Healthy Vegan Broccoli Salad
Broccoli salad is an absolute potluck classic…and this healthy vegan broccoli salad is sure to please a crowd! Creamy, tangy, sweet and crunchy, this healthy vegan salad is so easy to make. It’s packed with nutrient-dense plants and keeps really well.
All veg are good veg, but if she had to pick favourites, this dietitian would absolutely vote for a daily serving of cruciferous veggies like broccoli, kale, and arugula. These vegetables are incredibly nutrient-dense and have unique anti-inflammatory phytochemicals like glucosinolates that are well-researched to support optimal health.
And if you can turn them into a creamy, crunchy, sweet and tangy salad…well, all the better.
This healthy vegan broccoli salad is ‘health food’ for the rest of us: nutrient-dense but also flavourful, craveable and so easy to throw together. Because your body doesn’t run on what you DON’T eat. It thrives on the plants you DO eat. So yep, this salad has a bit of vegan mayo in it. And a bit of maple syrup—because it’s DELICIOUS…and doesn’t take away from all the goodness you’re about to pop into your mouth. That’s healthy living you can actually live with, am I right?
How to Make a Healthy Vegan Broccoli Salad
This vegan spin on a classic broccoli salad is adapted from a recipe I wrote for my first ever book, Un-Junk Your Diet. It’s a lot like the broccoli salads you remember, minus the bacon: it’s got bite-sized pieces of broccoli and plenty of whole food sweetness from grapes and apple. I’ve added some extra crunch from chopped almonds (go for salted almonds if you like!) and snuck a bit of hemp hearts in to give you a boost of minerals and omega 3 fatty acids without altering the flavour one bit.
All you need to do is whisk up the dijon + mayo-based dressing, chop everything up into bite-sized pieces and then toss the salad together. Easy peasy! The only reason it takes 20 minutes to prep is because chopping does take a bit of time!
Health Benefits of Broccoli
Broccoli is the original ‘superfood’ AKA a plant that just has a lot of good stuff in it. It has long been touted as part of an ‘anti-cancer’ lifestyle…but what does that even mean? It does NOT mean that broccoli is going to cure cancer. It does mean that there are naturally-occurring plant compounds that have been associated in research (primarily lab-level studies) with supporting a healthy cell cycle and combating chronic inflammation. It’s not a panacea, but all the more reason to enjoy cruciferous veggies like broccoli as part of a healthy anti-inflammatory diet.
- One cup of raw broccoli contains more than a day’s worth of vitamin C to support your immune system, boost iron absorption and healthy collagen production in the skin, and also contains anti-inflammatory, bone-strengthening vitamin K.
- It also contains small amounts of plant-based protein and fibre: about 2.5 grams each. Broccoli boasts plenty of folate for building healthy babies and red blood cells plus small amounts of energizing minerals like manganese, copper, and iron.
- Broccoli is packed with supportive phytochemicals such as kaempferol, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
- One of the most exciting benefits of broccoli is the level of glucosinolate compounds found in broccoli. In the research, these sulfur-based compounds are thought to support the liver in its detoxification work as well as support a healthy cell cycle and help protect the body from oxidative damage and inflammation.
Want to boost your broccoli benefits even further? Add mustard, like I did here! Myrosinase, an enzyme found in mustard, helps with the bioavailability of sulfur-based compounds in broccoli.
Vegan Broccoli Salad Tips and Tricks
- You can absolutely make this salad ahead of time! This salad keeps really well in the fridge for 2-3 days, but I do find it is more flavourful on the first day.
- Making the florets quite small means more dressing coverage and makes it even more delicious.
- If you like a sweeter (vs tangier) salad, up the maple syrup to 1 tablespoon. You can also use cane sugar if you wish.
- Try this salad with salted almonds for an extra yum factor!
- It’s really important you love the flavour of your vegan mayo…it makes a big difference to the salad! In my opinion, the tastiest store-bought option is Hellman’s Vegan but if you’ve got 3 minutes and a can of chickpeas lying around, maybe try making my vegan avocado oil mayo (it’s easy!).
What to Serve with This Broccoli Salad
This broccoli salad will go so well with whatever you’re serving…but here are a few ideas!
- A yummy veggie burger, like my beet + black bean burger or my buffalo white bean burgers
- A chickpea tuna sandwich, or my tofu eggless salad sandwich
- BBQ Tofu skewers
- Veggie sausages
Healthy Vegan Broccoli Salad
- 1 lb broccoli crowns, longer stems diced and florets cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium-sized apple, skin on, diced (I like pink lady apples)
- 1 cup red or purple grapes, cut in half
- ¼ cup almonds, or sunflower seeds, chopped
- 2 tbsp hemp hearts
- ⅓ cup vegan mayo
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ clove garlic, crushed or micrograted
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- In a large salad bowl, whisk up mayo, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, garlic, and pepper.
- Add the broccoli, apple, grapes, almonds, and hemp hearts. Toss thoroughly to coat.