Easy Vegan Broccoli Salad creates creamy, best vegan salads for barbecues, potlucks, and more. This summer salad is a perfect low carb vegan keto recipe full of energizing ingredients, like broccoli, sunflower seeds, and more. See tips for substituting vegan sour cream or vegan ranch dressing for mayo, and tips to serve this raw or lightly cooked salad cold.
Do you prefer a raw broccoli salad recipe? That’s how I was first introduced to this salad, and I find it a bit too crunchy for my taste. I’ll provide tips for making it both ways, but however you serve it, your body will thank you for it.
Look, I wasn’t sure I could make a broccoli salad vegan recipe. Most recipes call for egg-infused mayo and bacon. After a little bit of time in the kitchen, I was pleased to deliver what I feel is a far superior recipe that’s a perfect side dish and delivers on the broccoli.
If healthy, vegan veggie-focused recipes are your thing, be sure to check out my recipe for Spicy Sesame Zoodles (aka, zucchini noodles). Or you can try my Vegan Banana Green Smoothie for a refreshing start to your day.
How many cups in a head of broccoli?
This size of a head of broccoli varies. However, a typical head of broccoli will yield between 3–4 cups of florets. That means this recipe will require 2 heads of broccoli.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Fresh broccoli florets
- Green onion
- Frozen peas
- Pumpkin seeds
- Vegan mayo
- Apple cider vinegar
- Chia seeds (or ground flax seeds)
- Almond bacon slivers
How to Make Broccoli Salad
Is it possible to make your next broccoli salad vegetarian? I say yes! And, the fact that this is an easy broccoli salad recipe is an added bonus! So, the recipe begins with a somewhat controversial first step:
Step One: Steam the Broccoli
Most broccoli salad recipes call for raw broccoli. If you want a raw vegan broccoli salad, simply skip the steaming step. However, I recommend keep cutting the broccoli florets small.
For me, I prefer making this dairy free broccoli salad with lightly steamed broccoli.
Steam broccoli florets for 2–3 minutes, to make the vibrant green color of the broccoli stand out and to soften the bite just a bit.
Immediately remove it from heat and pour the broccoli into a strainer and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
To make this a raw broccoli salad: make sure to cut the florets into smaller pieces, and allow the broccoli to marinate in the sauce for several hours (or even overnight) before serving.
Step Two: Create the Sauce
In a bowl combine the vegan mayo, vinegar, sweetener, and chia seeds. Stir this together. This may seem a little runny at first, but the chia seeds will thicken it in time.
For a no-mayo sauce: use either vegan sour cream or vegan plain yogurt in place of the egg-free mayo.
Another great alternative is to make broccoli cashew salad. To do that, substitute a simple cashew cream for the vegan mayo.
Note: You can make the cashew cream by soaking 1 cup of raw cashews in water for 1–2 hours. Then drain the soaking water. Add the soaked cashews in a high-speed blender with 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Blend until smooth, stopping to wipe down the blender jar as necessary. This should take about 1–2 minutes in a high-speed blender or up to 4 minutes with regular blenders or food processors.
Step Three: Assemble The Salad
In a serving bowl, toss together the broccoli, chopped green onions, frozen peas, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and raisins. Pour the sauce over the top and stir to make sure the entire salad is coated.
Cover and refrigerate this gluten-free broccoli salad for at least an hour or up to overnight before serving.
Optional Step Four: Add Veggie Bacon to Serve
I use vegan bacon with this salad, but I don’t add it until right before time to serve to help keep the bacon crunchy and/or flavorful. Here are some places you can find vegan bacon:
- Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon (available at Sprouts and many health food stores)
- Lightlife Smart Bacon (available at Sprouts and many health food stores)
- Homemade Almond Bacon Slivers works here, too
- These vegan tempeh bacon strips can be crumbled over this salad
- You can even use Better Crocker Bac-os Bits which are accidentally vegan
So, just sprinkle the veggie bacon over the top of the salad immediately before serving and you’ll retain some of that crispiness for the vegan broccoli salad. It’s perfect that way.
Every time I bring this vegan broccoli salad along, it’s a hit!
Broccoli Salad with Cranberries
You can add dried cranberries in place of the raisins to make a broccoli cranberry salad. I love colorful food, and the added color from the dried cranberries in contrast with the green broccoli is stunning!
There’s something so colorful and delicious about a broccoli salad with sunflower seeds and cranberries. Besides, broccoli salad with craisins is easy to make. I can buy craisins in bulk at Sprouts too.
You don’t have to wait for a family party to make this vegan broccoli salad with no mayo. It’s good for a Tuesday night home dinner as well.
What Main Dish Goes Well with Broccoli Salad?
Also, you can serve it alongside some Vegan Egg Salad sandwiches too!
How Many Calories and Carbs in Broccoli Salad?
The estimated nutritional information for this vegan broccoli salad is:
Calories: 162 Carbs 10g Protein: 2g Fiber: 2g Net Carbs: 8g
This is a low-calorie salad but also low carb and therefore you can serve this salad as part of your vegan keto diet.
If you love vegan salads, be sure and check out these:
How about some more vegan broccoli recipes? This Vegan Pasta Salad includes broccoli. And, so does this Vegan Pasta Bake recipe! And this Vegan Broccoli Soup is so easy to make and absolutely delicious!
Vegan Broccoli Salad
- Use your favorite steaming method (microwave or stove-top) to lightly steam the broccoli. I steamed mine for maybe 2–3 minutes. Once you've achieved the desired tenderness, remove the broccoli from heat, pour it into a strainer, and run with cold water to stop the cooking process. (Be careful when handling hot broccoli!) I like to put the chopped onion on top of the still warm broccoli. I think it helps to tenderize the onion a bit for the salad.
- In a small bowl combine the vegan mayo, vinegar, agave nectar, and chia seeds. If the dressing appears a little runny, don't worry. The chia seeds will cause the dressing to thicken quite nicely (besides adding some healthy Omega-3s to the nutrient mix).
Assembling the Vegan Broccoli Salad:
- Place broccoli, sunflowers, chopped onion, sunflower seeds, raisins, and peas in a large serving bowl. Add the dressing to the salad and toss all the ingredients together to thoroughly spread the dressing throughout.
- Refrigerate the salad until ready to serve.
- When you're ready to serve, prepare the Bacon Almond Slivers (or vegan bacon product…see note below) according to the recipe instructions.
- Immediately before serving add the bacon almond slivers (or crumbled vegan bacon product) over the salad and serve.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
We hope you enjoy this delicious, healthy, and easy vegan broccoli salad!