Creamy Vegan Broccoli Salad

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This vegan broccoli salad is loaded with flavor and crunch! Made with fresh broccoli florets, smoky almonds, sunflower seeds and raisins in a creamy, zippy dressing, it’s a must have for all your summer get-togethers.

My family always served broccoli salad as a side dish at cookouts when I was growing up. You know the one right? With mayo and raisins and bacon. But mom’s was made with bacon bits because I was vegetarian and most store-bought bacon bits aren’t actually made from meat.

When I decided to create a vegan broccoli salad recipe, it mom’s old version was the obvious starting point. And while I could probably make it with bacon bits (they’re vegan, right? I’m really not sure), I decided to go with something a bit more wholesome and even tastier: smoked almonds!

This salad has everything I love about classic broccoli salad (broccoli, crunch, smoky and sweet flavor!), and nothing I don’t (eggs, dairy, processed soy bacon flavored whatever bacon bits are made of???). And it’s delish!

Jump to:
  • Ingredients You’ll Need
  • How It’s Made
  • Leftovers & Storage
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • More Cool Vegan Summer Salads
  • Creamy Vegan Broccoli Salad

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Vegan mayonnaise. Look for this near where regular mayo is sold, or in the natural foods section at your store. I used Hellman’s vegan.
  • Sugar. Use organic sugar to keep the recipe vegan.
  • Apple cider vinegar. White vinegar or red wine vinegar can be substituted if needed.
  • Raw broccoli.
  • Red onion.
  • Raisins. Substitute another dried fruit if you’d like. Dried cranberries or cherries would work well!
  • Sunflower seeds. Use roasted and salted seeds.
  • Smoked almonds. Be careful when buying these. I almost grabbed a bag containing butter, and many brands of commercial nuts are processed with gelatin. Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds are vegan and available at many supermarkets.
  • Salt & pepper.

Tip: You only need the raw broccoli florets for this recipe. Save the stems for another use, like vegan cream of broccoli soup.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • Optional step: soak your red onion. Do this if you’d like to mellow out the raw onion bite. Simply dice it, place it in a container and cover it with water. Let it soak while you prep the other ingredients.
  • Mix your broccoli salad dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl: vegan mayo, sugar, and vinegar. Be sure to stir everything well to dissolve the sugar.
  • Add broccoli florets, raisins, smoked almonds, and sunflower seeds. If you soaked your onion, drain it. Add the onion to the salad.
  • Stir everything up!
  • Give your broccoli salad a taste-test. Season it with salt and pepper, and adjust any other seasonings to suit your taste.
  • Cover and chill the salad for later, or serve it right away. I like mine best when it’s been chilling in the fridge for a few hours.

Leftovers & Storage

Store any leftover vegan broccoli salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this salad gluten-free?

It is as long as your smoked almonds are gluten-free — some brands may not be!

How is vegan broccoli salad served?

It’s great as a side at cookouts and potlucks. Pair it up with another side like vegan baked beans or cornbread, and a main dish like vegan ribs or black bean burgers.

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