Vegan Broccoli Salad

This delicious vegan broccoli salad is the perfect side dish for any summer party or just any warm summer evening. It has a little sweetness and a lot of crunch, it’s completely customizable to your taste, and it is so easy to make. You don’t even need to turn on your stove!


This post contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates, we earn a small commission from qualifying purchases (at no cost to you). Click here to read our full policy about affiliate links. Thank you for shopping our affiliate links, as it helps us keep the free vegan recipes coming your way!

There are very few mayonnaise-based chilled salads I like. But this veganized classic broccoli salad is definitely the exception to that! I think of it as a summer salad, but it is actually so good all year long. And it’s actually a surprisingly popular holiday side dish!

It is also the perfect compromise between B and me, and one of the only times I can get her to eat raw vegetables. Fresh broccoli florets, shredded carrots, and red onion meet vegan mayo, Bacos, and shredded vegan cheese to create the best broccoli salad.

If you have never had traditional broccoli salad before, you are in for quite a treat. It’s a great addition for potlucks, parties, or poolside gatherings. Everyone will love this vegan broccoli salad. It even got B to eat raw veggies. So that’s saying something!

Why do we think this is the best vegan broccoli salad?

  • So darn delicious. It’s an amazing combination of flavors that will completely tantalize your taste buds
  • Easy to make. This broccoli salad is so very easy and simple to put together.
  • A great summer meal prep option. Serve it with chickpeas for a main meal or as the perfect side dish to add a healthy burst of flavor and nutrition to any meal.
Overhead photo of all the ingredients you need to make vegan broccoli slaw salad

Ingredients for this Vegetarian Broccoli Salad Recipe

This tasty salad uses fresh simple ingredients, most of which you may already have in your kitchen!

For the vegan salad, you’ll need:

  • Raw broccoli florets – rinsed under cold water and cut small
  • Vegan-friendly bacon bits – We usually use those Bac’n Bits from McCormick. Yes, they are vegan! They’re actually made of soy, as are a lot of bacon bits sold in almost every major grocery store. 
  • Red onion – smaller, thin-sliced julienne
  • Shredded carrots – you can shred your own or purchase a bag of shredded carrots. Also, feel free to use a variety of colored heirloom carrots for an extra burst of color.
  • Shredded vegan cheddar cheese
  • Dried cranberries – for a touch of sweet that you will love in this salad
  • Sunflower seeds – for extra crunch

For the tangy creamy dressing, you’ll need:

Overhead photo of a bowl of vegan broccoli salad with light mayo dressing, shredded carrots, and vegetarian bacon bits

Substitution Options for our Vegan Broccoli Salad Recipe

For the fresh broccoli: You really want to use fresh broccoli and not frozen. Trust me. If you want a little variety you can use broccoflower or romanesco broccoli. You can even try cauliflower, but I don’t think you’ll get the same effect as the fresh, crisp broccoli.

For the vegan bacon bits: You can skip this altogether, or you can use some sun-dried tomatoes. Leave them dehydrated for a nice chewy texture, or rehydrate them in warm water and add some smoked paprika for a pop of flavor. 

For the red onions: Sub shallots or green onions for the red onion. You can also use a vidalia sweet onion. If you don’t like onion at all, try a red bell pepper.

Vegan Cheese Options: Honestly, you can probably use any vegan shredded cheese and it would taste good.

For the sunflower seeds: You can use pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, etc. 

For the dried cranberries: You can substitute green or red raisins for the craisins. You could also try out other dried fruit like blueberries, apricot or papaya.

For the vegan mayo: You can make this without mayonnaise, but you need something to bind it together. I recommend either plain vegan yogurt or a blend of the vegan mayo and yogurt to cut the amount of oil but keep the mixture creamy.

For the rice wine vinegar: You can use white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, or even a blend of white vinegar and apple cider vinegar.

For the lemon juice: You can easily swap the lemon juice for lime juice. It’s a slightly different flavor, but still really nice.

