Should I Blanch The Broccoli
Whether or not you blanch the broccoli is entirely up to you. Blanching involves submerging fruit or vegetables into boiling water for a brief period, then shocking those fruits or veggies with ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. I like to leave my broccoli raw, but blanching it is a great option for those of you who prefer your florets a little more tender.
If youd like to blanch your broccoli, youll have to prepare a pot of boiling water. Add in the florets and submerge them for 1-2 minutes, taking care not to exceed the 2-minute mark. Once theyve brightened in color and/or reached your desired tenderness, remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a bowl of ice water.
Alternatively, you can move them to a strainer and run them under freezing-cold water. Once the broccoli florets have fully cooled, dry them off well and get started on your salad.
Gather Your Ingredients For Healthy Broccoli Salad
The ingredients for this healthy broccoli salad are quite simple. In fact, you might have quite a few of them in your fridge and pantry already. All you need are fresh broccoli florets, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced shallot, golden raisins, unsalted sunflower seeds, and feta cheese crumbles.
And of course, if you don’t have all these , you can make substitutions as needed. “Feta could be substituted with goat cheese crumbles, and regular red raisins or unsweetened dried cherries could be substituted for the golden raisins,” Castellano suggests.
How To Make Healthy Broccoli Salad
Holy guacamole, making the best broccoli salad ever could not be easier. First, we don’t have to cook anything. Considering the temps are above 90 these days, I’m not at all mad about not turning the oven or stove on.
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Ways To Enjoy Broccoli Salad
Serve up broccoli salad alongside your favorite main course it works with practically anything! Here are some of my favorite pairings.
Broccoli salad paired with Apple Turkey Burgers is a great way to satisfy cravings and sneak in feelings of summer.
How To Make Broccoli Salad With Bacon
This light and creamy salad comes together in two shakes. You just have to cook the bacon, combine it with the other ingredients and toss in the dressing.
Heat Pan: Heat a skillet to medium-high heat.
Cook Bacon: Add the bacon to the pan and cook it for 5-7 minutes, or until its nice and crispy. Place the cooked bacon onto a plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess grease. You can remove more grease by pressing a second paper towel on top of the bacon if youd like.
Make Dressing: Add the greek yogurt, dijon mustard, honey and apple cider vinegar to a small bowl. Whisk until everything is combined, then set the dressing aside.
Assemble Salad: Add the broccoli florets, bacon, red onion, cranberries, pepitas and dressing to a large bowl. Gently toss until the ingredients are mixed together and evenly coated in the dressing.
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Tips Tricks And Timesavers
- Broccoli salad is perfect made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. As a result, it will taste better served cold once all the flavors have blended together.
- No need to pre-cook or steam broccoli, simply cut into uniform and bite-size pieces.
- You can blanch broccoli to give it a bright green color and a tender crisp texture. If you choose this option, place florets in boiling water for about a minute and then immediately plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Select broccoli florets, not the stems. Remove any small leaves from florets and cut the tops away from the stems.
Everything Used In Simple Broccoli Salad
Simple broccoli salad uses so many delicious, savory ingredients. Well start off with a broccoli base before adding on turkey bacon, raisins, sunflower seeds, and many other goodies!
- Broccoli: First up on the ingredient list is 1 lb of broccoli, chopped into small pieces. 1lb should amount to roughly 2 medium heads.
- Red onion: For onion, diced up 1/2 cup. I love to use red, but white or yellow will work too!
- Sunflower seeds: Next up, add texture and subtle flavor with 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds.
- Raisins: The same goes for raisins! Add a dash of sweetness with 1/2 cup.
- Turkey bacon: Add 6 slices of cooked and chopped turkey bacon for a delicious and savory touch.
- Greek yogurt: Well be using 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt to help reach the desired consistency.
- Mayonnaise: Next up, match the yogurt with another 1/2 cup of mayonnaise.
- Apple cider vinegar: Add a slight bite with 3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar.
- Honey: 2 tbsp of honey will serve as a yummy all-natural sweetener.
- Garlic: Include 1 clove of minced garlic.
- Salt: Add 1/2 tsp of salt for flavor.
- Pepper: Last but not least, finish things off with 1/4 tsp of pepper.
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Expert Tips And Customizations
When customizing broccoli salads, I like to first stick to the main recipe and add a bit of this or a bit of that before recreating the whole wheel, if you will. Some ideas to get you started:
- Add diced apples or halved grapes for a sweet surprise.
