This best broccoli salad recipe is my favorite easy vegan cookout side dish! It’s delicious, healthy, naturally gluten-free, and topped with a light dairy-free yogurt dressing (contains no mayo and no refined sugar). Perfect for lunch, dinner or any time you need some vitamins in your life!
If you haven’t tried broccoli salad yet, please try this simple recipe! It is crunchy, fresh, and full of delicious sweet & salty flavor, which is exactly what broccoli salad should be. Even though this is a lighter version of the classic recipe, you won’t miss the mayo, cheese or bacon. The combination of toasted soybeans, sunflower seeds, pepitas, cashews, and dried cranberries makes this broccoli salad extra special!
This Best Vegan Broccoli Salad is healthy!
Broccoli is an amazing superfood, and this vegan salad contains one whole head of broccoli! It is low in calories but it is a good source of fiber, folate, and protein. Furthermore, it contains iron, potassium, calcium, selenium, and magnesium as well as vitamins A, C, E, K and more.
Traditional broccoli salad dressing calls for mayo but I used dairy-free yogurt instead. Also, I’ve added a bit of olive oil since fats are important for your body to absorb the vitamins. You can really taste and adjust further ingredients to your preferences. Depending on the dried fruit you use, you may want to add a bit of maple syrup for sweetness and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice for freshness. The dried cranberries I used were already sweetened and perfectly tart. However, feel free to use other dried fruit like cherries or raisins or substitute fresh chopped apples.
Anyway, the best part of this broccoli salad is the flavorful crunchy topping. I really love the combination of toasted soybeans, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and cashews but you can use your favorite nuts and seeds. I highly recommend toasting them ahead for extra crunch or buying toasted ones in a store. They make definitely the perfect nutritious substitute for bacon and cheese!
Raw or cooked broccoli?
Raw broccoli is fairly standard in broccoli salads. Just make sure to chop up your broccoli florets into very small pieces so they can soften while marinating in the dressing.
However, if you hate raw broccoli, you can blanch the florets. Simply add the florets to a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Then drain over a fine-mesh sieve and rinse the florets under running cold water to stop the cooking process. Finally, drain the cooled broccoli well before using it for your salad.
This salad can be served right after it’s made, but it’s even better after it sits a few hours (or even days) in the fridge. The broccoli softens and the flavors can develop which makes the salad even more delicious! Just make sure to sprinkle on the nuts and seeds right before serving. Otherwise, they’ll lose their crunch, if you add them too early.
Broccoli Salad Serving Suggestions
If you’re looking for a packable, potluck-friendly salad, this is it. I love to enjoy a big bowl of it as a light meal or side dish for grilling or any day! You can also add in some pasta, rice or quinoa for a wholesome lunch that keeps you full for longer. It would be also great alongside BBQ Jackfruit Pulled Pork Burger, Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Homemade Naan, Tortillas or Spinach Wraps.
This Best Vegan Broccoli Salad is:
- Dairy-free (lactose-free)
- Can be made nut-free
- Quick and easy to make
- Topped with fruit, nuts, and seeds
- Rich in nutrients and vitamins
- So delicious!
- Perfect as a side dish for lunch or dinner!
Looking for more easy broccoli or salad recipes, try my:
If you try this best easy vegan broccoli salad, please leave me a comment and rating how you liked this recipe! Your feedback is always very helpful for me and other readers. And if you take a photo of your delicious salad, please make sure to tag me on Instagram @biancazapatka and #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Enjoy!
Best Vegan Broccoli Salad
- 1 pound broccoli florets roughly chopped (see photos above)
- 1 large red onion finely chopped
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries or dried tart cherries or raisins
- ½ cup vegan cheese shreds optional
- ½ cup mixed seeds e.g. pepitas, sunflower seeds, toasted soy seeds
- ¼ cup nuts e.g. cashews, almonds or walnuts
- Chop the broccoli florets into ½-inch pieces and any finely dice the remaining stems, peeling any woody or course parts from the stem as needed. Add the chopped broccoli, onion, cranberries, and vegan cheese (if using) to a serving bowl. Set aside.
- To make the dressing, whisk together the non-dairy yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, mustard (if using), maple syrup, and sea salt in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad, sprinkle with paprika powder as desired and stir until all of the broccoli is lightly coated in dressing. (I highly recommend letting the salad marinate for at least 20 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator).
- Toast the seeds & nuts (optional): Toast the seeds and nuts in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the seeds are turning golden, about 3 minutes (be careful as they burn quickly!). Then transfer the toasted seeds into a large serving bowl and set aside. (Alternatively, bake the seeds 10 minutes at 392°F/200°C or until golden brown).
- Divide the salad into bowls and sprinkle the toasted nuts and seeds on top.
- Leftovers will keep well for 3 to 4 days covered in the fridge.
- Non-dairy yogurt: I used soy yogurt but you can use any dairy-free yogurt you like. Alternatively, substitute cashew or almond butter or tahini + 2-3 tbsp water to thin.
- Nut-free: Use only seeds and leave out the nuts.
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