This is Vegan Broccoli Salad for Broccoli Salad LOVERS! Fresh and crunchy broccoli in creamy sweet and savory sauce with crisp walnuts, chewy cranberries and bright red onion; it’s so delicious! And easy. And everyone at the table can enjoy it, vegan or not!
Video Tutorial for Vegan Broccoli Salad
The Inspiration for my Vegan Broccoli Salad
Broccoli Salad may be old news to many of you, especially in North America, but it’s pretty new to me! Last year, my friend brought her broccoli salad to Thanksgiving dinner and I was blown away by this fresh, crunchy, creamy, sweet and savory dish. Apparently, it’s a common holiday side dish in my country of Canada but some how I had never heard of it. Mind you, I grew up having never eaten broccoli raw as green vegetables are rarely eaten raw in the Chinese cuisine. Since that holiday dinner, I found out the salad is one of my boyfriend’s favourite dishes and I happily recreated it for him and customized the recipe to our tastes.
How to Make Traditional Holiday Broccoli Salad Vegan
Broccoli salad starts a nice fresh head of broccoli. Since it’s the star of this dish, choose a head that has tight green florets and firm stalks. Avoid discolored florets and limpy stalks that may have sat in storage too long.
To prepare the broccoli, cut away any dry ends or discoloured bits. Rinse it very well in cold water, making sure to get in between the florets. Then, chop up the pieces into bit sized chunks and dry with a salad spinner.
If you (or your guests) are not very used to eating raw broccoli, you can quickly blanch it first to make it easier to eat and digest. Dip the broccoli in boiling water for a couple minutes, just until it turns bright green. Then, immediately rinse in ice cold water to stop the cooking and drain very well. Use a salad spinner to dry it very well before adding the dressing.
Vegan Broccoli Salad Dressing
The creamy dressing is mainly mayonnaise and vinegar; much like coleslaw. Luckily, vegan mayo isn’t hard to come by. I love both Vegenaise by Earth Island/Follow Your Heart and Just Mayo by Hampton Creek. If you can’t find these in your local shops, it’s pretty easy to make your own! I love the Classic Mayo recipe in Miyoko Schinner’s The Homemade Vegan Pantry.
For a low-fat option, sometimes I just use silken tofu with a pinch of black salt (kala namak). I usually choose the full-fat version when I’m making this for my boyfriend but if it’s an everyday kind of lunch, I’ll choose the low-fat version so I can “spend” my fat intake on other foods. You can make the dressing more thick and creamy by using more vegan mayo/silken tofu or lighter and more tangy with more vinegar or lemon juice, or a combination of the two.
Vegan Broccoli Salad Mix-ins
Common mix-ins include red onion, raisins or cranberries, and nuts or seeds. Since that Thanksgiving meal, I’ve tried it many ways according to what I had on hand. Cranberries are my favourite because they add a lovely color along with those red onions. And I like using walnuts because of their distinct aroma but almonds are my favourite because of how they absorb the dressing and develop this crunchy yet meaty texture.
While many non-vegan recipes for broccoli salad or slaw include bacon as a common ingredient, I don’t feel any extra salty fatty ingredient is necessary to make this salad complete. You could try coconut bacon or mushroom bacon though. Also, vegan bacon bits. Many regular store-bought bacon bits products are actually vegan friendly as they are made with simulated bacon bits (soy).
Putting it all together
After combining the dressing with your choice of veggies and mix-ins, chill it in the fridge overnight for best results. This way, all the flavours get a chance to mingle. The hardy texture of broccoli stands up well and can be enjoyed up 3 to 5 days after you make this salad. I think it only gets better with time!
Printable Recipe for Vegan Broccoli Salad
- 1 head of broccoli (450g)*
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins (50g)
- 1/3 cup walnuts or almonds, raw or roasted (40g)
- 3 tablespoons chopped red onion (25g)
- 4 - 6 pitted dates or sweetener of choice**
- 6 tablespoons vegan mayo (90ml)
- 3 tablespoons vinegar/lemon juice of choice or to taste (45ml)
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- vegan bacon bits
- For the dressing, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth using your regular blender or immersion blender. Taste and adjust to your preference.
- Separate the washed and dried broccoli florets into bit sized pieces. If using the broccoli stems, cut into matchsticks or grate them. Mix the broccoli, cranberries or raisins, nuts or seeds, and red onion with your dressing. Taste and adjust for salt.
- For best results, cover and chill overnight so the flavours can mingle and develop. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days.
- Serve chilled and add some vegan bacon bits just before serving if you like.
*Raw VS Cooked Broccoli
If you're not used to eating raw broccoli, feel free to blanch it (dip in boiling water) for a couple minutes, just until it turns bright green. Then, immediately rinse in ice cold water to stop the cooking and drain very well. Use a salad spinner to dry it very well before adding the dressing.
**Dates or other sweeteners
Dates vary greatly in sweetness so use as many as you like. Alternatively, you may use any sweetener you prefer including maple syrup, agave, or sugar.
Serving Size:1/6 of recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 346mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 4gSugar: 17gProtein: 3g
Nutritional Information automatically calculated by a plugin and may not be correct.