Vegan Broccoli Salad



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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…

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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:

4.69 from 16 votes

Vegan Broccoli Salad

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.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 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


  • 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.



  • 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.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 21g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 14g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vegan broccoli salad
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating


  1. aww this bring me back to my childhood because my mom use o make it a lot! 🙂

  2. Modern Family was hilarious last night!! Definitely don’t wait too long to catch up!

    This broccoli salad looks fantastic! The perfect meal for the warmer temps lately 😀

    1. Ahh. I wanted to watch it tonight but the March Madness games were on TV so that didn’t happen. :/ Guess I’ll have to catch up tomorrow. 🙂

  3. This is awesome! I’ve had whole foods broccoli salad and LOVE it.. this is probably slightly healthier though. Can’t wait to try it!

  4. I love broccoli salads… try adding a cut up apple next time.

    Nice dressing, I am going to try that. Thanks!

    1. Yes, it looks like it’s a great alternative to that one at Sweet Tomatoes. I love that salad but always felt badly if I ate it! So happy to see this one!

  5. OMG I used to eat this growing up too! So excited to see it made vegan, just wrote everything down for my shopping list. Yum.

  6. I love how this recipe makes me think of spring! I need to start working on a few more of my own 🙂

  7. This recipe looks so fresh and tasty! I love that it is (almost) raw too, as I am trying to eat at least one raw meal a day!

  8. Oh man that looks delicious! I am LOVING big refreshing salads right now. It’s like my body is already ready for summer! 🙂 There were definitely clowns involved in last night’s modern family!

  9. hi, this recipe looks delicious. my children are allergic to tree nuts, can you suggest an alternate dressing?

    1. 4 stars
      You might try soft silken tofu instead of the nuts, add the water by tablespoons, you may not need it all!
      Good luck!

  10. I used to love broccoli salad, but stopped making it because it usually contains quite a few calories. I’m really digging your version. The cashew dressing is a neat idea. I’ll totally have to give this a try.

  11. Oh my! That recipe looks SO good! I am bookmarking it now 🙂 have you tried Whole Foods detox salad? I bet you know what I’m talking about hehe.


  12. I am so pleasantly surprised that your cashew dressing doesn’t have mayo in it! YES! My boyfriend’s mom makes a broccoli salad similar to yours, but she adds mayo to it…although I like her salad, I hate the thought of gives me the heebie jeebies! I’m bookmarking this recipe right now to make this week! Looks awesome! Hope you’re having a fun St. Paddy’s..

  13. I just made this tonight and it is WONDERFUL! I made it in a $20 blender from target and it worked just fine. Yum!

    1. Yay! So glad you tried and liked the recipe. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite recipes.

  14. I love this salad. I tried it before but I never knew how to make it. Thanks so much for sharing this delicious recipe with us. I am going to make it today!

  15. I made this today to bring to work. It’s easy, wonderful and delicious! I had everything in my pantry, minus the fresh broccoli. Thanks for the inspiration to eat more veggies!

  16. Brittany! You are very creative with all of your recipes…where do you find most of your inspiration?
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. I used to love broccoli salads as a kid, but with lots of mayo and bacon! I can’t wait to try this healthy version!

  18. thank you! this is amazing! I tried it 2 times and serve it in our cafe.
    I find it too hard to digest completely raw brocoli, so I slightly steamed it. this also gives the brocoli a really brilliant green colour.
    first time I didn’t have raisins, so I used chopped up dates.
    second time I didn’t have cashews, so I used soaked sunflower seeds for the sauce.
    both times it turned out incredible.

  19. This sounds amazing… I will be trying this before summer is over, my cousins love this stuff and always serves it during outings long story short I fell in love with it! Now I can make it healthfully!! Thank you!

    1. Just place cashews in a cup of filtered water and soak for at least 2 hours, then drain and use in the recipe.

  20. I’ve made this twice, and LOVE it!! I want to use this cashew dressing for more than just this salad. Are there any other dishes you’ve used the cashew dressing with?

