Creamy Vegan Broccoli & Quinoa Salad

Healthy Broccoli Quinoa Salad made with a creamy cashew dressing [gluten-free + vegan]

How do you make a super creamy salad but completely skip out on the dairy?

If you have removed dairy from you diet, I’m guessing it’s a question you’ve been asking yourself since you first made the change. I know it’s a question I’d been trying to answer for quite a long time, until I discovered cashew cream. Cashew cream is a dairy-free, cream-lovers dream. You can use it to replace dairy in things like dressings, sauces, milks, and creams.

You can even make a non-dairy cheese alternative for pizzas (check out my cashew ricotta recipe).

Healthy Broccoli Quinoa Salad made with a creamy cashew dressing [gluten-free + vegan]

Lately, I’ve been using cashew cream mostly as a dressing, like in this broccoli quinoa salad. It makes a wonderful base that you can spice up with different flavors – like ranch or caesar – depending on the mood that you’re in.

What I love about this salad is that it’s rich and filling while still being light. You can easily spruce it up to make it an entree size by adding chicken or chickpeas, or keep it as is for a simple side dish or light lunch. Either way, I’m sure (even if you’re a dairy-lover), you’ll be a cashew cream convert after you try this creamy broccoli-quinoa salad.

Healthy Broccoli Quinoa Salad made with a creamy cashew dressing [gluten-free + vegan]

Share this recipe!

Creamy Vegan Broccoli & Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2 - 4 servings


    for the salad:
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Creamy dressing

  • for the dressing:
  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours in 2 cups water (or 20 minutes in boiling water)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons cooked quinoa
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss broccoli in oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until golden brown and softened slightly, about 15 - 20 minutes.
  2. While broccoli is roasting, prepare dressing. Pour cashews into a fine mesh strainer and rinse until water runs clear.
  3. Transfer to a high powered blender and add remaining ingredients. Blend on high until creamy.
  4. When broccoli is done, remove from oven and transfer to mixing bowl. Add quinoa, drizzle with lemon juice and toss to combine.
  5. Pour dressing over broccoli-quinoa mixture and stir until evenly coated.
  6. Serve immediately (for a warm salad) or chill in fridge for at least two hours.

simply-quinoa-instagramIf you make this recipe, make sure to snap a pic and share it on Instagram using #SIMPLYQUINOA – I want to see your own quinoa creations!

Please note: this recipe was originally shared as a guest post on Beard + Bonnet. To read the full post, click here!

  • Mindy Fair

    Can’t wait to try this! Love your recipes and info! Can you suggest an alternative for cheese?

    • Queen of Quinoa

      What sort of cheese are you trying to replace? Shredded? Goat? Let me know and I’ll be happy to give you some suggestions :)

      • Mindy Fair

        I’m looking to replace shredded cheese and cheddar block cheese. I’ve tried almond cheese but it seemed tasteless. ? Thanks so much for your help! :)

  • Sylvia

    I am sick and tired of being redirected to several sites before getting the information being promoted. I don’t have the patience nor time to be jerked around.

    • Meg @ Beard and Bonnet

      It’s a shame that you fell that way! As bloggers and food writers we often share our recipes on other sites and like to also let our loyal readers know where they can find our work. As I am sure you know this is our job and for many of us it is how we make a living. Clicking through a link really isn’t that much additional effort for a free recipe as opposed to going to the store and buying a cookbook. I appreciate Alyssa for sharing her delicious recipe on my site and also for directing her followers to see the post. Who knows, someone may find that they really like my site and find value ion the information and recipes that are there. Without her linking through they may have never found it otherwise. I hope your day gets a little bit brighter!

      • Denise

        I get what you’re saying Meg, but I too am getting very fed up of having to play online tag to get a recipe or pattern that was promoted in an e-mail newsletter from a site I like. After all, that is the reason I sign up for such newsletters in the first place. So I don’t *have* to go looking for the recipe I thought I’d be getting by clicking on the link to here or any other site I subscribe to.

        Many of us have limited free time these days, and speaking for myself, I sure don’t appreciate having to spend an extra few minutes playing online tag to get access to something I thought I was by clicking the original link to here through the newsletter. The same newsletter I’d subscribed to in order to save some time instead of having to open up my browser, then looking up the site in my bookmarks, then looking through the list of recipes and…

        BTW, that cookbook excuse you gave, at least I’d *know* I would be getting direct access to the recipe I wanted and not be sent on a hunt for it. Which depending on what the various server rates are per month, that cookbook actually could end up being cheaper in the long run, as nothing online is truly free.

