This recipe for a broccoli salad gets its sweetness from dried fruit and a sugar/vinegar dressing. Plus, it’s a good way to trick children into eating their veggies.
Salad lovers! This broccoli salad is great for meal prep or serving a crowd in a time crunch. Looking for more broccoli salad inspo, check out our Asian broccoli salad or our healthy broccoli salad with bacon.
The Best Broccoli Salad
This broccoli salad can seriously be prepped and made from start to finish in 15 minutes! Whether you are looking for a healthy broccoli salad for dinner or a bbq side dish for your all the summer picnics or a potluck, this broccoli salad is your recipe.
Traditional broccoli salad is usually a raw broccoli salad with a creamy dressing. The main ingredients usual consist of mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, sunflower seeds, and raisins.
This is not your traditional broccoli salad! This easy broccoli salad recipe is a twist on a classic broccoli salad recipe! We skipped the creamy aspect and decided to add a little extra veggie along the way.
Here is why we love this easy broccoli salad recipe:
- We still use sun flower seeds + dried cranberries that give this recipe a traditional feel.
- Instead of raw broccoli, we quickly sauté the broccoli just enough so it still has a crunch, but is cooked down enough to give your jaw a break!
- Instead of cheddar cheese, you’ll get a bite of salty feta cheese in each spoonful.
Broccoli Salad Ingredients
This salad is packed with healthy veggies, dried fruit and crumbled cheese. Plus, it’s dressed with a simple balsamic, olive oil and lemon juice dressing.
Here are all the broccoli salad ingredients!
- Broccoli– chopped into small florets: most major grocers carry already chopped broccoli florets, so feel free to buy broccoli florets to save a few minutes in prepping this already super quick salad!
- Red onion- if you prefer white or yellow onion, they will taste great in this salad as well!
- Red pepper- red pepper adds great color to this salad, but if you only have yellow or green peppers on hand, they are great substitutions.
- Dried cranberries- craisins, raisins, dried cherries, dried apricots — choose your own dried fruit adventure for this salad if you prefer another variety!
- Sunflower seeds- sunflower seeds are traditionally in a creamy broccoli salad. We love the crunch it adds! Feel free to substitute with pine nuts, slivered almonds, hemp seeds, chopped walnuts or cashews if you prefer something to sunflower seeds.
- Crumbled feta cheese- crumbed feta or crumbled goat cheese will work for this broccoli salad recipe! Or, omit the feta completely if you can’t tolerate dairy.
- Lemon juice- lemon juice is used to brighten up the dressing for this broccoli salad. We recommend using fresh lemon juice rather than store bought.
- Balsamic vinegar- a little balsamic vinegar adds a little sweetness and a little bite to the dressing! If you don’t have balsamic vinegar, feel free to use apple cider vinegar white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar and a little honey!
- Olive oil- the base of the dressing is olive oil, we love the flavor it adds to the dressing. Feel free to use your preferred salad oil of choice.
- Salt and pepper- salt and pepper your broccoli salad and dressing to taste. Just remember that salt brings out all of the best best flavors in your salad.
How to Make Broccoli Salad Dressing
Before anything we recommend making your broccoli salad dressing.
- To make the salad dressing for this recipe add the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk the ingredients together.
- Drizzle the olive oil into the bowl and whisk until combined.
- Set the salad dressing aside for when the salad is ready.
Make the dressing creamy
To make the dressing creamy add 2-3 tablespoons of may or Greek yogurt to step one!
The more yogurt or mayo you add, the creamier it will be! You may need to add a little more lemon juice or some water to thin out the dressing.
Broccoli Salad Instructions
This 15-minute broccoli salad can be made in 3 simple steps and served hot or cold. Does it get any better?!
Sauté Broccoli and Onion
First, start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat.
When olive oil is fragrant (this means it’s hot!), add the broccoli to the pan and season broccoli with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let the broccoli cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 3 minutes of cooking, add the diced red onion to the pan and cook for an additional 2 minutes. You want the broccoli to start to brown a bit, but not get mushy!
Remove the broccoli and onion from heat and transfer into a large bowl.
Mix in Remainder of Ingredients
- Red pepper
- Dried cranberries
- Sunflower seeds
- Feta cheese
Toss these ingredients in the bowl with the broccoli and onion until everything is mixed well.
Drizzle with Dressing
Finally, whisk the lemon juice, remaining olive oil, and balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl and then drizzle it over the salad and mix one final time.
Add more salt and pepper to taste and enjoy immediately or place in the refrigerator to enjoy later as a meal prep salad.
Broccoli Salad Tips
Can I use raw broccoli?
Yes, you can use raw broccoli for this salad. Just be sure to cut the broccoli into small enough pieces so you get a little bit of every ingredient in each bite.
Can I steam the broccoli for this recipe?
If you prefer steamed broccoli to sauteed broccoli, feel free to steam the broccoli instead. Just skip that step.
Can I use cauliflower instead of broccoli in this recipe?
Yes, you can make this a cauliflower salad instaed of a broccoli salad. just stubstitute the broccoli for cauliflower. You could also make this a broccoli AND cauliflower recipe by using both!
How do I store broccoli salad?
Let the broccoli salad cool before placing it into an air tight container for up to 5 days.
Broccoli Salad Serving Suggestions
You can serve this broccoli salad by itself for lunch or on the side of one of favorite main dishes for dinner! Check out our delicious serving suggestions below!
The Best Grilled Chicken Thighs– These are the best grilled chicken thighs because the skin gets nice and crispy on the outside while the inside is tender and juicy.
Grilled Steak– Get tender, juicy, perfectly grilled steak with this “how to grill steak” post. We’ll give you the best tips and tricks for grilling steak like a professional.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 medium heads broccoli, chopped into small pieces (~6 cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 medium red onion, finely diced
- 1 large red pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- pepper, to taste
- Begin by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat.
- When olive oil is fragrant, add the broccoli to the pan and season broccoli with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let the broccoli cook for about 3 minutes, stirring periodically.
- After 3 minutes of cooking, add the red onion to the pan and cook for an additional 2 minutes. You want the broccoli to start to brown a bit, but not get mushy!
- Remove the broccoli and onion from heat and transfer into a large bowl.
- Add the red pepper, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and feta cheese to the bowl and mix all of the ingredients together.
- Finally, drizzle on lemon juice, remaining olive oil, and balsamic vinegar over the salad and mix one final time.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste and enjoy immediately or place in the refrigerator for a meal prep salad.
Tips & Notes
- This salad is delicious eaten both warm and cold!
Serving Size: 1/6 recipe