Vegan Broccoli Salad

This easy vegan broccoli salad creates a creamy, crunchy salad that’s great for barbecues, potlucks, and more. This summer salad is a perfect low-carb keto recipe full of energizing ingredients, like broccoli and sunflower seeds. See tips for substituting vegan sour cream or vegan ranch dressing for mayo, and tips to serve this raw or lightly-cooked salad cold.

a bowl of Vegan Broccoli Salad with pumpkin seeds in the background and more broccoli.

Do you prefer a raw broccoli salad? 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.

I love veggie-focused recipes such as these Spicy Sesame Zoodles (aka, zucchini noodles) or Vegan Banana Green Smoothie for a refreshing start to the day. Incorporating plant-based dishes into your everyday diet is the way to go!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Lightly steaming broccoli florets maintains the crispy flavor of fresh, while delivering a slightly softer chew
  • Green onions have a milder flavor, making them perfect for this healthy vegan broccoli salad
  • Adding veggie bacon immediately before serving helps maintain a crispy texture that can get soft if left in the sauce too long

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:

  • Broccoli florets
  • Green onions
  • Frozen peas
  • Seeds — You can use either pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • Raisins — Use either raisins, golden raisins, or dried cranberries.
  • Vegan mayo — I used Hellman’s Vegan Mayo for this recipe.
  • Vinegar — I prefer mild vinegar such as apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, but you can substitute white vinegar.
  • Sweetener — You can use agave nectar, maple syrup, or a zero-calorie sweetener such as stevia or monkfruit.
  • Chia seeds — Adding chia seeds will help thicken the sauce. You can substitute an equal amount of ground flax seeds.
  • Veggie Bacon — This is optional, but adding vegan bacon is a great topping for this salad. See veggie bacon ideas below.

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 vegan broccoli salad is an added bonus. Here is a synopsis of the steps involved:

  1. Lightly steam the broccoli.
  2. Make the creamy sauce by stirring together the ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Toss together the broccoli, veggies, seeds, and raisins.
  4. Stir in the sauce and toss to coat the broccoli.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, up to overnight.
  6. To serve, add veggie bacon crumbles.

Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions:

Step One: Steam the Broccoli

Most broccoli salad recipes call for raw broccoli. I prefer using lightly steamed broccoli. Here’s how to do it:

  • Microwave Directions: Rinse broccoli florets and place them in a microwave-safe bowl with a lid.
  • Stovetop Directions: Add a steamer basket to a saucepan and fill it with enough water so it’s just below the basket, not touching it. Bring the water to a boil and add the florets to the steamer basket.
  • Steam broccoli florets for 2 to 3 minutes, to make the vibrant green color of the broccoli stand out and to soften the bite just a bit.
  • Immediately remove broccoli from heat and pour the broccoli into a strainer and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process.

To make a raw vegan 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

We’ll be making this vegan broccoli salad with vegan mayo for the ultimate in creamy flavor. To make the sauce, stir together the vegan mayo, vinegar, sweetener, and chia seeds in a bowl. The sauce may seem a little runny at first, but the chia seeds will thicken it in time.

For a no-mayo sauce, here are some options to substitute for the vegan mayo:

  • Vegan sour cream
  • Vegan plain yogurt
  • Cashew cream makes a broccoli cashew salad that’s very tasty.

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 the 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 plant-based broccoli salad, but I add it right before serving it. This keeps the bacon crunchy and flavorful. Here are some options for 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

Cook the bacon according to the instructions, let it cool, and then sprinkle it over the top of the salad immediately before serving.

Broccoli Salad with Cranberries

You can add dried cranberries in place of the raisins to make a vegan broccoli salad with cranberries. I love colorful food, and the added color from the dried cranberries in contrast with the green broccoli is bold and beautiful.

Vegan Broccoli Salad sits in the middle of a table, a bowl of pumpkin seeds sits on the side, with raisins nearby and some green onions. There are more broccoli pieces on the side and some pieces of veggie bacon on a cutting board.

You don’t have to wait for a family party to make this best vegan broccoli salad. It’s good for a Tuesday night home dinner as well.

Frequently-Asked Questions

How many cups are in a head of broccoli?

The size of each head of broccoli varies. However, a typical head of broccoli will yield between 3 to 4 cups of florets. That means a standard broccoli salad recipe will require 2 heads of broccoli.

What main dish goes well with broccoli salad?

A vegan broccoli salad is a perfect summertime recipe because it requires minimal cooking time. It pairs perfectly with vegan lentil burgers, vegan black bean burgers, or any of your favorite vegan sandwich recipes. Also, you can serve it alongside vegan egg salad.

How many calories and carbs are in broccoli salad?

Every recipe varies, but the estimated nutritional information for vegan broccoli salad is 162 calories, 10 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 8 net carbs. That makes it a low-calorie, low-carbsalad, meaning you can serve this salad as part of a vegan keto diet.

More Salad Recipes

If you love vegan salads, be sure and check out these:

Vegan Broccoli Recipes

A close-up shot of Vegan Broccoli Salad with peas, pumpkin seeds, and veggie bacon pieces featured. There are additional raisins in the background.
This Vegan Broccoli Salad is made with lightly steamed broccoli, pumpkin seeds, cranberry raisins, and vegan bacon pieces. You're going to love the lightly sweet dressing as well. It's a perfect salad for your next family gathering or party!

Vegan Broccoli Salad

Increase your consumption of high-energy foods like this healthy and tasty Vegan Broccoli Salad. It's loaded with sunflower seeds and other tasty morsels.
5 from 5 votes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 162kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

  • 5-6 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • ¼ cup green onion chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas thawed
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • Dressing
  • ¾ cup vegan mayo
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons stevia
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (or ground flax seeds)
  • almond bacon slivers

Instructions

  • 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.

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Notes

Instead of the bacon almond slivers, you can use vegan bacon now found commercially in most stores. Simply cook a few slices according to the package instructions.
We used pumpkin seeds, but you can also use sunflower seeds
Calories and nutritional information is provided for the salad without almond bacon slivers.
To make broccoli cashew salad, substitute cashew cream for the vegan mayo. 
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Broccoli Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 162 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 113mg5%
Potassium 233mg7%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 420IU8%
Vitamin C 47mg57%
Calcium 35mg4%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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.

This post was originally published in 2019 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

10 Responses to Vegan Broccoli Salad

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAlison @ingredients, Inc. Reply

    so pretty and looks fantastic

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLisa is Raw on $10 a Day (or Less) Reply

    This looks yum! That does make sense about the mitochondria, too …

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks Lisa! And, if you want to make broccoli salad without mayo, I’ve been substituting either vegan sour cream or vegan plain yogurt and it works too!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyhannahmarie Reply

    This looks so good! I’ve been wanting to take advantage of the broccoli on sale this week and this might be how I do it! Thanks.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks, Hannah! Hope you agree with me that this is the best vegan salad!

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJo Reply

    Looks delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at foodepix.com.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Glad you liked this vegetarian broccoli recipe, Jo! I’ll take a look at your site.

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJoan Reply

    For years we had an amazing broccoli salad we just loved. We’ve been vegan for almost a year and 1/2 now (an amazing journey to health and compassion….and great eating adventures)and haven’t had a broccoli salad since. Can’t wait to try your version.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I hope you like this one as much as we do. It’s such a great summer dish!

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyDebbie Reply

    This was so good!! Even my husband, a non vegan, kept saying how great it was! Thank you!

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