- Swap out dried cranberries for raisins for a sweet, but not tart taste.
- Add in other kinds of dried fruit if you dont want to try dried cranberries or raisins. Dried and chopped mango, pineapple, or figs would be delicious.
- Substitute whole-grain mustard for Dijon if you want a heavier mustard flavor.
- Skip the bacon or use plant-based bacon if you want to make the salad vegetarian.
- Instead of bacon, you could cut and cook up some pancetta. Similar bacon-y taste, slightly different texture.
- Swap sunflower seeds for toasted almonds or pistachios.
- Make the salad half broccoli and half cauliflower for some added color and different flavors with each bite.
Light And Easy Broccoli Salad
To make this easy and delicious Light and Easy Broccoli Salad Youll need the following ingredients:
2 pounds broccoli 1/4 pound red onion , finely chopped3/4 cup almonds, slivered or roughly chopped1/2 cup mayonnaiseFreshly ground pepper
MethodeHeat 1/2 cup water to boiling and pour over the currants in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes, then drain off the water.
Shred the broccoli in a food processor using the grater disk . In a large bowl, combine the shredded broccoli, currants, red onion, and almonds.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and a generous quantity of fresh pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt or pepper, if needed. Allow to sit for 30 minutes so the flavors can mingle.
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Broccoli Salad Recipe On The Light Side
This broccoli salad recipe is high on the lists of requests from all of my kids. My oldest son even makes it upon request and Id have to admit his recipe is just a bit better than my original recipe.
Weve lightened up the ingredients in this tasty recipe to make it Weight Watchers friendly. Over broccoli salad recipe is only 4 points per 3/4 cup serving on all 3 myWW plans.
Links to items we use to make this Broccoli Salad recipe are provided in this post. If you shop through the links we receive a profit from the sales.
He uses some heavily smoked local bacon that really puts the taste up a notch or two. He also doesnt care to make the light side version, but for the sake of our waistlines, I do.
I have had tasted several versions of broccoli salad and its definitely made me quite the food critic. I have an aversion for fruit and nuts in my salads. I dont like the sweet taste of fruit in my food.
Fruit deserves its own special place on the side of my plate, all by its lonesome. The fruit gets eaten raw and in whole form, perfect for my taste buds.
So if I see any kind of salad that includes vegetables, fruit and/or dressing, I will turn up my nose and walk away. I know they probably taste great but I just cant bring myself to taste them.
Is This Broccoli Salad Recipe Weight Watchers Friendly
Yes. Yes, it certainly is. Weve made a few simple adjustments to a traditional broccoli salad recipe to make it friendly to all of the myWW plans.
Each 3/4 cup serving is low in points. 4 points on all of the plans. Plus, this salad is so filling, one serving is a great dinner side dish or a light snack or lunch.
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How To Make This Recipe
This is probably one of the easiest salads you will throw together , which is why it has become a favorite ! Heres the simple method:
Please see the recipe card, below, for the full, printable recipe.
To toast the almonds: Place almonds in a skillet over medium heat. Stir them frequently until they are golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on them because nuts can burn very quickly.
Can I Make It A Day Ahead
Absolutely! Save time and make the salad and the dressing and keep both separate and mix in until ready to serve OR toss it all together, cover the salad bowl with saran wrap and chill to serve the next day. My Hubby likes when the salad has the time to chill and the flavors mix together before eating.
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How This Simple Broccoli Salad Is Healthier
I made a few swaps in this broccoli salad to make it healthier than what you may find otherwise. With just 3 ingredient substitutes, theres a world of difference nutrient-wise!
Turkey baconFirst, I swapped regular bacon with turkey bacon. This is an easy swap that has far less calories but still packs a flavor punch.
Green yogurtNext, I used Greek yogurt to replace part of the mayonnaise. This contributes the same consistency while adding less calories. Because were still using part of the mayo, the correct flavor remains.
Finally, I used honey as my sweetener of choice. This all-natural option is far healthier than granulated sugar in calories, nutrients, and its lower glycemic properties.
How To Make Light And Easy Broccoli Salad
This is one of the simplest side dishes, because absolutely zero cooking time is required! Just chop, mix, and combine. Oh, and dont forget to let it sit in the fridge for a bit!
