There are three things you need to host an epic vegan picnic: a cozy blanket, great friends, and Vegan Egg Salad!
Think of this vegan egg salad recipe as a “grown-up” version of the classic picnic dish. Not only is it plant-based and looks just like real egg salad, but it also has a deceptive egginess and lots of fresh flavors that everyone will love.
It’s really simple to make, too. Tiny tofu pieces are marinated in a zesty and creamy dressing. This incredible egg salad can be layered between slices of bread slathered with a homemade avocado spread or customized to your liking. This egg salad stays good for 5-6 days, so it’s also a great meal prep option for weekday lunches (and it’s vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free)!
Why this recipe works
Tastes like eggs!
You may trick a few people with this recipe… The flavor is convincingly eggy, despite being vegan!
This is all thanks to a combination of vegan mayo, sweet pickle relish, Dijon mustard, dill, and scallions. Each one brings the classic American egg salad flavors to the creamy dressing, while kala namak (black salt) introduces a very realistic egg flavor.
Perfect egg salad texture
The same is true for this tofu egg salad. Firm tofu is chopped into very small pieces (instead of crumbled), just like how real soft-boiled eggs are prepared for egg salad. This adds more textural interest and makes each bite delightful instead of a monotonous mush.
Also, good vegan mayo is key for adding that distinctly rich mouthfeel to every bite. It gives the dressing a decadent baseline while relish brings a subtle tang and red onions add a sharp pungency and slight crunch.
A great make-ahead lunch
The egg salad stays fresh and still tastes great even after being stored in the fridge for 5 or 6 days, making it a flavorful, exciting, and protein-packed recipe for your vegan meal prep! All you need to do is make a big batch on Sunday so you have lunch prepared for the week ahead.
As for serving, the options are endless. Use it as a quick stuffing when you’re craving a vegan egg salad sandwich, add a generous scoop on top of a salad, or stuff it into lettuce cups for something lighter. Have fun and get creative!
Firm tofu is well, firm, yet somewhat soft. It isn’t as delicate as soft tofu but still isn’t as tough or chewy as super firm tofu. All of these qualities make firm tofu our go-to choice when creating tofu egg recipes, like our Tofu Scramble.
Here, it’s chopped into pea-sized pieces that give the egg salad a shockingly similar texture to real diced soft-boiled eggs; firm, yet soft, and never mushy.
Substitute: Extra firm tofu works when you can’t find firm tofu. This variety contains even less water, which means you only need to press the slabs for 10 minutes.
I used to hate the heavy gloopy texture and off-putting smell of regular mayonnaise in egg salad. But vegan mayo? It’s lighter yet still creamy, doesn’t smell funky, and works wonders in this grown-up version!
It’s used as the base of the egg salad dressing and is responsible for the creamy and rich mouthfeel and subtle tang while skipping the heaviness of real mayo.
The almost indistinguishable eggy flavor in this salad is all thanks to kala namak, AKA Indian black salt or Himalayan black salt. It’s a type of volcanic, kiln-fired salt that comes with a pungent sulfur smell/taste that isn’t to be messed with. A little goes a long way and is a must in vegan egg substitutes like this!
Where to buy: You can buy black salt from Indian grocers, South Asian grocery stores, or online (affiliate link).
These fermented yeast flakes work their magic to give the egg salad a hefty punch of umami, which replaces some of the natural umami found in egg yolks.
Sweet pickle relish
Classic egg salad often contains sweet pickle relish or dill pickle relish for a distinct and irresistible tangy flavor and very subtle sweetness. Here, sweet pickle relish does the trick to bring nostalgia into every bite, while also balancing the rest of the heavier, savory flavors.
Substitute: Use dill relish if you don’t have sweet pickle relish. Or, at the very least, chop up some dill pickles and throw them in instead.
First, press the tofu by slicing the brick into 4 slabs, then lay a thin dish towel and paper towels over top. Weigh them down with a heavy cookbook and wait for the water to drain for 20 minutes.
Slice the 4 slabs into 8 slivers (you should have 32 slivers total). Then cut the slivers into pea-sized cubes.
Next, make the dressing by whisking the vegan mayo, relish, nutritional yeast, mustard, kala namak, turmeric, paprika, and black pepper in a bowl.
Pulse the capers, scallions, and dill together in a food processor, or finely mince them by hand. They should be mixed well, but still have a chunky texture.
To put the egg salad together, add the tofu cubes and caper-dill mixture into the bowl with the dressing. Stir gently to coat the tofu in the dressing/capers.
Give it a taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Then cover the bowl and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Store leftovers in the fridge for 5 to 6 days.
Tips for making this recipe
Cut the tofu very finely
Traditional egg salad is made by grating or finely chopping soft-boiled eggs. This brings a rich mouthfeel and interesting texture. The same can be done for vegan egg salad when you chop pressed firm tofu into very fine, pea-sized pieces.
Take your time during this step – review the step-by-step photos above and read the instructions in the recipe card to achieve the right shape and size.
I do not recommend crumbling the tofu like you would to make tofu taco meat or sofritas. The tiny and inconsistent crumbles give the salad a monotonous mushy texture that’s nothing like the real thing.
“Marinate” the tofu
This step isn’t as elaborate as a traditional marinated tofu but by allowing the tofu pieces to soak in the mayo dressing, you’ll end up with the best flavored egg salad.
