Meet my new favorite broccoli salad recipe...aka the best cookout dish around! With a lightly creamy, tangy dressing, it's fresh, healthy & delicious.
I hope you have some fun grilling & chilling plans coming up this weekend because I’ll be sharing 3 super fun cookout salads this week. They’re all easy to make and more importantly – easy to make ahead. First up – broccoli salad! This is a healthier spin on the traditional midwest broccoli salad but it’s every bit as flavorful. Small broccoli florets are marinated in a creamy/tangy dressing along with dried cranberries and smoky tamari-roasted almonds. It’s a one-bowl recipe that’s great as a pack-able picnic salad or an easy make-ahead lunch.
A Broccoli Salad Recipe That’s Good for You
Broccoli salad is a classic summer cookout dish, but the traditional recipe is loaded up with sugar, ample mayo, bacon, and cheese. My recipe is a fresher, healthier version – I nix the sugar, meat, and cheese altogether – and the result is a crisp, refreshing, tangy dish that’ll be the star of your cookouts all summer long!
Instead of using the typical 1 cup mayo: 2 tablespoons vinegar ratio for my broccoli salad dressing, I replace some of the mayo with olive oil and up the proportion of vinegar. I also add a few teaspoons of Dijon mustard and a little honey to the mix, making for a light, super tangy dressing with a delectable sweet/salty flavor.
The dressing is delicious, but smoky, sweet/salty tamari almonds and pepitas really steal the show here. Not only do they add a wonderful crunch to this salad, but they also bring richness and smoky flavor, so they’re the perfect nutritious substitute for bacon and cheese.
A full pound of broccoli, chewy dried cranberries, and flecks of red onion round out this recipe – it’s SO fresh, healthy, and easy to make!
Broccoli Salad Tips
Want to make the best broccoli salad around? Here are a few simple tips:
- Cut your broccoli small. Because the broccoli stays raw for this dish, you want to make sure the pieces are small enough to become fully coated and soften in the dressing. Also, when the broccoli pieces are a similar size to the other ingredients in the salad, you can get a little of everything in each bite.
- Let it marinate. This salad is good right after it’s made, but it’s even better after a few hours (or even days) in the fridge. The broccoli softens and absorbs the flavors of the dressing – my family loved it on day three!
- Save some nuts for the last minute. Sure, I like to make this salad ahead so that the flavors can develop, but the key to making it great is the super crispy, smoky nuts & seeds on top. If you add them too early, they’ll lose their crunch, so save some to sprinkle on right before serving!
Broccoli Salad Serving Suggestions
If you make this recipe for a cookout, it’d be great alongside veggie burgers, black bean burgers, portobello “dogs,” or BBQ jackfruit sandwiches. As I said above, it’s the perfect recipe to make ahead – I think it actually improves over time, as the broccoli softens in the dressing and the flavors develop as it sits.
Alternatively, pack this salad up for a healthy lunch! For some of my best lunch-packing tips, check out this post.
If you love this broccoli salad recipe…
Try this slaw, this corn salad, this pasta salad, or this potato salad next.
Or check out our 51 Best Salad Recipes or 85 Best Vegan Recipes!
- 1 pound broccoli crowns
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons mayo, I like Sir Kensington's or vegan mayo
- 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- ⅓ cup diced red onions
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
Smoky tamari almonds
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ cup pepitas
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, more to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Chop the broccoli florets into ½-inch pieces and any remaining stems into ¼-inch dice. Peel any woody or course parts from the stem first.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mayo, apple cider vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, garlic, and salt. Add the broccoli, onions, and cranberries and toss to coat.
- Place the almonds and pepitas on the baking sheet, toss with the tamari, maple syrup, and smoked paprika and spread into a thin layer. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes (they’ll get crispier as they sit).
- Toss the almonds and pepitas into the salad, reserving a few to sprinkle on top. Season to taste and serve.
Oh my gosh…I just made this and it’s delicious 😋 I will make this again so easy.
I’m so glad you loved it!
Loved this salad!
I removed the mayo and added green apple.
I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Love this salad! I added some frozen peas, shredded carrots, and diced bell peppers to the mix cause I am incapable of following a recipe. Lol. Next time, I want to roast the broccoli before tossing it up; I think that will give some great layers to it, but it was fantastic as written. Also, Jack Daniels Chicken Rub is a great seasoning for the toasted pepitas.
Hi Joe, so glad you enjoyed the salad! Great variation ideas.
Thank you. …looking forward to this. In-store “kits” also include toasted sunflower seeds.
Hope you enjoy!
I’ve made this recipe a few times now, it’s so delicious!! I’ve received many compliments on it. Including “it’s the best broccoli salad I’ve ever had “ & “your broccoli salad was the best dish on the entire food table”…everyone loves it!!
If you haven’t made this recipe I highly recommend you give it a try. It is amazing!
Thank you for this fabulous recipe.
Hi Melody, I’m so glad this salad has been such a hit!
I don’t see the nutrition information on the best broccoli salad recipe. How many calories per serving & how big is a serving?
This is the most delicious broccoli salad!!
It was a hit at last years Father’s Day celebration.
And I’ll be making another huge bowl full for an upcoming birthday celebration. I made it as the recipe states with one addition, I added a little bacon, yum yum !! Even without the bacon this is so tasty! Thank you for sharing your recipe.
I don’t usually comment on recipes, however this time I had to make an exception. I am blown away how good this salad is!!! My hubby must have commented 4 times (between ooohhhs and ahhhhhss) how awesome the salt was! My 15 year old daughter who at first screwed her nose up at it, took a bite and then scoffed the rest. Winner Winner Winner recipe! Thankyou for sharing
Oh I love this! Thank you for your comment, and I’m so glad you and your family loved the salad!
My husband had been bugging me forever for broccoli salad. Problem was that I can’t stand it…until now! This is one of my most favorite salads of all time. (And we make a lot of different kinds of salads.) The almond and pepita topping absolutely makes this salad. I have to make extra to snack on. All the components come together to make such a delicious, balanced bite. Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe! You just may have saved my marriage.😉
Hahaha, love it! So glad you’re both enjoying the salad so much.
This delicious salad was a most wonderful way to use up left-over broccoli from our Thanksgiving veggie tray! I love all the flavors coming together ~ especially those crunchy, tasty almonds & pepitas! The salad dressing makes just enough to coat, not so much that it overwhelms. Thanks for another winner of a recipe! =)
Hi Susan, I’m glad your veggies went to good use!
Hi. This is a great broccoli salad. Made it a few times for friends and everyone asks for the recipe! So healthy and crunchy and the soy sauce on the almonds is amazing. Thank you!