This Healthy Broccoli Salad recipe is a colorful, crunchy and crisp vegetable side dish tossed in a simple sweet onion dressing – no mayo in sight! Make ahead and vegan friendly, serve it throughout the week or bring to all your potluck parties with friends.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- A lighter version of the classic broccoli salad – think low calorie, low fat, super healthy!
- Jazzed up way to enjoy raw broccoli – and your kids will love it, too!
- Super convenient make ahead recipe that tastes better as the days go by!
- Incredibly dietary friendly, as it is vegan, gluten free and paleo.
Is Broccoli Salad Healthy?
It sure is! Especially when you make it with fresh ingredients and from scratch.
Broccoli is an underrated superfood, in my opinion. It is a great source of fiber, folate, vitamin K1, vitamin C (yes! Vitamin C!), iron, and more.
If you aren’t a fan of plain broccoli but love having it dressed up, then this healthy cold broccoli salad is perfect.
Do You Cook Broccoli for Broccoli Salad?
Nope! You start off with raw broccoli and the vinegar in the dressing naturally breaks down the tough fibers in the broccoli to make it texturally appealing! I love it because this is a no-cook recipe.
TIP: If you prefer the texture of cooked broccoli, blanch it for 1 minute in salted boiling water, then shock it in a large bowl of ice water. Drain and proceed with the recipe.
Ingredients You Will Need:
Broccoli salad is a classic side dish to bring to any and all types of gatherings. We’re leaving out the cheddar cheese and bacon bits you’d find in traditional broccoli salad to make this recipe vegan friendly. We will need:
- broccoli heads – you will need about 3 small broccoli heads, or 6 cups broccoli florets. Just make sure to wash and dry the broccoli before chopping.
- carrots – you can either buy prepped and ready matchstick carrots at the grocery store or julienne whole carrots at home.
- red onion – diced red onion adds crunch and nice savory bite.
- almonds – slivered or sliced almonds will both work. Buy them toasted or toast them at home to bring out their natural oils. If you’d like to keep this recipe nut free, you could use all sunflower seeds or use pepitas in place of the almonds.
- sunflower seeds – for even more crunch. Look for roasted and unsalted.
- dried cherries – for the dried fruit, dried cherries will give you a more tart bite, whereas dried cranberries will give you a sweeter one. You could also do a blend! There’s a variety mix that includes blueberries, too.
- Vidalia onion – we’re using a sweet onion to make a creamy sweet onion vinaigrette. If you’re not a big fan of onion dressing, check the recipe card for an alternative dressing recipe.
- olive oil – we’re making a mayo free dressing so this broccoli salad is egg free and vegan friendly. Olive oil adds a nice, fruity richness.
- apple cider vinegar – for pop and sweet acidity.
- maple syrup – to add a touch of robust sweetness.
- mustard – to add spice and balance the sweetness level. I love a stone ground Dijon mustard.
- coconut aminos – for umami and savory flavor.
- salt + pepper – to enhance all those sweet onion flavors.
Find the complete recipe with measurements in the recipe card below, at the end of this post.
Broccoli Salad Prep Tips
Most of the prep time in this recipe comes from cutting the vegetables. You can reduce the amount of time by buying pre-cut broccoli crowns and matchstick carrots.
The dressing is simple to make as well. Just roughly chop the onion before adding it and the rest of the ingredients into a small blender.
If doing some meal prep, you can store the cut vegetables, dried cherries, nuts and seeds in one large bowl, and make the dressing separately when you’re ready. Or make it all at once and allow the dressing to absorb into the salad ingredients (more on this below!).
How to Make
With all that being said, you can have this easy healthy broccoli salad recipe prepped and ready for the fridge in 10 minutes – and that’s good enough for me! Here’s how to do it:
Wash and dry broccoli, then cut the broccoli crowns fairly small, so they’re easy to eat. Dice the red onion and prepare the carrots julienne style, if not using store-bought matchstick carrots.
Add all the vegetables to a large bowl, along with the almonds, sunflower seeds, and dried cherries.
TIP: If you’d like a thinner dressing, add 1-2 tablespoons of water or non-dairy milk. For a creamy dressing, add 1 Tablespoon Greek yogurt (dairy-free yogurt to keep it vegan!).
Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and toss gently to coat.
Let It Soak
If you can, let the dressed broccoli salad rest for at least one hour in the fridge, or ideally overnight. Broccoli salad is best when the dressing has some time to absorb into the broccoli crowns and other ingredients.
This healthy broccoli salad recipe can be served in a number of different fashions. You could try:
- Side Dish: Enjoy as a side dish to dinner! It would be a great addition to Veggie Black Bean Burgers, BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches (vegan pulled pork) or even this Spaghetti Squash Frittata.
- Meal Prep Recipe: Since the dressing can really soak into the broccoli and absorb all of the flavors overnight, I love to make this on a casual Sunday evening to enjoy as a meal prep lunch, snack or side throughout the week. Broccoli salad gets better the next day, in my opinion!
- Potluck Parties: This broccoli salad, no mayo is a hit at potluck parties and BBQs because it satisfies so many dietary needs. Make it the night before or morning of the big day!
How to Store
Store fully prepared broccoli salad in a storage bowl with a lid or an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy within 3-4 days for the best flavor.
Meal Prep Storage: Prep all the veggies, and mix in a large bowl with the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Cover and store in the fridge. Prep the salad dressing and store in a separate airtight container in the fridge. When ready, toss with the dressing at least an hour before serving time.
More Broccoli Recipes You’ll Love:
If you make this Healthy Broccoli Salad recipe, be sure to leave a comment and review on the blog! I love hearing from you, and it helps others learn more about the recipe too! Xx AshleyPrint
Healthy Broccoli Salad
This Healthy Broccoli Salad recipe is a colorful, crunchy and crisp vegetable side dish or snack tossed in a simple sweet onion dressing – no mayo in sight! Make ahead and vegan friendly, serve it throughout the week or bring to all your potluck parties with friends.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 1x
- Category: Sides
- Method: Refrigerator
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 3 medium broccoli crowns, washed & dried, chopped (about 6 cups)
- 1 cup matchstick carrots
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup chopped vidalia onion (about 1/2 small onion)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 Tbsp stone ground mustard
- 2 tsp coconut aminos
- 1/2 tsp salt & pepper, to taste
- Prep broccoli: Wash and dry broccoli before cutting into small crowns. Add to large bowl with matchstick carrots, diced red onion, almonds, sunflower seeds, and dried cherries; set aside.
- Make dressing: Add everything into a blender, and blend until smooth. If you’d like a thinner dressing, add 1-2 tablespoons of water or non-dairy milk.
- Combine: Add dressing to bowl of salad ingredients, toss to coat.
- Let it soak: Broccoli salad is best when the dressing has some time to absorb into the broccoli crowns and other ingredients. If you can, let rest for at least one hour. Or prep a day ahead.
ONION FREE DRESSING – Try my coleslaw dressing for this broccoli salad.
NUT FREE – Replace the almonds with pepitas or more sunflower seeds.
STORAGE – Store fully prepared broccoli salad in a storage bowl with a lid or an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
MEAL PREP – Prep all the veggies, and mix in a large bowl with the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Cover and store in the fridge. Prep the salad dressing and store in a separate airtight container in the fridge. When ready, toss with the dressing at least an hour before serving time.
Keywords: easy broccoli salad, healthy broccoli salad recipe, vegan broccoli salad