“Marinate” the tofu for 30 minutes (or longer): this is enough time for all of the flavors in the dressing to marry together and soak into the tofu.
Skipping the marinating step will leave you with essentially raw tofu covered in egg salad dressing… no thanks.
Serve with avocado spread
For the best vegan egg salad sandwich, don’t skip the avocado spread. The avocado is fatty and creamy and pairs perfectly with the tofu egg salad. Plus, it’s quick and easy to put together and brings serious indulgent and comforting qualities to every bite.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you can’t find firm tofu, use extra firm tofu instead. Press it for just 5 to 10 minutes because it has less water than firm tofu.
Tofu is the very best option for this salad because it’s a master at replicating the texture of chopped soft-boiled eggs. But if you have a soy allergy, try using canned chickpeas instead. Pulse them a few times in a food processor to give them a softer and smoother texture.
You could also use chickpeas and hearts of palm, the same duo I use in my Vegan Tuna Salad. Together, they become creamy and indulgent and give the salad a realistic hearty and chunky texture.
My favorite way to serve vegan egg salad is on toasted bread with the avocado spread, tomatoes, cucumber, and lettuce for egg salad sandwiches! And if you don’t have bread, swap it for a tortilla to make wraps instead. If you’re gluten-free, use gluten-free bread or wraps (the egg salad itself is gluten-free).
Or, instead of the bread, scoop the egg salad into lettuce cups or on top of a bed of leafy greens for a healthy lunch or light dinner.
Hosting a picnic? Make sure to bring a batch of vegan egg salad! It would pair perfectly with this Sweet and Spicy Smashed Cucumber Salad, Homemade Hummus, and Vegan Pasta Salad.
The leftovers are fantastic for a healthy after-school snack. Take the salad out of the fridge, serve it with plenty of sturdy crackers and veggies for dipping, and enjoy!
Our go-to brand of vegan mayo is Follow Your Heart Vegenaise because it’s creamy, has a lovely flavor, subtle tang, and is widely available. It tastes just like classic mayo but better and has no artificial aftertaste. I also like Sir Kensington’s vegan mayo, and I’ve heard good things about Hellman’s vegan mayo but haven’t tried it myself.
The leftover egg salad will stay flavorful and fresh for 5 to 6 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Store it separately (not in sandwich form; the bread will get soggy).
If you love this Vegan Egg Salad, please give it a rating and review below! And of course, tag me with your remakes on Instagram!
- 1 = (14-ounce/400g) block firm tofu, drained (see Note 1)
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon (70g) vegan mayo
- 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish or dill relish
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon kala namak (Indian black salt) (see Note 2)
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- ¼ cup (24g) roughly chopped scallions, light green and white parts only (or chives)
- ¼ cup (5g) tightly packed fresh dill leaves, roughly chopped
- Kosher salt or sea salt, as needed
- ¼ cup (30g) very finely diced red onion (optional)
For egg salad sandwiches (see Note 3)
- 1 medium or large ripe avocado
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A couple squeezes of lemon juice
- A squeeze of Dijon mustard (optional, to taste)
- 8 slices of bread of choice
- Sandwich fixings: lettuce leaves, cucumber ribbons or slices, sliced tomatoes, pickles or pickled red onions
- Prepare the tofu. Slice the tofu lengthwise into 4 slabs. Cover the tofu with a thin dish towel or several paper towels. Weight down the tofu with a heavy cookbook. Press for 20 minutes, changing the towels in between. Or use a tofu press. Now slice each of the 4 slabs lengthwise into about 8 slivers, so you have 32 slivers. Now cut each sliver into pea-sized cubs (very tiny cubes).
- Make the dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together vegan mayo, relish, nutritional yeast, mustard, kala namak, turmeric, paprika, and black pepper to taste.
- In a food processor, pulse together the capers, scallions, and dill until mixed up but still chunky. Or, use a knife to very finely chop the ingredients together.
- Make the egg salad. Add the tofu cubes and the caper mixture to the mayo dressing. If using red onion, add it in as well. Stir gently to coat all the tofu pieces without crushing them. Taste for seasonings, adding a pinch of salt and black pepper as needed. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or more) before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
- If you're making egg salad sandwiches, make the avocado spread just before serving. Using a fork, mash the avocado in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a touch of Dijon mustard. Taste, adding more lemon juice or mustard as desired.
- Lightly toast each slice of bread using a toaster, toaster oven, underneath your broiler, or in a frying pan with some oil or cooking spray.
- Assemble the sandwiches. Spread some of the avocado spread on one slice of bread, then add your sandwich toppings of choice. Follow with a generous amount of the vegan egg salad. Top with the remaining slice of bread. Repeat with remaining bread. Serve with pickles on the side, if desired. If keeping leftovers, store the tofu salad separately (it will stay good in the fridge for 5 to 6 days).
- If you can’t find firm tofu, use extra firm tofu instead. It will only need to be pressed for 5 to 10 minutes because it has less water than firm tofu.
- Kala namak is what gives the egg salad its distinctive eggy taste. You can buy it from Indian grocers, South Asian grocery stores, or online (affiliate link).
- The nutrition info is just for the egg salad and does not include the sandwich option.