Learn to make the best vegan spinach salad! If you’ve been wondering how to make spinach taste good, this spinach salad vegan recipe is the answer. Whether you’re looking for a gluten free spinach salad, plant based spinach salad, or both, this one’s for you. With plant-based protein and a rainbow of colorful veggies, everyone loves this vegan spinach salad recipe.
This recipe is an update on a salad bowl recipe from 2020. Go here if you’re looking for the Wildflower Bread Chopped Salad recipe.
Is spinach a vegetable or a salad? Spinach is a part of the vegetable group on the MyPlate. When paired with protein and other veggies, spinach makes a great base for a variety of tasty salads.
Unfounded health claims about the magical properties of salad abound on the web. I’d be cautious about claims of this being an anti-inflammatory spinach salad or a detox spinach salad. However, there are lots of good reasons to try and eat more veggies, and I’ve got the details below.
One of the things that I love most about this spinach salad vegetarian recipe is that it has plant based protein. You can pair it with a low protein main dish such as mushroom tacos or cauliflower wings and still have a balanced meal. Alternatively, vegan guests can use this salad as a main course (if you’re serving meat), and still have something satisfying to enjoy.
This vegetarian spinach salad is a step-up from your everyday garden salad. It makes a great potluck dish, and goes great with Italian food or a nice Sunday roast. Why not try it this week- it might become your new favorite side dish!
- 📋 Calories in Spinach Salad
- ⭐ Vegan Spinach Salad Health Benefits
- 🥗 Vegan Spinach Salad Ingredients
- 🥬 Which spinach for salad?
- 🥣 Vegan Spinach Salad Dressing
- 🔪 How to Make Vegan Spinach Salad
- 💡 Vegan Spinach Salad Substitutions
- 🌡️ How to Store Spinach Salad
- 🤔 What to eat with spinach salad?
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Easy Vegan Salad Ideas
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
📋 Calories in Spinach Salad
How many calories in spinach salad? One serving of this veg spinach salad recipe has 366 calories, 36.4 grams net carbs, and 13.3 grams protein. This nutrition information may vary depending on the ingredients and dressing you use, as well as your portion size.
⭐ Vegan Spinach Salad Health Benefits
Why make vegan spinach salad? Here are some nutrition-related reasons you should put this dish on your menu:
- Plant based protein: I've included chickpeas and pecans in this salad, two sources of plant-based protein on the MyPlate. Though this salad isn’t extremely high protein, it will make a satisfying entrée when paired with the smaller amounts of protein in side dishes.
- Main dish or side dish: This vegan spinach salad works great as a main dish salad or a hearty side salad. The protein, fiber, and large volume of veggies in this salad will help keep you full.
- Healthy fat: Pecans in this salad provide heart-healthy unsaturated fats. The salad dressing may provide additional good fats, though you’re welcome to use oil free dressing if you’d prefer.
- Fiber: You get a whopping 11.2 grams of fiber per serving from this healthy spinach salad. If you’ve been looking for ways to increase your fiber intake, this salad is a great choice.
- Phytonutrients: This vegan spinach salad is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. You’re also getting non-essential but beneficial phytonutrients here, including lycopene and various carotenoids.
- No cook vegan salad: A major reason many of us have trouble maintaining a healthy diet is that we feel it’s too hard. This no cook salad recipe makes things easy. Use this recipe for meal prepping, and you’ll have a healthy vegan lunch ready for the next few days.
- Delicious: It doesn’t matter how nutritious a recipe is if it isn’t eaten. Luckily, the medley of colors, textures, and flavors in this pretty salad makes it a joy to eat. This is a great example of how tasty healthy meals can be!
🥗 Vegan Spinach Salad Ingredients
Here’s your shopping list for vegan spinach salad:
- Baby Spinach Leaves
- Grape tomatoes
- Shredded carrots (or carrot ribbons)
- Chopped celery
- Yellow bell pepper
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Candied pecans
- Canned chickpeas (AKA garbanzo beans)
- Vegan balsamic dressing
Specific quantities of ingredients are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post!
I used candied pecans here, but feel free to use plain roasted pecans to skip the added sugar. If you do this, I recommend toasting the pecans to really make the flavor pop.
Use a gluten free and vegan salad dressing if you need this salad to fit one of those diets. If you’re on a low calorie diet, I would look for a dressing that is 50 calories or less for 2 tablespoons.
The kitchen equipment you need for this salad are a good knife and large meal prep salad containers. Ideally, your salad containers have separate lidded dressing cups. Here are the salad containers I use.
🥬 Which spinach for salad?
I recommend using baby spinach for most salads. Baby spinach leaves are often ready to use, typically sold prewashed in bags or hard plastic containers. If you have big leaves of spinach, you should rinse them, remove thick stems, and chop the leaves into smaller pieces.
🥣 Vegan Spinach Salad Dressing
I’m using balsamic vinaigrette, but there are lots of other types of dressing for a spinach salad out there. You can choose an oil free salad dressing, if that’s your preference, or try one of these ideas:
- Sweet poppyseed dressing
- Oil and vinegar
- Oil and lemon juice with garlic
- Tahini dressing
- Vegan honey mustard dressing
🔪 How to Make Vegan Spinach Salad
Begin by preparing all of the ingredients. Cut the grape tomatoes in half, shred the carrots, and drain the chickpeas.
