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.
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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:
- Cut the broccoli into smaller-than-you-think bite-size pieces.
- Cut the mayo with Greek-style yogurt (non-dairy works, too) for a creamy yet lighter and more refreshing salad.
- 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.
Ingredients & Substitutions
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.
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.
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.
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.
4. Mix the salad
To a large bowl, add chopped broccoli, chopped red onion, cranberries, toasted almonds and seeds, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
Add the dressing and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust for salt.
Serve or store in the fridge.
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).
You can serve it with other summer salads, such as:
- Dill potato salad (mayonnaise, potato, celery, pickled cucumber, dill, etc.)
- Watermelon salad (watermelon, feta-style cheese, lemon, pistachios, mint, etc.)
- Greek cucumber salad (cherry tomato, cucumber, olives, red onion, oregano, etc.)
- Red cabbage slaw (carrot, red cabbage, dried cranberries, maple syrup, etc.)
- Zucchini ribbon salad (cherry tomato, pine nuts, zucchini, lemon juice, olive oil, etc.)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Coleslaw (red cabbage, carrot, Greek-style yogurt, mayonnaise, etc.)
- Creamy pasta salad (mayonnaise, pasta, corn, white beans, red onion, olives, etc.)
- Black bean salad (black beans, corn, sweet potato, bell pepper, lime, etc.)
- Mango black bean salad (mango, quinoa, bell pepper, black beans, cucumber, etc.)
- Chickpea pasta salad (chickpeas, pasta, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, corn, etc.)
More broccoli recipes
If you love cooking with broccoli, get easy meal inspiration with these veggie-packed dishes:
- Roasted broccoli (broccoli florets, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, etc.)
- Broccoli pasta (orecchiette pasta, broccoli, garlic, parmesan cheese, etc.)
- Creamy broccoli soup (broccoli, vegetable broth, potato, leek, butter, etc.)
- Tofu stir-fry (noodles, sesame oil, rice vinegar, bell pepper, broccoli, etc.)
For many more side dish ideas, check out our sides category page.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- SALAD: To a large mixing bowl, add chopped broccoli, chopped red onion, cranberries, toasted almonds and seeds, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
- TOSS: Add the dressing and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust for salt.Serve or store in the fridge.