Best Broccoli Salad

Meet my new favorite broccoli salad recipe...aka the best cookout dish around! With a lightly creamy, tangy dressing, it's fresh, healthy & delicious.

Broccoli salad

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.

Broccoli salad recipe ingredients

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!

Chopped broccoli on a cutting board

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.

Broccoli salad dressing

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!

How to make broccoli salad

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 Recipe ingredients

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.

Healthy Broccoli Salad Recipe

Best Broccoli Salad on a plate

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!

Broccoli Salad

rate this recipe:
4.98 from 323 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
This broccoli salad recipe is the perfect easy cookout side dish! Tangy, refreshing, and full of yummy sweet/salty flavor, it's a lighter version of the classic recipe, made with less mayo and no sugar, meat, or dairy.


Smoky tamari almonds


  • 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.


*Note: Chop the florets into roughly ½-inch pieces. Dice the stem into smaller ¼-inch pieces.



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Michelle Black

    5 stars
    Im a truck driver and was so tired of what I bring on the truck. So I saw Love and Lemons and gave it a try. Ive made 4 of there recipes. Two today to take on my truck. Baked Ziti and Broccoli salad. I allways loved Broccoli salad and now I can make it. And It’s better then I could ever imagined.

  2. Gina

    5 stars
    Really delicious and one of the easiest broccoli salads ever. And I didn’t miss the bacon! Will definitely make this again and again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  3. Sandra

    5 stars
    Oh my gosh…I just made this and it’s delicious 😋 I will make this again so easy.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  4. Diana

    5 stars
    Loved this salad!
    I removed the mayo and added green apple.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Joe

    5 stars
    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.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Joe, so glad you enjoyed the salad! Great variation ideas.

  6. Rod

    5 stars
    Thank you. …looking forward to this. In-store “kits” also include toasted sunflower seeds.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hope you enjoy!

  7. Melody

    5 stars
    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.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Melody, I’m so glad this salad has been such a hit!

  8. Melody

    I don’t see the nutrition information on the best broccoli salad recipe. How many calories per serving & how big is a serving?

  9. Melody

    5 stars
    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.

  10. Mischa Pearson

    5 stars
    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

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Oh I love this! Thank you for your comment, and I’m so glad you and your family loved the salad!

  11. Cindy B

    5 stars
    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.😉

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hahaha, love it! So glad you’re both enjoying the salad so much.

  12. Susan Collison

    5 stars
    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! =)

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Susan, I’m glad your veggies went to good use!

  13. Claire

    5 stars
    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!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.