons finely diced white onion for the green onions if you like.
- Make sure to pick a vegan mayo whose flavor you really like, because it’s front-and-center in this recipe! My favorite brand in the states is the classic Follow Your Heart Vegenaise. Some of the vegan sandwich spreads on the market nowadays taste good enough to spread a thin layer on a sandwich or burger but aren’t that tasty in larger amounts.