This Vegan Broccoli Salad recipe is creamy, crunchy, and easy to make in just 20 minutes. Packed with broccoli, red onions and grapes, chewy cranberries, and crunchy sunflower seeds tossed in a creamy tangy dressing, this craveable broccoli salad is a summer favorite!
This simple, classic broccoli salad is dairy-free, gluten-free, low carb, and super flavorful (no bacon, no cheese needed!). It's one of my favorite nourishing summer salads because it's crunchy, sweet and savory, super affordable, make-ahead friendly, and the broccoli salad dressing is out of this world incredible!
Just like my veggie pesto pasta and Thai Crunch Salad, this vegan broccoli salad recipe is a crowd favorite at BBQs, cookouts and potlucks!
What's in Broccoli Salad?
Vegan broccoli salad is the most delicious, cold, creamy, crunchy summer salad! Traditional Southern broccoli salad recipes typically include bacon and cheese - this lighter, healthier version is vegan, but just as flavorful! Here's the simple ingredients you'll need:
Ingredients for the salad: gather together fresh broccoli, red onion, sunflower seeds, crunchy red grapes, and chewy dried cranberries/raisins for the salad.
A classic broccoli salad dressing is creamy, and salty-sweet in its perfection. Here's what you'll need for this tangy dairy-free version: Dijon mustard, Vegenaise, fresh lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Ingredient Substitutions and Variations
- Extra crunch and flavor: this broccoli salad and dressing are incredibly delicious but the addition of crispy fried onions right before serving add an extra level of smoky flavor and crunch. They are easy to find at grocery stores or online.
- Add dairy-free cheese: salty vegan feta cheese crumbles (store bought or homemade) are a delicious addition.
- Salad dressing: for a change of pace, swap out the homemade broccoli salad dressing for honey mustard dressing or dairy-free coleslaw dressing.
- Nuts and seeds: instead of sunflower seeds use chopped cashews, almonds or pumpkin seeds to add crunch. Serve them raw or lightly toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden.
- Use raisins or red grapes instead of cranberries: the original recipe from Anne Lindsay uses raisins for sweetness. My kids always love the grapes!
Tips for making Broccoli Salad vegan!
For the best ever vegan broccoli salad (no joke, wait until you taste the dressing!), here's a few tips:
Cut the broccoli small - since the broccoli is raw, cut the florets small so they become fully coated and soften slightly in the dressing. Chop up some of the tender stems and include them as well. Pro Tip: use any leftover broccoli stems and stalks in vegan soups and pasta sauces.
Million Dollar Tip - to stretch the salad to feed more people, use the stems (noted above), add some chopped cauliflower or red peppers, chickpeas, lentils or quinoa (all are affordable and pair nicely with this broccoli salad). If grapes are out of season/expensive, add apple or pear chunks.
Extra crunchy - sprinkle the salad with nuts and crispy onions right before serving for extra crunch.
Chill out! - the broccoli salad benefits from some time in the fridge so the dressing can do its work marinating the veggies and developing flavor. Broccoli salad is superior when served cold. An hour or more in the fridge is perfect.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, add salty vegan feta cheese (homemade or store bought) or creamy sharp cheddar cheese (dairy free).
Broccoli is a very nutritious vegetable with impressive health benefits. Broccoli is totally safe served raw in salads or on a veggie plate. If you prefer to blanch the broccoli florets, it's a super fast and simple preparation as well. Cut the broccoli florets bite size for salad.
If you make this broccoli salad for a BBQ or backyard party, it's the perfect accompaniment for saucy BBQ Jackfruit burgers, spicy Cauliflower Burgers or with BBQ sauce slathered tofu slices!
This broccoli salad is the perfect make-ahead dish to take to potlucks or pack up for a healthy, gluten-free lunch with a handful of protein-rich chickpeas.
More Summer Salads Dishes
Want more delicious dairy-free, gluten-free salads to take to summer parties? Here's a few of our favorites:
- Vegan Greek Salad with the best homemade vegan feta cheese and dairy free dressing
- Mediterranean Cucumber Salad with tomatoes and avocado
- Chopped Vegan Chicken Salad with spicy dairy-free dressing
- Thai Crunch Salad with spicy peanut ginger dressing
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Vegan Broccoli Salad Recipe (gluten free)
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For the Salad
- 3-4 cups broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- ½ cup cranberries or raisins
- ⅓ cup sunflower seeds
OPTIONAL Add Ins
- 1 - 1 ½ cups red grapes, halved
- 1 small red pepper, chopped
- 1 cup chickpeas
- ½ cup vegan feta cheese (store bought or homemade)
For the Broccoli Salad Dressing
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup Vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, to taste
- course ground black pepper, pinch of salt
- pinch hot pepper flakes, to taste
For the Salad
- Prepare the veggies by washing and patting dry.
- Broccoli: Cut into bite-size florets and place in a large bowl.
- Blanching the Broccoli?: If blanching the broccoli, dunk into boiling water for 1 minute, remove and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Let drain and thoroughly pat dry before using.
- Onion: Finely dice red onion. Add to large bowl with broccoli, red grapes (halved), and cranberries.
For the Broccoli Salad Dressing
- In a small mixing bowl, add all dressing ingredients and whisk together. Taste and adjust ingredients as required.
- Pour over the salad ingredients and toss until well dressed. Place in the fridge covered to chill for an hour.
- RIght before serving, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, feta cheese, and crispy chickpeas peas (if using).
Vegan Feta Cheese (optional)
- Buy your favorite store bought brand or make home vegan feta cheese up to a week in advance.
This recipe is from simplyceecee.co food blog. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images or republish this recipe without prior permission. Thank you.
This looks really yummy! Will have to give it a try. Where do you find veganaise?
My mom gave me the link to your blog, very cool! I watched Forks Over Knives a while ago, and it has blown my mind, we are definitely moving more towards a plant-based diet (I’m just not sure yet if I like beans lol)
That's fantastic news, Cheryl. The Vegenaise is available at most grocery stores in the natural section (it's refrigerated).