I’m on a mission to translate my favorite comfort foods into substantial, protein-packed cold salads. With the help of my Universal Vegan Cold Salad Dressing, I have turned the humble teriyaki chicken bowl into a delicious and creamy cold salad that’s fancy enough to be served as a side at a party, but satisfying enough to be eaten as the entire meal. With the help of my Universal Vegan Cold Salad Dressing, it’s packed full of protein and vitamins, with only about 25% of the calories of a vegan mayo-based dressing.
Let’s talk about what you’ll need to make this incredible vegan cold salad:
- Universal Cold Salad Dressing (recipe below) – This tofu-based super creamy dressing is years in the making. It all started a couple of years ago with a few cold salad recipes that I wanted to make vegan, without vegan mayo, but with the creaminess of a mayo-based dressing… I could go on and on, so click HERE if you want to read my whole “journey” with this sauce.
- Monson’s Famous Teriyaki Sauce (recipe below) – I developed this recipe out of a love of, and a failed Google recipe search for, the teriyaki sauce from Teriyaki Madness. I think mine is pretty spot-on. If you wanted to, you could just use your favorite prepared teriyaki sauce, but when you see how easy it is to make your own, you’ll probably never buy it again.
Pantry Staples (contains affiliate links):
- Soy Curls – Soy Curls are becoming more and more available, but they can also be ordered online. They really are the perfect “chicken” for this salad because they have the right texture, and they absorb the teriyaki sauce really well. If you were not interested in using Soy Curls, you could substitute in firm tofu that you’re seared on all sides, or even chopped up bits of frozen (and then cooked) vegan chicken-style nuggets.
- water or broth – The Soy Curls need to be hydrated, and my favorite way to do that is with hot water and No Chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon. The only problem is that the “No Chicken” flavor is impossible to find. If you can’t find it, just use water, your favorite vegetable broth, or my favorite umami-bomb Granulated Mushroom Bouillon.
- Sesame oil – If you wanted to make this dish oil-free, you could just saute the hydrated Soy Curls in a nonstick pan. I love the flavor that toasted sesame oil imparts, and I never pass up an opportunity to add another layer of flavor.
- Sesame seeds – Regular toasted or black sesame seeds will work in this dish. They are there to make things look pretty, but they also add a great texture and flavor. If you can’t get already toasted sesame seeds, then you can toss them in a dry pan for a few minutes to get them fragrant and toasty.
- Short grain rice – My default, go-to rice is always short grain, Calrose, or sushi. You could use any rice you want in this dish. I think that a shorter grain rice is more true to the teriyaki bowl inspiration, but I won’t judge you if you prefer a long grain or jasmine rice.
- Seasoned rice wine vinegar – Also called “sushi vinegar”, this is a pre-seasoned rice wine vinegar that’s sour, sweet, and salty. You could just use unseasoned rice wine vinegar, or whatever vinegar you have on hand, and then adjust for seasoning.
- Red cabbage – Teriyaki chicken bowls seem to always come with a side of steamed “veggies”, which always seem to be just steamed cabbage. So, when translating this dish into a cold salad, I thought that the cabbage needed to stay. I had red on hand, so that’s what I used, and I’m very happy with that choice. Not only does the red cabbage add a bit of crunch and sweetness, but it also adds a pop of color. Don’t have red? Use whatever you’ve got. Maybe even add some shredded carrot for sweetness and color.
- Red onion – Just like the red cabbage, I had red onion already cut up when I first tested this recipe, and it’s stuck. Red onion adds a great spiciness and a bit of sweetness, and like the red cabbage, it adds a pop of color to an otherwise bleak-looking dish.
- Fresno chili – Of course I needed to add a bit of spice to this dish. In addition to their sweet heat, Fresnos also add a pop of color. You could sub in your favorite hot pepper if you can’t find Fresnos, or just use red bell pepper if you’re trying to keep things mild.
- Shelled edamame – Not fresh, and not a pantry staple, but definitely a freezer staple. Frozen shelled edamame adds a great texture and color to this dish, and it bumps up the protein quotient even higher. Just thaw them a bit before adding them to the salad. If you wanted to add more frozen veggies to this dish, sweet corn would also work great.
- Green onion – Color, flavor… are you sensing a trend here?
- Cilantro – Cilantro has become my default herb for flavor and, you guessed it, color. Not a fan? Leave it out, sub in parsley, or celery leaves.
Vegan Teriyaki “Chicken” Bowl Salad
My Universal Cold Salad Dressing turns a Japanese takeout favorite into a protein-packed vegan cold salad.
- 4 ounces dry Soy Curls
- 1 cup hot water or broth
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup Monson’s Famous Teriyaki Sauce (recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 3 cups cooked short grain rice or rice of choice (about 1 ½ cups dry), chilled
- 1 cup chopped red cabbage
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 1 Fresno chili, minced
- ½ cup shelled edamame
- 2 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 to 1 ½ cups Universal Cold Salad Dressing (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons Monson’s Famous Teriyaki Sauce
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon toasted or black sesame seeds
- Prepare one batch each of Universal Cold Salad Dressing and Monson’s Famous Teriyaki Sauce.
- Begin by breaking up any large Soy Curls into bite-sized pieces. Fully hydrate the soy curls in hot water or broth for about 10 minutes.
Heat a nonstick or seasoned cast iron skillet on medium-high heat; add sesame oil. Squeeze excess liquid from hydrated Soy Curls, and add them to the hot pan. Saute until just golden browned, and slightly chewy. Turn the heat to low, and add teriyaki sauce. Stir continuously until the sauce is almost fully evaporated and stuck to the soy curls. Sprinkle on sesame seeds and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine chilled rice, onions, cabbage, edamame, and seasoned rice vinegar. Toss until the veggies are evenly distributed, and there are no longer any large clumps of rice. Add Universal Cold Salad Dressing, and stir. Taste for salt and seasoning, and add more dressing to taste.
Just before serving, stir in half of the Teriyaki “Chicken” Soy Curls, and more dressing to taste. Top the salad with the remaining soy curls, a drizzle of teriyaki sauce, green onion, cilantro, and sesame seeds.
Universal Cold Salad Dressing
- 1 12 ounce package firm or extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
- ½ cup raw cashews*
- 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (omit to make oil-free)
- 1 small clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- black pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend for about 1 minutes, until there are no flecks of cashews, and the mixture is emulsified.
* If you aren’t using a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or even a NutriBullet, then you should soak your cashews in cool water for a few hours before blending. You can also do a “quick soak” by simmering the cashews in hot water for about 10 minutes
Monson’s Famous Teriyaki Sauce
The best, restaurant style teriyaki sauce.
- ¼ cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos of low sodium soy sauce
- 1 ¼ cup water divided
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar or 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- In a saucepan, combine Liquid Aminos, 1 cup water, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, and agave. Bring to a simmer. Mix ¼ cup water with cornstarch, and pour into the simmering sauce. Stir continually until sauce turns from opaque and milky to clear and shimmering. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature before storming in the fridge for up to a week.