This Vegan Crispy Cajun Fried Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing is the ultimate healthy indulgent salad! It’s topped with a vegan version of Honey Mustard Dressing and SO crave-worthy!
I know, this title is a mouthful. Vegan Crispy Cajun Fried Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing. Let me explain. Back in college, before turning vegetarian then vegan, my favourite salad in the whole world was the Crispy Cajun-Fried Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing from TGI Fridays.
Okay, maybe not in the whole world, but definitely my part of the world and the salad that was most available to me. It was made up of lots of lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, eggs, Monterey-Jack cheese and fried chicken strips on top. Now, while I’ve made a whole barrage of beautiful and interesting salads on JITK over the years, I’ve never recreated this one. Good grief, one day last month the craving for it hit me like a brick.
So recreate I did.
I’ve made this three times in the last two weeks. I honestly can’t stop devouring that entire salad over and over. Vegan Crispy Cajun Fried Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing. WOW. I used tofu to replace the chicken, and of course you could use seitan if you wanted something muchhh closer in texture. But all I really wanted was some really well pressed tofu. The less water, the more of a chew it gets, like chicken. Breaded in flour, vegan buttermilk, and then panko breadcrumbs, it pan fries in a bit of oil to crisp up. Then comes the salad. I used grape tomatoes instead of the huge tomatoes I used to get, I didn’t even try to replace the eggs, I shredded red cabbage and carrots. Honestly, the first time I made this I didn’t use the red cabbage or carrots. It makes a DIFFERENCE. Trust me.
I know what you’re probably thinking at this point. “Honey mustard dressing?!” Okay, I’ll admit, there’s no honey. However I wanted to keep this recipe super consistent to the original and it’s made with honey mustard dressing, and this vegan version tastes just like honey mustard dressing. I mean seriously – Gavin and I are starting to wonder if they ever did use actual honey in the original? Because it’s an exact match taste for taste. Anyway, this creamy dressing is made up on vegan mayonnaise, maple syrup and mustard. It makes the perfect creamy topping for this salad.
Happiness. That’s what I felt eating this. Knowing I was having loads of greens, but also some indulgence with the crisp cajun fried tofu topping. There’s something about hitting a nostalgic feeling right on the head that brings the ultimate kind of happiness.
I hope my story inspires you to try this salad friends! P.S. weirdly enough, the leftover are even better that the original! I reheated the tofu strips in my toaster oven the next day (I made extra) and they tasted even more like the original salad. So, if you’re making extra of this, you certainly can!
Eat up and enjoy, friends!
*If you can’t find gluten free panko breadcrumbs, you can make it by toasting some gluten free bread, then pulsing it in your food processor or blender until it turns into breadcrumbs. The toasting gives them that panko effect.
**My favourite gluten free flour brand is Bob’s Red Mill.
PLEASE adjust these quantities to the way you want your salad!
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