Breakfast Kale Salad is all the goodness of a breakfast sandwich without the bread. Instead, it's all piled into a big, beautiful bowl.
This Breakfast Kale Salad is a take on my son's favorite breakfast sandwich, veganized and bowlified.
So here's a toddler pickiness phase I would never have anticipated: my kid doesn't like bread. Well, that's not totally true.
He likes a piece of toast on weekday mornings, but if we are talking about sandwiches, he just dissects them, leaving the bread behind.
On the weekends, we like to hit Dulce Vegan for brunch at least once, and Darrol Henry loves to order their breakfast sandwiches. He asks for an English muffin with kale, tempeh bacon, avocado, and vegan cheese. Every time.
And every time, the poor English muffin gets tossed callously aside. After watching him waste half of his brunch for weeks, I decided to order him a breakfast sandwich without the bread. Here's what they brought him:
Y'all, he loved it. I helped him eat some of the kale, but this was a total clean plate club situation.
It also got me thinking that I could probably come up with a proper Breakfast Kale Salad that felt more intentional than what we cobbled together from toppings on the fly.
To be honest, I'm not crazy about bread, either. I'll take a bowl over a sandwich any day.
Without the bread, all of the salty, savory, creamy goodness of those breakfast sandwich ingredients can shine, undiluted. It is seriously a party in your mouth, as my sister-in-law, Liz, likes to say.
To research the best toppings for loading up my homemade Breakfast Kale Salad, I asked some friends for their favorite loaded breakfast sandwich. There were a lot of common themes, and I sort of cherry-picked to create this recipe.
You begin with a base of simple, massaged kale, then pile on avocado, vegan bacon, tomato, and scrambled tofu. Then drizzle on a slightly modified version of my creamy, homemade Cashew Carrot Sauce.
Check out the video above to see how easy it is to make the Cashew Carrot sauce, and get the written recipes for the Breakfast Kale Salad and the sauce below!
Breakfast Kale Salad with Creamy Cashew-Carrot Sauce
For the Salad
- 1 block extra firm tofu - pressed and cubed
- 1 6-ounce package tempeh bacon - chopped into 1" pieces
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon each onion powder and garlic powder
- 4 cups kale - chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 fresh lemon - juice only
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup grape tomatoes - sliced
- ¼ cup chopped green onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Haas avocado - chopped
Creamy Cashew Carrot Sauce
- 1 large carrot - chopped into 1" pieces
- ½ cup cashew butter - at room temperature
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- ⅓ cup water
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cloves garlic
- extra water - as needed
- salt and white pepper - to taste – You’ll need more salt if your cashew butter is unsalted.
Make the Breakfast Kale Salad
- In a medium bowl, toss together the tofu cubes with the bacon, soy sauce, turmeric, onion powder, and garlic powder. Set aside to marinate.
- In a large bowl, toss together the kale, lemon juice, salt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Massage the kale until it wilts, then toss in the tomato and green onion. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill.
- In a large frying pan, heat the other tablespoon of oil on medium high. Add the tofu mixture and any marinade from the bowl, and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the bacon gets crispy edges, about 7 minutes. As you stir, you can use the spoon to break up the tofu, if you prefer it more crumbled than cubed. You’ll need to stir more frequently toward the end of cooking time. That tempeh loves to stick when the pan starts getting dry!
- Pull the kale salad out of the fridge, top with the cooked tofu mixture and avocado and drizzle on the Creamy Cashew Sauce. Add more green onions, if you like, and serve.
Make the Cashew Carrot Sauce
- Steam the carrots for 5-7 minutes. You want them fork-tender.
- Combine the carrots, cashew butter, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, onion powder, and garlic in your blender. Puree until smooth, adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time, as needed to reach a creamy consistency. With a high speed blender, I haven’t needed extra water, but with a regular blender, you might need a little bit of extra liquid to get things moving smoothly.
