Vegan Broccoli Salad

The most amazing vegan broccoli salad made with a rich and creamy cashew dressing instead of mayo. This salad is a total crowd-pleaser and perfect for parties!

Like many of the recipes you’ll find here on EBF, this one is inspired by my mom. She used to make classic broccoli salad all the time when I was growing up. Her version was sweet, crunchy and a staple dish at all of our summer cookouts. I loved that salad and used to request it frequently. Alas, said salad is like most southern “salads” and has a good amount of mayo, 1/2 cup of sugar and bacon…

Overhead close up of vegan broccoli salad in a white bowl.

I decided to try my hand at a healthy version of this old favorite — one that still has the crunchy, sweet vibe, but healthier without the added sugar, dairy and meat.


My broccoli raisin salad is crunchy, rich in flavor and sweet, but with much healthier ingredients like raw nuts, seeds and raisins. I even managed to sneak apple cider vinegar into the dressing! I think I’ll take it to my next family cookout and see if my version stacks up to mom’s.

Ingredients measured out to make vegan broccoli raisin salad.

Ingredients Needed

Here’s what ingredients you’ll need to make this salad:

  • broccoli – you can use pre-chopped florets or buy full heads. 
  • raw sunflower seeds I prefer roasted and salted, but you can use dry roasted or raw. Roasted tends to have more flavor and crunch.
  • red onion – the red onion adds a pop of color and a nice crunch to the salad. 
  • raisins – I love the sweetness the raisins add to this salad!

Creamy Cashew Dressing Instead of Mayo

The key to this recipe is the creamy cashew dressing. It gives the salad tons of flavor and really brings this broccoli salad to life. Once cashews are soaked and blended, they get so creamy and make an amazing non-dairy dressing for broccoli raisin salad. No need for mayo or loads of sugar! 

Side by side photos of a blender making cashew creamy dressing. Photo of the cashews and water in the blender before and after being blended.

Substitutions & Notes

  • Raw broccoli Make sure you’re using fresh, raw broccoli. Frozen or cooked broccoli won’t work for this recipe! If you’re looking for a salad with cooked broccoli try this: roasted broccoli quinoa salad
  • Red onion – Not a fan of red onion feel free to use yellow onion instead.
  • Raisins – The raisins are what takes this salad to the next level, in my opinion. If you’re not a raisin fan you could swap in dates, dried cherries, prunes or another dried fruit.
A side by side image with vegan broccoli salad ingredients not mixed and then mixed.

Prepping & Storing this Salad

I love eating this broccoli raisin salad as a mid-afternoon snack or as a side with lunch or dinner but it would also be a great dish to bring to a potluck or summer cookouts.

If you want to meal prep this broccoli salad, it will last up to five days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You may notice that the raisins absorb some of the liquid or the sunflower seeds soften but that’s okay! It will still be delicious.

Side angle view of vegan broccoli salad in a white bowl.

More Vegan Salads to Try:

More Broccoli Recipes to Try:

If you make this recipe:

Please leave a comment and star rating below letting us know how it turned out. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and our readers! We appreciate it so much.

Overhead close up of vegan broccoli salad in a white bowl.

Vegan Broccoli Salad

Brittany Mullins
Vegan broccoli salad with a rich and creamy cashew dressing instead of mayo. This salad is crunchy, sweet and absolutely delicious, perfect for summer parties.
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 329 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6 cups broccoli two small to medium sized crowns, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds roasted and salted
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Cashew Dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked at least 1- 2 hours
  • 1/3 cup fresh water
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon shallot chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

Instructions
 

  • Soak cashews: place cashews in a bowl, cover with water and let sit for 1-2 hours or until soft. Drain water.
  • Make dressing: mix soaked cashews, fresh water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, shallot, garlic, salt and dijon mustard in a high powered blender or processor until completely smooth.
    Side by side photos of a blender making cashew creamy dressing. Photo of the cashews and water in the blender before and after being blended.
  • Mix ingredients:
    combine broccoli, sunflower seeds, red onion, raisins and dressing. Toss until all ingredients are covered.
    Ingredients for salad in a bowl: raw broccoli, raisins, sunflower seeds, red onion and creamy cashew dressing.
  • Serve:
    Serve immediately or let chill in the fridge a bit before serving.
    Vegan broccoli raisin salad all mixed together in a large mixing bowl.

Video

Notes

  • Raw broccoli Make sure you’re using fresh, raw broccoli. Frozen or cooked broccoli won’t work for this recipe! If you’re looking for a salad with cooked broccoli try this: roasted broccoli quinoa salad
  • Red onion  – Not a fan of red onion feel free to use yellow onion or sweet vidalia onion instead.
  • Raisins – The raisins are what takes this salad to the next level, in my opinion. If you’re not a raisin fan you could swap in chopped medjool dates, dried cherries, prunes or another dried fruit.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 329kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 11gFat: 21gFiber: 6gSugar: 14g
Keyword vegan broccoli salad
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Recipe Rating




    78 comments
    1. Marsha
      May 29, 2021 AT 6:19 pm

      5 stars
      Thank you for this great recipe! We’re celebrating a birthday today and a few guest are vegan. I doubled the recipe and it came out perfectly. I used golden raisins and also threw in some cranraisins and pepitas. Everything else was the same as in the recipe. I hope they like it as much as I do!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 1, 2021 AT 2:40 am

        So glad this salad was a hit, Marsha! Thanks for making it and for the review. I so appreciate it!

    2. Susan Walsh
      January 25, 2021 AT 1:41 pm

      5 stars
      Like you, I was raised with this delicious broccoli salad, loaded with sugar, bacon, and mayo. I asked my mom to make it often and I’d despaired of ever tasting it again, now that I eat vegan. Thanks for caring enough to make it healthy! I’m making it tonight, so excited! I love your recipes ♡♡♡

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 26, 2021 AT 8:55 pm

        How did it turn out for you, Susan?!

    3. JS
      July 8, 2019 AT 8:50 am

      Do you soak the cashews in the 1/3 c of water, or is the 1/3 cup of water needed in the dressing?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        July 8, 2019 AT 9:58 am

        Great question. You soak the cashews in water and then discard that water, then use 1/3 cup of fresh water for blending the dressing. I’ll update the recipe to make sure this is clear. 🙂

    4. Alice
      September 23, 2016 AT 8:25 pm

      I made this today and it is excellent! Thanks for a great broccoli salad recipe. Definitely a keeper.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 24, 2016 AT 5:10 pm

        So glad you liked it, Alice!!

    5. Deborah
      September 5, 2016 AT 5:32 pm

      5 stars
      This is an excellent salad! We took it to a potluck last night and it was a hit! I plan to use the dressing recipe for my mayo substitute. Thank you for your creativity in food preparation!

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