This easy vegan broccoli salad (no mayo!) is super creamy, crunchy, and so delicious! It’s the perfect side dish to bring to picnics, cookouts, or parties! Vegan and gluten-free.
*This post was originally posted on 9/5/16 but I updated it with better recipe instructions on 5/21/19.
**This post contains affiliate links.
One of our favorite places to go out for a quick, healthy vegan dinner is Sweet Tomatoes. We love the salad bar, soups, and baked sweet potatoes! Have you tried the broccoli salad that they have on the bar? We used to love it before we were vegan!
I wanted to recreate the creamy broccoli salad at home without using the mayo, sugar, and vegetable oil that is in the Sweet Tomatoes version. It turned out so delicious and it’s so easy to make! You’re going to love the creamy cashew sauce, crunchy broccoli, and all the toppings, it’s sooo tasty.
I used creamy cashew sauce instead of mayo like most other recipes for broccoli salad call for. It’s just as creamy and flavorful, and in my opinion, it tastes even better! It’s the best vegan broccoli side dish to serve with vegetable burgers, sandwiches, or roasted veggie wraps. It’s also great to bring to summer picnics (because you don’t have to worry about the mayo going bad while it’s unrefrigerated), BBQ’s, and family events.
How to Make Vegan Broccoli Salad
It’s so easy to make this vegan broccoli salad recipe! Begin by soaking your cashews (I used organic cashews from Costco. Here’s the rest of my vegan Costco shopping list). You can do it one of two simple ways:
- Soak the cashews in a bowl of cold water for one hour.
- Boil the cashews for 10 minutes.
Once your cashews have been soaked, add them to a blender along with unsweetened coconut milk (from a carton), apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, sea salt, and black pepper. Blend it all together until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
Next, wash and dry the raw broccoli. Then cut the florets into bite-sized pieces and put them into a large mixing bowl. Add the dried cherries, roasted pumpkin seeds, diced red onion, and halved grapes to the bowl. Pour the creamy cashew dressing over the broccoli salad and mix it well to combine. The sauce might look a little thin at first but, trust me, as soon as you chill the salad for one hour it will turn into a super thick and creamy sauce!
Easy Broccoli Salad Ingredient Substitutions
The traditional broccoli salad at Sweet Tomatoes calls for cashews but since the dressing is made primarily of cashews I didn’t want it to be too cashew heavy so I substituted crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds instead. You could also sub roasted pecans, walnuts, or your favorite crunchy nut or seed.
Here are more substitutions if you need them:
- Dried Cherries –> Raisins
- Red Onion –> Sliced Green Onions
- Pumpkin Seeds –> Sunflower Seeds or Walnuts
- Broccoli Florets –> Cauliflower Florets
- Grapes –> Mandarin Oranges or Chopped Medjool Dates
- Maple Syrup –> Agave
- Cashew Cream Sauce –> Vegan Mayo
If you can’t have cashews then you can definitely make this raw vegan broccoli salad with vegan mayo instead. You can skip the blender step and just mix all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. I would recommend substituting 1 cup of vegan mayo (my favorite vegan mayo brand is Vegenaise) for the cashews and unsweetened coconut milk.
Tips for Making the Best Healthy Broccoli Salad
- Make sure to soak the cashews before blending to make the sauce extra creamy.
- You don’t have to blanch the broccoli before adding it to the salad unless you want the broccoli to be a little bit softer. We like it crunchy!
- To halve all of the grapes at once, put them on a large plate and put another large plate on top of them. Then slide a long thin serrated knife in between the plates and slice all the grapes at once!
- Refrigerate the dairy free broccoli salad for one hour before you serve it so all the flavors have time to meld and the sauce will get really thick and creamy.
- Store the leftover broccoli salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
More Vegan Cashew Cream Recipes You’ll Love!
I just know you’re going to love this broccoli cashew salad as much as we do! If you make it, please tag me on Instagram using the hashtag #StaceyHomemaker so I can see your tasty creation!
Vegan Broccoli Salad
Creamy Cashew Sauce-
- Soak the raw cashews in a bowl of cold water for one hour or boil them for 10 minutes. Drain the cashews and discard the water.
- Add the soaked cashews, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to a high power blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
- Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets and then put it into a large mixing bowl. Add the cherries, grapes, pumpkin seeds, red onion, and 1 cup of cashew cream sauce to the mixing bowl. Mix everything together until all of the broccoli is coated with sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate the broccoli salad for one hour before serving.
- Don't add all of the creamy cashew sauce at first. I recommend starting with 1 cup of the cashew cream sauce so you can see how creamy it is before adding all of the sauce. We use all of it because we love the salad to be extra creamy but when I make this for my mom I only used 1 cup because she likes it less saucy. You can always add more sauce but you can't take it away so use it sparingly.
- If you need substitutions, I listed possible choices within the post.
- Store leftover broccoli salad in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.