This one is as much for you as it is for me. While I truly don’t miss meat 98% of the time, I crave a chicken salad sandwich almost monthly.
I blame it on growing up in Richmond. Of a childhood filled with Ukrop’s (RIP) chicken salad on white house rolls. There might not be a more delicious sandwich on the planet. It’s a cult favorite in my hometown, with good reason. I guarantee that every neighborhood gathering, potluck, bridal shower and BBQ will have at least one tray of that chicken salad on those rolls. No other kind will do.
Since I don’t eat chicken, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. I’ve experimented with no less than a dozen different chicken salad replacements and they are all good, but never the level that I want them to be.
I’ve tried tempeh, chickpeas, raw tofu, cooked tofu, seitan, fake chicken strips, ect. If it’s been used as a meat substitute, I’ve probably tried to make it into a chicken salad sandwich.
I had almost given up hope. Almost.
Then, I saw a friend prepare tofu this way: baked with broth, soy sauce, sage and thyme. She then tore the tofu strips instead of chopping it to create chicken-like nuggets. One bite and I knew this was going to be the base for my vegan chicken salad sandwich.
Ukrop’s chicken salad is for purists, it only contains chicken, mayo, celery, salt & pepper. I tried that version and it was good, but I knew it could be better. So I added some walnuts for crunch and some grapes for sweetness.
And then I dived right into that bowl and didn’t stop until I had licked it clean because it was so, so good.
I’ve made this tofu chicken salad sandwich roughly a dozen times since that first tinkering and each time, I swear I love it more. I’m pretty sure the only way that would make it better is if I served it on white house rolls (which is exactly what I plan on doing next time I’m home.)
Sans rolls, try it like this. Toasted bread, arugula (spinach will work!) and a few slices of juicy tomatoes. Crack a bit of freshly ground pepper on top, then place the other slice of bread on and eat. It’s messy, it’s delicious, it’s perfectly southern.
I can’t wait for you to make this and then tell me what you think. Isn’t it the best vegan chicken salad sandwich you’v ever had?
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
Harvest Tofu Salad Sandwiches
Harvest Tofu Salad Sandwich! If you love Panera's chicken salad sandwich, you've gotta try this vegan version! A tip for PERFECT chewy tofu that tastes just like chicken.
- 1/2 cup mayo (I prefer either Just Mayo or Hellman's vegan mayo)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
- 1/3 cup sliced (or halved) seedless red grapes
- 1 package extra-firm tofu
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Press the tofu using a tofu press or by rolling it in paper towels and pressing a heavy object on top.
- Slice tofu into 4 slabs, then cut those into 8 slabs so you have thin strips. Add tofu to a glass baking pan along with vegetable broth, soy sauce, thyme, sage and a few cracks of fresh ground pepper. Bake for 25 minutes until tofu is golden brown, then set aside to cool.
- Once tofu is cool, tear into bite sizes pieces. I find that tearing creates better chunks rather than chopping into cubes, but do whatever is easiest for you.
- Toss cooled tofu chunks with mayo, celery and grapes, then season to taste, if needed, with salt and pepper.
- To serve, start with toasted bread, layer with lettuce (butter lettuce is my favorite here) and thin slices of tomato. Top with a scoop of salad and another piece of toasted bread. Enjoy immediately! Leftover salad will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.