This vegan gado gado bowl is a hearty, rich and filling salad. Packed with various vegetables prepared in different ways, you’re definitely getting your five a day with this bowl of goodness!
Gado gado (translates to ‘mix mix’) is an Indonesian salad filled with raw, boiled and steamed veggies, typically served with boiled eggs, tofu, tempeh, a deliciously rich peanut sauce and prawn crackers.
To keep this gado gado salad recipe vegan, we’re leaving the boiled eggs and prawn crackers off the plate and creating a fully plant-powered version. The other sneaky ingredient that isn’t always vegan is the sambal oelek (aka hot chilli paste), as it can contain shrimp paste.
It’s all in the sauce with a vegan gado gado salad recipe
Without the sauce, this salad is just a bowl of veggies and tempeh. Rather bland and boring, so the sauce is crucial.
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I have simplified the peanut sauce recipe to use everyday ingredients instead of ones you can only find in Asian grocers or the Asian aisle in well-stocked supermarkets. I’m not a fan of having to buy ingredients specifically for one recipe. So this peanut sauce recipe is simple yet delicious!
If the compromise on authenticity isn’t too vast, and you can use healthier alternatives, why not.
The traditional way to make the sauce is by pounding roasted peanuts in a mortar and pestle, and other ingredients are added as it turns into a paste. This is quite a labour-intensive process, so I’ve simplified it by using peanut butter and other easy-to-find ingredients. This is my whole food version of a peanut sauce.
Using tempeh as the choice of protein
I chose to use tempeh because it’s an Indonesian creation, and it felt fitting to use it. You can, however, add tofu or swap it with tofu altogether if that’s what you have access to or prefer.
I typically buy pre-marinated tempeh, so there’s flavour in it already. If you can’t get a hold of pre-marinated tempeh yourself, here’s a quick marinade recipe for you to prepare ahead of time (at least the night before):
- 3 tablespoons broth or stock
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
Add the ingredients to a container and whisk. Place the sliced tempeh pieces inside and make sure that they’re fully submerged. I dip them in and then flip them so that the whole tempeh piece is covered.
Marinade for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight. You’re ready to use it as per the recipe below.
What other ingredients can you add to it?
A gado gado salad is so versatile that you can change what veggies you use based on what you have at home and what’s in season. I do, however, suggest you try the recipe as is as the combination of those veggies together works well.
Other ingredients that can be found in a gado gado bowl are:
- Broccoli or broccolini
- Sweet potato (in place of regular potatoes)
- Asian greens
- Peppers / capsicum
You can also substitute potatoes for rice.
This recipe is a non-authentic version of a gado gado bowl, but an inspiration using a whole foods plant-based philosophy.
It can be enjoyed as a main meal, or you can double the recipe and turn it into a shared plate or platter in the middle of the dining table. Everyone can help themselves to the different components of the salad and drizzle over some of the peanut sauce.
It’s a simple but delicious way to kick start a dinner gathering.
I sometimes like to warm up the peanut sauce on the stove to thicken it a little further and have a warm sauce to pour over my bowl. There’s something comforting about digging into a bowl of veggies and tempeh with a warming element.
I hope you enjoy this colourful and flavourful bowl of goodness as much as I do! It’s a great meal to serve in the warmer months and when you want something that’s nourishing.
Other recipes you’ll love:
- West African Vegan Peanut Soup with Rice Balls
- Lemongrass Tofu
- High Protein Vegan Salad
- Vegan Noodle Bowl (Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Souvlaki (Tofu Skewers)
- Vegan Falafel Bowl
- Vegan Bún Chay Noodle Bowl (Vietnamese Noodle Salad)
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