For the sugar: You can use agave instead of white sugar if you’d like.

A grid with three photos showing the process of making vegan broccoli salad

How to Make Broccoli Salad with Sunflower Seeds and Cranberries

This loaded broccoli salad is such an easy recipe. It’s perfect for summer because you don’t even need to turn on the stove!

Step 1: Make the broccoli salad dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.

Step 2: Assemble the raw broccoli salad.

Add the chopped broccoli along with the rest of the salad ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir.

Drizzle half the dressing over salad and mix well, folding the dressing in with a rubber spatula. Add the other half of the dressing and mix again to fully coat.

Step 3: Let the healthy salad sit in the fridge.

Allow salad to sit in the fridge in a large bowl – covered – for at least an hour or overnight for optimal flavor. 

What to do with Your Leftover Broccoli Stems

There are a variety of ways you can use your leftover broccoli stems. Sometimes I find the easiest thing is just to chop them into very small pieces and toss them in my Envirocycle composter

The Envirocycle is a tumbler composter that is completely self-contained, and the smaller 17 gallon size is great for my small city garden. I absolutely love it! If you’re into gardening or composting, you should definitely check them out! And it comes in black or hot pink!

But it should be noted the stems are a nutritional powerhouse all their own. Yes, it’s a hard sell to get people to eat broccoli stalks, but they can be downright tasty!

As a matter of fact, when I was a kid the stem was the only part of the broccoli plant I would eat. The florets freaked me out. And my grandmothers always saved the stems and made them for me. So before you throw them in the garbage or the composter, here are a few other options.

First, remove the outer layer from the stalk with a vegetable peeler. Then you can use your broccoli stems to make broccoli slaw, you can roast them with some olive oil or boil them to make soup.

You can chop them up and add them to stews or stir fries, or simply chop the stem into sticks and serve it with some vegan buttermilk ranch. Honestly, the options are almost limitless. If you plan to freeze them, you should blanch them first.

Overhead close up photo of a bowl of healthy broccoli salad

What to Serve with Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad is the perfect side dish for just about anything! It’s also a great light lunch all on its own. 

We like to serve it alongside:

Overhead photo of a large white bowl of loaded broccoli salad. There is a hand reaching into the frame with a spoon digging into the broccoli salad

How to Store Easy Vegan Broccoli Salad

Refrigerate leftover broccoli salad in a sealed, airtight container.

How long does broccoli salad last in the fridge? Salad will stay good, refrigerated in a sealed container, for 3-4 days. I don’t recommend freezing this salad. 

When you make this easy broccoli salad, we’d love to hear what you think! 

Leave a comment and star rating in the comments section below. That will help more people find these great vegan recipes. Enjoy!

Yield: About 10 servings

Plant Based Broccoli Salad

Overhead close up photo of a large white bowl filled with broccoli salad

This easy vegan broccoli salad is the perfect side dish for any summer party or just any warm summer evening. It has a little sweetness and a lot of crunch, it’s completely customizable to your taste, and it is so easy to make: you don’t even need to turn on your stove!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 4 cups small-cut broccoli florets (I usually start with 2 heads of fresh broccoli, about 1 - 1.5 lb total)
  • 1/2 cup vegan-friendly bacon bits
  • 1/2 cup red onion - smaller, thin-sliced julienne
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheddar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or white wine or red wine)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (½ lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fine ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp celery salt

Instructions

  1. Chop all your broccoli, place in a large mixing bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  3. Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the chopped broccoli and stir.
  4. Drizzle half the dressing over salad and mix well, folding the dressing in with a rubber spatula. Add the other half of the dressing and mix again to fully coat.
  5. Allow salad to sit in the fridge - covered - for at least an hour or overnight for optimal flavor. 
  6. Salad will stay good, refrigerated in a sealed container, for 3-4 days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1/10 the recipe

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 183Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 475mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.

Did you make this recipe?!

Share a photo and tag @theplantpowercouple on Instagram, so we can cheer you on!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *