Let’s hit restart with my favorite broccoli salad recipe! Why is the broccoli salad the best? It’s crisp, crunchy and fresh, which is exactly what I’m craving this time of year.
It’s also seriously addictive, thanks to the sweet-and-savory combination of freshly toasted sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and cheddar cheese.
I borrowed the honey-mustard vinaigrette from my Brussels sprout slaw, and it plays up raw broccoli’s best features. Who needs mayo when you have creamy and tangy honey-mustard dressing?
Standard potluck-issue broccoli salads include mayonnaise, sugar and bacon, and you won’t find any of those here. I included the usual cheddar cheese since Mara absolutely loved it that way.
The cheddar offers some creamy indulgence to the salad, which makes it a perfect transition food from rich holiday meals to healthier options. That said, if you’re craving a lighter salad, I also enjoyed the recipe without cheese.
Is broccoli salad good for you?
Yes! I consider humble old broccoli to be a total super food, and this salad is loaded with broccoli. Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which offer potent anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer health benefits. Other members include cauliflower, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts.
Broccoli is also high in fiber and folate. Learn more about broccoli’s health benefits here.
Do you have to cook the broccoli for broccoli salad?
No, raw broccoli is fairly standard in broccoli salads. It doesn’t taste completely raw in this broccoli salad, since the vinaigrette breaks down the broccoli a bit. Chop up your broccoli florets into very small pieces, and you will have an irresistibly fresh broccoli salad.
If you hate raw broccoli, though, you can blanch the florets. Add the florets to a pot of boiling water for 1 minute, then transfer the florets to an ice bath to halt the cooking process. Drain the cooled broccoli well before using.
If you’re looking for a packable, potluck-friendly side salad, this is it. I’ve enjoyed a big bowl of it as a light meal, too. Please let me know how it turns out for you in the comments!
If you’re looking for more pack-for-work options, I’ve got you covered right here.
Favorite Broccoli Salad
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes (plus 20 minutes marinating time)
- Yield: 6 side servings
- Category: Salad
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
This broccoli salad recipe is the best! It’s healthy, too, thanks to the delicious honey-mustard vinaigrette (no mayo). This broccoli salad packs great for lunch and potlucks. It’ll be your new favorite! Recipe yields 6 side servings.
- 1 pound broccoli florets (from 1 ½ pounds broccoli stalks), thinly sliced and then roughly chopped (see photos)
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds or slivered almonds
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries or dried tart cherries, chopped
Honey mustard dressing
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Toast the sunflower seeds: Pour the sunflower seeds into a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently (careful, they’ll burn!), until the seeds are turning golden on the sides, about 5 minutes. Pour the toasted seeds into a large serving bowl.
- Add the chopped broccoli, onion, cheese and cranberries to the serving bowl. Set aside.
- In a 1-cup liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients (olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic and salt). Whisk until the mixture is well blended.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until all of the broccoli is lightly coated in dressing. I highly recommend letting the salad marinate for at least 20 minutes, or even overnight in the refrigerator.
- Divide the salad into individual bowls and serve. Leftovers will keep well for 3 to 4 days in the fridge, covered.
Recipe adapted from my honey mustard Brussels sprout slaw.