        I get that bloggers share and need people coming to their sites to keep them going. I truly do get that. However, this new and loathsome trend is not only frustrating people who only want ease of access to the information they want, but is also turning people off to the point they’ve had enough and are not returning to the sites they once loved.

        I would hate having to do that w/this site, as it’s wonderful and a God send to those newly diagnoised w/Gluten Issues like myself. I really would, but there’s got to be a better way of sharing recipes, patterns, whatever among the blogs.

        As I said, there’s got to be a better way than this.

        • Queen of Quinoa

          Denise, thank you for the comment and I appreciate you honestly.

          I do have to say that I’m a bit surprised at the reaction. I of course know that we live in a busy digital world full of content, and I value the time that you give me to share my recipes with you. I don’t often share my own guest posts on this site, but I chose to share this particular one because I knew that it would resonate with many of my readers. I feel that there are special occasions in which I will share posts like this because, in my opinion and if I was in your shoes, I would rather have the opportunity to see a recipe that fits within my dietary needs and that I know I will enjoy, than to not see it at all.

          You’re entitled to your own opinion and I hope that clicking one extra link doesn’t make you want to stop reading, but I understand if that is your choice. My promise to all of my readers is to continue to share gluten-free recipes and nutritional information to support them on their journey to better health.

          Best of luck to you!

    • Nicole

      Haha then don’t follow them! You are complaining for no reason. Come up with your own food and don’t look at these amazing blogs. You are ridiculous not the blog people!

      • Queen of Quinoa

        Thanks for the support Nicole :) xo!

    • Queen of Quinoa

      I appreciate your comment Sylvia, but honestly I’m a little surprised that you feel that way. I don’t often share recipes on this site that link out to other posts, but when I do it’s on special occasion, when I know that my audience will really appreciate me sharing it. My hope is that, not only will they be happy to get a brand new recipe that fits their dietary needs, but also are able to discover another source of inspiration for their own cooking. I will continue to share the content the majority of my readers will find valuable, whether it’s directly on my site or not. I hope you can appreciate that.

  • Meg @ Beard and Bonnet

    Alyssa, thank you so much for guest posting on my site! This salad is incredible and so easy to pull together. Even my kids went nuts for it!

  • Debbie Novack

    I agree with Sylvia. I am sure I probably miss things because I don’t have the patience to chase them. Don’t make it so hard and/or time consuming for us to get the recipes.

    • Queen of Quinoa

      Debbie, I’m sorry that you feel this way also. It’s not my intention to give you the run around. Just the opposite in fact. The point is that I know this recipe will resonate with many of my readers and didn’t want to not share it with them simply because I guest posted on another blog. It seems silly to deprive my readers of a recipe I know they will enjoy just because they have to click one link. Hope you understand as this is something that I will likely do again sometime.

  • shakti

    I am just happy to receive recipes that I really enjoy.
    I do not want every thing, we all eat differently, but I think a lot of people get things that enhance their diet and lives. I cannot be the only one that gas had my repertoire shrinking and I appreciate variety.
    So…..Thank you!

    • Queen of Quinoa

      Thrilled you’re finding things that work in your diet Shakti!

  • Dana

    I am new to your sight and can’t tell you how much I am enjoying my experience. Thanks to today’s post I now feel like a met yet another friend at Beard and Bonnet. Can’t wait to try this recipe as well as the quinoa Mac and cheese. You ladies rock!! Thanks for giving of yourselves in this way!!

    • Queen of Quinoa

      Dana you are just the sweetest. Thank you for that note. That’s the whole idea behind sharing my guest posts with my readers – so they can explore the other amazing blogs out there. I’m glad you enjoy B&B also – you’re going to go crazy for her recipes :)

  • Kayla Seah

    This looks just perfect! My favourite combination of ingredients.

    • Queen of Quinoa

      Hope you enjoy it! Thanks for commenting :)

  • Sylvia

    I have been eating quinoa for four years and enjoy trying new recipes. I understand you want to support other bloggers. Why can’t you go ahead and print the recipe and give the credit to the other blogger along with a link to their website. Most likely I would follow that link as I have done in the past. This new trend is annoying and seems to be becoming the norm among bloggers. It is annoying and I have started unsubscribing as I did with your newsletter right after making my original comment. I am also unsubscribing from newsletters that link me to videos to get the promoted information. I am a visual learner and can read faster than dragging though a video. I am finding it harder and harder to get information on the web.