Cut the celery into ¼-inch dice (0.6 cm). Seed the yellow pepper and cut into ½-inch dice (1.27 cm). Peel the red onion, cut it into half, then slice it into thin half-moons.
Now it’s time to assemble the salads. Divide the baby spinach between four salad bowls. Top each bowl with an equal amount of tomatoes, carrots, celery, pepper, red onion, and drained chickpeas. Finish each salad with a sprinkle of the candied pecans.
Don’t dress the salads until right before serving; this will keep the spinach crisp. The spinach will get soggy if allowed to sit in the dressing for too long. Enjoy!
💡 Vegan Spinach Salad Substitutions
The example above is just one version of the many vegan spinach salad recipes you can make. There are actually endless possibilities to get a variety of textures, colors, and flavors in your salad. Here are some other things to add to vegan spinach salad:
Both fresh fruits and dried fruits work well in salad. They add sweetness so added sugars like maple syrup may not be needed. Here are a few of my favorite fruits to add to vegan salad:
- Sliced apples
- Dried cranberries
- Dried cherries
- Dried apricots
Both non-starchy veggies and starchy vegetables work wonderfully in salads. Starchy veggies are a healthy source of complex carbohydrates, and can add more energy to your salads. Here are some other veggies for vegan spinach salad:
- Sliced fennel
- Sliced mushrooms (technically counts as a veggie on the MyPlate)
- Roasted red peppers
- Roasted butternut squash
- Aromatics such as garlic, ginger, and green onions
- Sweet potatoes
We’re not adding ingredients like bacon, eggs, and feta cheese in this salad. Lucky for us, we have a lot of options for animal free protein. Here are a few:
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Pinto beans
- Sliced seitan
Every salad can benefit from a bit of crunch. Here are a few ways to add some to yours:
- Sliced almonds
- Walnuts and other nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Tortilla strips
Creamy ingredients for a vegan salad could include avocado or a creamy salad dressing made with silken tofu or olive oil. High fat ingredients like nuts and seeds can also add that fatty mouthfeel you get with creamy ingredients.
You can also add grains such as quinoa or rice to salad. The salad combinations possible are really only limited by your imagination!
🌡️ How to Store Spinach Salad
You can keep leftover vegan spinach salad in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Keep the dressing separate until serving time. Do not freeze this salad.
🤔 What to eat with spinach salad?
What goes with spinach salad? Here are a few sides and main dishes that go with spinach salad:
- Vegan Gazpacho (Raw Soup)
- Air Fryer Garlic Bread
- Air Fryer Eggplant Parm
- Tempeh Bolognese
- Sandwich (pick your favorite!)
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). This is essentially a huge bowl of (primarily) non-starchy veggies topped with a light vinaigrette. It's incredibly high in volume while being under 400 calories. Volume eaters with a fat loss goal might dig this vegan salad bowl. So much food!
Use a high fat dressing or add more nuts if you have higher energy needs. Another way you could add more energy (i.e., calories) to the meal is to add some bread or crackers on the side.
The amount and type of dressing you use can have a big impact on the nutrition info for this dish. Some salad dressings provide over 200 calories per 2 tablespoons, while others are under 50.
If you choose a dressing high in fat or sugar, you could unknowingly add an additional 100-150 calories per serving. (Or more, if you tend to be generous with pouring dressing on salads.)
Balsamic dressing tends to be a lighter salad dressing option, but check the label. All store-bought salad dressings are not created equal!
Vegan wilted spinach salad is easy to make; just wilt the spinach in a pan before composing your salad. BBC Good Food has this easy recipe that can be made vegan by skipping the bacon and using vegan butter. You could also substitute coconut bacon for the bacon in the recipe.
Yes, you can eat spinach raw. If your bagged spinach was already washed (sometimes the bag says “triple washed”) you don’t even have to rinse it before eating. How’s that for convenience?
To make this spinach salad low carb, swap out the chickpeas for edamame or cooked and chopped chicken. You also need to use a low carb friendly salad dressing (sugar free dressing).
👩🏻🍳 Other Easy Vegan Salad Ideas
Need more easy vegan salad recipes? You can make any of the salads below vegan by swapping out the chicken for your favorite vegan protein:
And while you’re here, why not check out our entire collection of Vegan Recipes?
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Vegan Spinach Salad Recipe with Balsamic Salad Dressing
- 12 ounces baby spinach (340 grams)
- 12 ounces grape tomatoes (340 grams)
- ½ cup shredded carrots (about ½ carrot)
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- 1 medium yellow pepper (7 ounces/198 grams)
- ¼ medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cans chickpeas (15½ ounces/439 grams per can)
- ½ cup candied pecans
- ½ cup vegan balsamic dressing
- Cut the grape tomatoes in half, shred the carrots, and drain the chickpeas. Cut the celery into ¼-inch dice (0.6 cm).
- Seed the yellow pepper and cut into ½-inch dice (1.27 cm). Peel the red onion, cut it in half, then slice it into thin half-moons.
- Divide the baby spinach between four salad bowls. Top each bowl with an equal amount of tomatoes, carrots, celery, pepper, red onion, and drained chickpeas. Finish each salad with a sprinkle of the candied pecans.
- Dress the spinach salads with the balsamic dressing right before serving. This will keep the spinach crisp. Enjoy!