Broccoli slaw is a classic summer salad to serve at potlucks and barbeques. This vegan version retains all of the texture, colour, and contrasting flavours of the original. It’s an easy crowd-pleaser that takes less than 35 minutes to toss together.
A sweet and tangy poppy seed dressing and a blend of broccoli florets and slaw are the base of the salad. Roasted sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, crispy tempeh bacon bits, and red onion add flavourful pops of nuttiness, tart sweetness, smoky savouriness, and bite.
Preparing the poppy seed dressing takes just 5 minutes in a blender. Blitz the onion with white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, and salt. Slowly drizzle in the oil to make an emulsion and add a touch of vegan mayo for extra creaminess. Finish off the simple dressing with a spoonful of poppy seeds.
Adding vegan bacon bits is optional. To make crispy vegan bacon bits, pan-fry the tempeh in a generous amount of vegetable oil. Once both sides are browned, break the strips into bits and continue cooking them until they’re crispy. Once the “bacon” bits are cooked, drain off the excess oil. Using vegan butter/margarine or too little oil makes for a softer texture. Lightlife’s Smoky Tempeh Strips are my go-to for vegan bacon bits and BLT’s.
I use a store-bought broccoli slaw mix because it’s much easier and more convenient than making it from scratch. It’s a colourful combination of shredded broccoli stems, red cabbage, and carrots.
Finish up the vegan broccoli slaw by tossing the florets, slaw, cranberries, sunflower seeds, “bacon” bits, and onion together. Mix in the remaining poppy seed dressing. (Maximize flavour by massaging some of the poppy seed dressing into the tops of the broccoli florets.) Just before serving, garnish the broccoli salad with an extra sprinkle of sunflower seeds and bacon bits.
Broccoli Slaw Tips and Substitutions:
- If you won’t be serving the salad to a group of people, don’t mix the dressing into the broccoli salad right away. It’ll last longer if you dress individual portions just before serving.
- Mellow the red onion so it doesn't overpower the rest of the salad.
- Soak the chopped onion in salt water and give it a rinse before adding it to the broccoli salad.
- Swap out the dried cranberries. Add some raisins (golden sultanas are a great option) or dried currants instead. Some chopped apple is another option that adds sweetness and crunch. Choose a super crisp, slightly tart variety like Pink Lady or Honeycrisp.
- Swap out the sunflower seeds. Add some green pumpkin seeds or chopped almonds instead. Choose salted and roasted nuts/seeds for the best flavour and crunch!
- Use a natural sweetener in the poppy seed dressing. Natural sweeteners with caramel notes (like maple syrup or coconut sugar) compliments the Dijon mustard in the dressing beautifully.
More Vegan Summer Salads
- Vegan Italian Pasta Salad
- Vegan Greek Salad with Tofu “Feta”
- Vegan Rainbow Potato Salad
- Creamy Mayo-Free Vegan Potato Salad
- Classic Vegan Macaroni Salad
- Tex-Mex 3 Bean Potato Salad
This vegan broccoli slaw salad is full of texture and flavour. Broccoli florets, slaw mix, roasted sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, smoky tempeh bacon, red onion, and a tangy-sweet poppy seed dressing.
Poppy Seed Dressing:
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) finely chopped white or yellow onion
- 1 ½ tbsp (21.5 ml) Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) *coarse sea salt, more to taste
- ¾ cup (175 ml) canola oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) vegan mayo
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) poppy seeds
Broccoli Crunch Salad:
- 3-4 slices (60 grams) tempeh bacon (optional)
- Canola oil, for pan-frying tempeh bacon (optional)
- 4 cups (340 grams) broccoli florets
- 4 cups (1 - 340 gram bag) broccoli slaw, packed
- ½ cup (70 grams) dried cranberries
- ½ cup (70 grams) roasted, salted sunflower seeds, plus more for topping
- ⅓ cup (50 grams) chopped red onion, soaked in salt water and rinsed (optional)
Poppy Seed Dressing:
- In a blender, add white wine vinegar, sugar, onion, Dijon mustard, and sea salt. Blend on high for 20 seconds. Turn speed down to minimum and very slowly drizzle in the canola oil. After incorporating the canola oil, continue blending on low for another 30 seconds. Add vegan mayo and poppy seeds, and blend on minimum until mixed well. Set aside.
Broccoli Crunch Salad:
- Optional: Heat canola oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add tempeh bacon strips. Cook tempeh strips until browned, flip, and cook the other side. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break the tempeh into bits. Continue cooking until the tempeh bits are crispy. Drain and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, add ⅓ of the poppy seed dressing to the broccoli florets. Work the dressing into the tops of the florets.
- Adding to the broccoli florets and dressing, mix in the broccoli slaw, tempeh bacon bits (reserve some for topping, if desired), sunflower seeds, red onion, and dried cranberries.
- *Add enough of the remaining poppy seed dressing to coat the salad. Add more dressing to taste. Chill.
- After the salad has chilled, taste and adjust seasoning before serving. Top with extra sunflower seeds and tempeh bacon bits.
*If using fine sea salt, start with 2 tsp and add more to taste.
*Dress the salad just a few hours prior to serving.
*If you are not serving the entire salad at once: Combine all of the ingredients but do not mix in the poppy seed dressing. Dress individual portions of salad before serving.
Keywords: vegan, broccoli slaw, broccoli salad, vegan broccoli slaw, vegan broccoli salad