    • Megan


      Don’t get your panties all in a twist! It’s called social networking for a reason. It is literally like going to a grocery store to buy bread, meat, produce, etc. Major grocery stores buy products from other stores and them sell them. The Internet is one big grocery store. Sometimes you have to spend the extra 3 seconds to hunt for the perfect steak… or clicking on a link to get the recipe. It’s 3 seconds. You don’t have 3 seconds? If you are so busy that you do not have 3 seconds, then your schedule may be too tight… just sayin’…


      You truly are the Queen of Quinoa! My daughter literally ate four things before I found this site… macaroni and cheese, chicken, peas, and quinoa. Because of the recipes you have shared her palate has matured. I would click through NUMEROUS websites to see what you have to offer! I appreciate your hard work, creativity, and ability to help those of us with overly picky eaters!

  • Cat

    I made this tonight for the family and it is delicious! Thanks for another great recipe. Thanks too for introducing me to Beard & Bonnet, I’ve enjoyed looking around Meg’s site and reading through some of her great looking recipes too. x

    • Queen of Quinoa

      Yay!! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Cat. It’s amazing how easy it is, right?! And you’re so very welcome for introducing you to Meg – her recipes are absolutely amazing and her photos are stunning! Have a great night :)

  • Jennifer

    I’ve made cashew cream before and found the cashew flavor to be very strong. Of course, I know it will have that flavor because it’s made from cashews, but what I’m wondering is, will the cashew flavor overpower the rest of the recipe?

    • Queen of Quinoa

      I think for this one it would be a little different because there are so many other ingredients. To me, it really didn’t taste like cashews, it taste like broccoli and quinoa but had a nice undertone of creaminess. Hope that helps! xo

  • Amanda

    Wow… just stumbled upon your blog. Was actually looking to see if anyone had mentioned a substitute for the cashews as I do not have them on hand and I cannot believe these posts! Stunning how people can be so ungrateful. I am looking forward to checking out more on your site. Love the name! Thank you :) God Bless!

    • Queen of Quinoa

      Thank you for that message, Amanda. I really appreciate it :) Your support means the world.

      As for a replacement for the cashews…the only thing I can think of that might work is coconut cream. You could try it with soaked almonds, but they’re not going to get as creamy (maybe almonds + coconut cream?). If you can have dairy, I think greek yogurt would be delish (the dairy-free ones I’m afraid would be too sweet). If you do end up trying it, sans cashews, I’d love to hear what you try!

      Thanks again :) xo!

  • Anna Martin

    Do you have a recipe for quinoa stuffed peppers and cabbage?
    Thanks Anna Martin

  • Shirley

    I really appreciate your site and your hard work and creativity in developing great (and printable) GF recipes. One of us is celiac and your recipes are a hit with the whole family. Occasional links to other sites with equally delicious and healthy recipes are great. Thank you.

    • Queen of Quinoa

      Thank for the sweet comment Shirley. I really appreciate that :) And I’m happy to know that you’re finding recipes that work for your family and are making your meals more enjoyable. That’s the whole reason I do what I do, so it warms my heart to hear first hand that you’re enjoying them! xo

  • Pingback: Creamy Broccoli andamp; Quinoa Salad | IMG Recipes: Food Recipes, Photos & Tips()

  • Terry

    Alyssa, in life, you will meet all kinds of people, and experience just as many different recipes. Don’t let a few unhappy people decide your life. You handled the situation royally, and I’m sure you have many, many more appreciative followers that outweigh the negative ones. You are offering a great resource and it will be their loss if they unsubscribe.

    Thank you for all your recipes and hard work!!!
    Keep smiling!!

    • Queen of Quinoa

      Thank you, Terry. Your note has made me feel so much better and I’m really thankful for you taking the time to comment. It’s always hard to push back the negativity, but with all the positive feedback I’ve gotten today, it’s made me realize how important it is to be able to brush things off and move forward :) xo!

  • Megan

    Like I said before, you are amazing! Keep it up girl!

    • Queen of Quinoa

      Thanks sweetie!! xoxo

  • Sarah

    I just made this recipe and love it! Also, the extra nanosecond it took to click on the link to the other website didn’t both me at all :)

    • Queen of Quinoa

      :) Yay!! Isn’t it lovely? One of our favorites in my house! xo