To begin, pour the chopped broccoli into a large mixing bowl.
Add the onion, sunflower seeds, raisins, and chopped turkey bacon.
In a small bowl, mix the remainder of the ingredients until well incorporated. This will be the dressing.
Pour the dressing over the bowl of broccoli and other ingredients.
Stir really well, coating each piece in dressing.
Let the salad sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
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The Best Healthy Broccoli Salad
Standard potluck-issue broccoli salads include mayonnaise, sugar and bacon, and you wont find any of those here.
I included the usual cheddar cheese since my assistant 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 youre craving a lighter salad, youll also enjoy the recipe without cheese.
Easy Broccoli Salad With Greek Yogurt Dressing
My mom used to make broccoli salad all the time, and I was always eager to gobble it up. Id load it onto my plate until I barely had room for the main course! The bright veggies, chewy pumpkin seeds and tart dried berries smothered in that creamy dressingI could eat it every day.
My mothers version of this beloved side dish featured a classic broccoli salad dressing made with mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. Since thats not exactly the healthiest condiment, I decided to recreate the texture and flavor of the dressing in a more nutritious way. The result? Tangy-sweet perfection!
To make this dish even more irresistible, I invited crispy bacon bits to the party. They add a salty, savory element that goes so well with the other ingredients. As much as I adored my moms broccoli salad throughout my youth, I have to admit that my version is superior.
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What To Serve With Broccoli Salad
If youre looking for the perfect things to serve with this recipe, Im happy to report that there are endless possibilities when it comes to what goes with broccoli salad, especially when it comes to summertime picnics, potlucks, and BBQs.
Other sides that will pair well with broccoli salad are endless! Add it with a side of pasta salad,creamed corn, baked beans, or an herby potato salad for the perfect BBQ. Make an easy potato and corn foil packet as another veggie side, or even coleslaw. Theres so much going on in the broccoli salad that you can easily serve it with other sides that are milder like steamed carrots.
No need to serve it with a big meal though, its excellent as a light lunch, too!
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Tips On Making Broccoli Salad
Note: once you mix all the ingredients, you will need to let it rest, covered, in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. I like to make it after lunch so its ready for dinner!
This recipe is an easy one to switch, and swap out ingredients, using what you already have on hand. Read on for other tips to make the most our of this recipe.
- Toasting the sliced almonds is easy: turn a pan on med-high heat, toss the nuts often and allow to toast for a few minutes or until lightly browned
- Using a food processor can help speed up the dicing of the recipe. Add all the veggies, and process for about 5-10 seconds
- Use the broccoli stalks: Not only does it bulk up the salad, but it also less wasteful
- Swap using what you have: dried fruit is dried fruit, nut are nuts, so if you dont have dried figs, or almonds, use what you have!
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The Same Broccoli Salad With A Costco Spin
This recipe makes use of many Costco ingredients and staples:
- Sliced almonds
- MCT oil
If these items were bought at any other store, this side could be expensive, but when bought at Costco, it really becomes quite affordable.
Personally, we take one monthly run to Costco and stock up on healthy ingredients, for a great value. That way we have a great base to draw some for the rest of the weeks for a fraction of the price. Down below I created a take along free printable sharing budget friendly Costco finds.
Prep And Massage Your Broccoli
Go ahead and wash and dry the broccoli florets, then cut them into bite-sized pieces. “When in doubt, smaller is better,” Castellano advises. Then place the florets in a medium-sized mixing bowl with the lemon juice, some olive oil, and salt. Work the ingredients together with your hands, gently massaging the broccoli for 2 minutes. Set the bowl aside.
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How Do You Make Easy Broccoli Salad
Preheat the oven to 400° F and evenly spread the broccoli on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the broccoli is soft and slightly charred. Line a second rimmed baking sheet with foil, and place a cooling rack on top of the foil. Lay the bacon strips on the rack and bake for 10-15 minutes, until desired crispness. The bacon will be done before the broccoli. When cool enough to touch, crumble the bacon and set aside. When the broccoli is finished, cool it in the refrigerator and wait to use it until it is completely cooled.
Meanwhile, make the ranch dressing by combining all of the ingredients together in a food processor and mixing until smooth. . When the broccoli is cool, mix it together in a large bowl with the ranch dressing, Parmesan, and bacon. Squeeze the lemon juice over it, season it with salt and pepper, and toss gently to evenly coat.