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!
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
It is as long as your smoked almonds are gluten-free — some brands may not be!
More Cool Vegan Summer Salads
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Creamy Vegan Broccoli Salad
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons organic granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 6 cups fresh broccoli florets (Note 1)
- ¾ cup raisins
- ½ cup smoked almonds (Note 2), roughly chopped
- ½ cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Optional step: place the diced onion into a small cup or bowl and cover it with cold water. Let it soak while you prep the remaining ingredients. This will reduce the bite of the onion.
- Stir the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar together in a large mixing bowl.
- Stir in the broccoli, raisins, almonds, and sunflower seeds, along with the onion, draining it first if you soaked it.
- Stir everything together.
- Taste-test the salad and season it with salt and pepper. Adjust any other seasonings to your liking.
- Serve immediately or chill for later.
- If you buy about 28 ounces of fresh broccoli (1 ¾ pounds) you should get the required 6 cups of florets for this recipe.
- Check the ingredients before you buy your smoked almonds, in order to ensure that they’re vegan.