Broccoli salad is a quick, tasty, and refreshing way to enjoy this healthy vegetable as a creamy and crunchy side dish for BBQs, parties, and potlucks.

Crispy broccoli florets meet a creamy and tangy dressing. And the crunchy almonds and flavorful bits of sun-dried tomatoes make it delicious without bacon.

Broccoli salad with almonds and lemon

This broccoli salad combines indulgent and healthy, crunchy and creamy, light and fulfilling all in one tasty bowl.

It’s our interpretation of the classic broccoli salad recipe. We use almonds and sun-dried tomatoes instead of sharp cheddar cheese and bacon bits.

The result is a crunchier, nuttier, and healthier broccoli salad that everyone will love.

There are three things to keep in mind when making the best broccoli salad recipe:

  1. Cut the broccoli into smaller-than-you-think bite-size pieces.
  2. Cut the mayo with Greek-style yogurt (non-dairy works, too) for a creamy yet lighter and more refreshing salad.
  3. You don’t have to use cheddar and bacon – almonds (crunch) and sun-dried tomatoes (flavor) are divine with broccoli.

The recipe is excellent for meal prep, potlucks, BBQs, and cookouts as it lasts for days in the fridge, getting better as the broccoli sits in the sauce.

Broccoli Salad with extra mayonnaise dressing

Ingredients & Substitutions

ingredients for broccoli salad

For the broccoli salad

  • Broccoli: fresh raw broccoli is best; cut into small bite-size pieces.
  • Red onion: substitute shallots or spring onions.
  • Sunflower seeds: substitute pumpkin seeds or pepitas, or use a mix.
  • Almonds: substitute walnuts or pecans.
  • Dried cranberries: substitute raisins, dried blueberries, dried apricots, or other dried fruit.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes in oil: optional; they add a nice salty flavor, and we use them instead of bacon bits.

For the broccoli salad dressing

  • Mayo: you can use our quick vegan mayo or your favorite storebought mayo.
  • Yogurt: we recommend plain Greek yogurt or sour cream; non-dairy alternatives work well too.
  • Maple syrup: substitute sugar.
  • Apple cider vinegar: substitute lemon juice, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, or rice vinegar.
  • Salt & black pepper: we recommend sea salt.
Broccoli Salad with lemon

How to make broccoli salad

1. Make the broccoli salad dressing

In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, Greek-style yogurt, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Set aside.

Broccoli Salad dressing

2. Toast the almonds

If you like, chop the almonds into small pieces. Then toast the almonds and seeds in a small skillet for a couple of minutes or until they start to brown and pop. Set aside.

Toasted nuts and seeds are crunchier and more flavorful than raw ones.

seeds and almonds in a pan

3. Cut the broccoli

Rinse, drain, and dry the broccoli, then cut it into small bite-size florets.

You can also cut part of the stem into small pieces. Peel the outer part of the stem if it’s woody.

Broccoli florets and chopped stem

4. Mix the salad

To a large bowl, add chopped broccoli, chopped red onion, cranberries, toasted almonds and seeds, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

Broccoli Salad ingredients in a bowl

Add the dressing and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust for salt.

Serve or store in the fridge.

Broccoli Salad with cranberries

Serving suggestions

Serve this salad with your favorite grilled protein for BBQs, cookouts, 4th of July celebrations, and summer parties.

We love it with our BBQ Tofu (coming soon).

Broccoli salad served with plant based patty
Broccoli salad served with a grilled plant-based burger patty.

You can serve it with other summer salads, such as:

Tips

  • Florets: cut the broccoli into smaller-than-you-think florets. No one wants a large piece of raw broccoli with not enough dressing on it.
  • Stem: broccoli stems are perfectly edible and tender. We advise peeling it before chopping it and adding it to the salad.
  • Dressing: half mayo and half Greek-style yogurt or non-dairy yogurt make a light, creamy, tangy, and delicious dressing.
  • Let it sit: if you have the time, let the broccoli salad sit for 20 minutes before serving it.

Questions

Can you make broccoli salad in advance?

Yes, you can make broccoli salad 2 to 3 days in advance. The salad keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge, and it gets tastier after a few hours because the sauce and the veggies have time to meld.

Can broccoli salad be frozen?

No, we don’t recommend freezing broccoli salad. The dressing and the other ingredients will separate, the broccoli will lose its fresh and crunchy texture, and the salad won’t taste as good.

Can broccoli salad be made with frozen broccoli?

Yes, however, I recommend blanching the frozen broccoli in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, then draining them and letting them cool and dry thoroughly before making the salad.

Storage

Make ahead: you can make broccoli salad 2 days in advance, and it will taste even better.

Refrigerator: keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days.

Freezer: we don’t recommend freezing this recipe.

More summer salad ideas

Get more colorful and wholesome summer salad inspiration from these sides and meal ideas:

More broccoli recipes

If you love cooking with broccoli, get easy meal inspiration with these veggiepacked dishes:

For many more side dish ideas, check out our sides category page.

Broccoli salad in a white bowl

Broccoli Salad

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 21 votes
Broccoli salad is a quick, tasty, and refreshing way to enjoy this healthy vegetable as a creamy and crunchy side dish for BBQs, parties, and potlucks.
Crispy broccoli florets meet a creamy and tangy dressing. And the crunchy almonds and flavorful bits of sun-dried tomatoes make it delicious without bacon.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Course: Side dish
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 2 heads broccoli about 1½ pounds; cut into small florets and stem chopped into small pieces
  • ½ red onion finely chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup almonds chopped and toasted
  • ¼ cup seeds sunflower or pumpkin; toasted
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil optional; chopped

Broccoli salad dressing

  • ½ cup vegan mayo or your favorite mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

  • DRESSING: In a small bowl, whisk ½ cup vegan mayo, ½ cup Greek-style yogurt, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Set aside.
    Broccoli Salad dressing
  • NUTS & SEEDS: Toast ¼ cup almonds and ¼ cup seeds in a small skillet for a couple of minutes or until they start to brown and pop. You can chop the almonds into smaller pieces if you like. Set aside.
    seeds and almonds in a pan
  • BROCCOLI: Rinse, drain, and dry the broccoli, then cut it into small bite-size florets.
    You can also cut part of the stem into small pieces. Peel the outer part of the stem if it's woody.
    Broccoli in a white bowl
  • SALAD: To a large mixing bowl, add chopped broccoli, chopped red onion, cranberries, toasted almonds and seeds, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
    Broccoli Salad ingredients in a bowl
  • TOSS: Add the dressing and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust for salt.
    Serve or store in the fridge.
    Broccoli Salad with cranberries

Video

Creamy Broccoli Salad (no bacon)

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 serving of broccoli salad out of 8 servings.
STORAGE
Make ahead: you can make broccoli salad 2 days in advance, and it will taste even better.
Refrigerator: keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days.
Freezer: we don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 236kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Potassium: 454mg, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 651IU, Vitamin B6: 0.2mg, Vitamin C: 85mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 87µg, Calcium: 76mg, Folate: 59µg, Iron: 1mg, Manganese: 0.4mg, Magnesium: 38mg, Zinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

    1. Hi Linda,
      I’m very happy you liked the broccoli salad. Thanks so much for leaving a message here.
      Best,
      Louise

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. I added grapes and it could not have been better. My kids asked for seconds and thirds. Will definitely be on our regular rotation. Thanks for a great tasting and healthy salad.

    1. Hi Amy,
      That’s fantastic – I’m delighted your kids liked the broccoli salad!
      Thanks so much for leaving a comment, and have a great week ahead.
      Kindest,
      Louise