    1. Hi Jen. Thanks for your comment. I haven’t used this dressing on anything else but I’m sure it would be great on other dishes. Let me know if you experiment and find something tasty.

  21. Can I use honey instead of agave or maple syrup?

    I like your blog by the way! I’m going to try a bunch of your recipe this week!

  22. What a delicious recipe! I just told my husband last night how I wasn’t a big raw broccoli fan but was very interested in this recipe. Made it today with some shredded mozzarella and it was great! Thank you. 🙂

  23. OMG…this is AMAZING. I just finished whipping this up the dressing is to die for! I have not made one of your recipes I have not loved 🙂

  24. I am so excited to see this recipe! It’s also funny that I was looking on Pinterest for this recipe and then read that you too live in Richmond. I walked by Modern Artifacts just a few minutes ago.

  25. This was really good! We’re on the Eat to Live diet and this made a great veggie side dish. I omitted the salt and agave and it was just fine.

  26. This is a delicious recipe. For variety I substituted dried cranberries for half the raisins. I really liked it.

  27. I am about to make this salad. It will get tweaked a bit. I am going to use half broccoli, half cauliflower, half walnuts and half sunflower seeds. it should be amazing….

    1. You could try it but I don’t think the consistency would be the same. The cashews soaked with water is definitely thicker than milk.

  28. Just wondering, is this similar to the original recipe where it get a better still tastes good if it’s sets for a while or is it better served immediately? Oh, and thanks, I’m excited to try this tonight!

    1. Hi Kendra. I think it tastes good right away and a little while after it’s been sitting! 🙂 I hope you enjoy it.

  29. Dear Brittany, this broccoli salad is next on my list! I don’t often dress up broccoli but I love the sound of that cashew dressing…I bet it tastes marvelous! Thank you! xo, Catherine

  30. I made it and loved it. Only problem was that I halved the recipe and the amount of sauce was too little for my Vitamix to handle, so it did not get as creamy as it should. I will use a smaller blender next time.

    1. Gah, I have a Vitamix as well and the same thing has happened to me before. I’m glad you still enjoyed the salad despite the dressing not being super creamy.

  31. This salad is outstanding. It really hit the spot. It will be made many more times this summer. Thank you !

  32. 5 stars
    Day-yum! Tried it out tonight and it’s delicious! Thanks for the healthier option. I’ll be using this all summer!

  33. 5 stars
    Wow this was so creamy and nutty! I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed broccoli so much. My husband and I are just loving your recipes!

  34. 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!

    1. 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. 🙂

  35. 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 ♡♡♡

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

  37. 5 stars
    This salad is SO EASY and SO TASTY. It’s wonderful to have a creamy salad option that doesn’t rely on mayo or oils. I didn’t have raisins or scallions, so I used dried cranberries and a little extra red onion in the sauce. I also made a little extra sauce and added some lentil pasta for a little punch of protein. The only struggle is not eating it all in one day!

  38. 5 stars
    This salad was delicious! I didn’t have raisins but decided to add blueberries.We loved it. Thanks Brittany.

  39. 5 stars
    Even though I had to make a few small changes, this salad was wonderful: crunchy, balanced, and satisfying. I had to replace the sunflower seeds with pepitas, and I soaked the cashews for just a few minutes before making the dressing in the botanic with a couple extra tbsp of water. I’ll make this again!

    1. Yay!! So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Charley! Thanks for making it and for leaving a review. I so appreciate it!

  40. 5 stars
    Amazing !!! I am not vegan but having family over and some of our guests are vegan. I don’t like raisins so I replace with cranberries. Looks great and tastes wonderful. My favourite from now on. Thank you.

    1. Yay! So glad you loved this recipe! Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

  41. Can’t wait to make this – thank you for sharing … wondering, could you use cashew butter instead of soaking the cashews?

    1. Hey Kristin – I am not sure how using cashew butter instead of soaked cashews would alter the dressing in this recipe as I haven’t tried it. Definitely come back and let me know if you try it and what you think!