- Stir in salt and pepper, to taste.
I would like to try the cheesy carrot sauce recipe but I didn't want to spend $30 for a bag of nutrional yeast and then not like the recipe. Can the yeast be omitted? What exactly does it do for the recipe? As I am not an experienced cook, I'd appreciate any thoughts or suggestions you may have. Thanks.
Oh dear! I'm sorry that nutritional yeast is so pricey where you are. At the grocery store near me, it is available in shakers for around $5-6. This is the brand that I find at Kroger or Whole Foods near me: https://amzn.to/3ukEOs4
You could omit it, but the nooch is what gives this sauce its cheesy flavor. I can't vouch for the recipe with a major ingredient omitted, unfortunately.
What could I use instead of carrots? I'm trying to avoid high-carb and high sugar-content vegetables. Thank you. --Elizabeth
Roasted red peppers might be a good sub, but I can't guarantee results, since I haven't tested this recipe with other vegetables.
Thanks, Becky. I just ended up using peanut butter, milk, and a bit of almond flour to bind for the sauce. Probably horrifying to you. But it actually worked fine. The combo of the kale, oo, lemon (lime in my case), and the subtle hint of soy sauce (I was tempted to pour it on to make it less dry, but resisted, and am glad I did) was surprisingly delicious. Thank you!
Delicious and rides and tastes like comfort food! Thanks for the recipe.
Made it today. So delicious!
Oh yay! Thank you for taking the time to come back, rate, and comment. That means a lot to me!
Made this tonight as a first foray into meatless eating, lured by the promise of a creamy sauce :) VERY tasty & soooo filling, could not finish dinner portion & i’m a glutton! Taste buds satisfied & hunger signals switched off completely which is a lovely & rare experience. Will be making again, thank you!
I'm so glad that I could make your first meatless meal a satisfying one! Thank you for coming back to leave such a thoughtful comment, RW!
Jonathan is a bread hater so he might be on board with this!!! And I'm excited that you used cashew butter in this—I bet I could sub tahini butter in the cheese sauce to keep it nut free? Yum, yum, YUM!!!
You definitely can!
Vanessa @ VeganFamilyRecipes
OMG! I'm dying over that picture of your toddler. He is absolutely adorable. Oh and that cashew carrot sauce is screaming my name! looks absolutely delicious! Can't wait to give it a try.
Aw, thank you! He is 3 1/2, and so much fun! I mean, he's still a toddler. But overall a joy. :D
Sophia | Veggies Don't Bite
I love mixing it up for brekkie!! I often do veggie stir fries and potatoes but this looks amazing. And that little guy is too cute!
Thank you! I think so too and am not biased at all!
The vegan 8
That carrot sauce looks wonderful and delicious!
Thank you, Brandi!
Now, this is the way to start a day!! I always feel like it sets such a good tone when I get greens in first thing. But I could happily eat this salad any time, day or night.
I know what you mean. Meals feel more complete to me with some greens in there.
I'd have salad for breakfast every day, if they all looked as good as this!
Thank you, Dianne!
Aimee | Wallflower Kitchen
I want that misadventures of flapjack tshirt!! Also, this sounds amazing. I love the idea of a breadless sandwich bowl.
I am so jazzed that you're a Flapjack fan! I feel like that show didn't get the following it deserved.
Mel | avirtualvegan.com
I love this breakfast idea. Who says you have to eat toast and oatmeal for breakfast everyday? I would love to start my day with this. it looks so tasty! Loving your mug too by the way ;O)
Thank you, Mel! The mug is one of my faves. It was a hostess gift from a good friend, and it was made by a local crafter!
I agree about bread. I mean, I love bread, but most restaurant sandwiches use that super thick bread that takes over the whole sandwich. You almost can't taste anything else. I love the idea of a breakfast sandwich in a bowl. Give me all the toppings! And double the sauce please! :)
Haha I'm glad I'm not alone! :D