A quick and simple recipe for healthy broccoli salad – a go to for cook outs and potlucks! Packed with flavorful broccoli, almonds, shallots, raisins, and sesame, and topped with a bright and tangy lemon tahini dressing (instead of the traditional mayo), this crunchy veggie salad is healthy, fresh, and delicious. Gluten free and vegan optional.
A delicious and healthy broccoli salad, with no mayo to be found… can it be so?
Most broccoli salads start out wholesome enough: chopped or shaved broccoli, tossed together with raisins or dried cranberries, minced red onion, and nuts or sunflower seeds… but too often end up drowning under a thick, mayonnaise-heavy, milk-based dressing.
Arguably, there’s a time and a place for such classics, likely next to the equally mayo-slathered potato salad at a Summer potluck (and I’ve been known to hover over big bowls of both), but for everyday eats, I was looking for a healthier spin on the original, that still held up in the flavor department.
Originally, Greek yogurt seemed the logical, lighter choice as the dressing base, but I opted to go a step further, looking instead to tahini (ground sesame seed paste) to add flavor and creaminess, without the weight. Olive oil, fresh Meyer lemon juice and a swirl of honey round out the rest of the dressing, which is naturally dairy-free, and as simple as it is light and creamy and sweet and tangy.
The rest of the salad I kept mostly traditional: crunchy, fresh broccoli florets, sliced almonds, sweet, plump raisins (or dried cranberries), and shaved shallots, for a subtle bite. All tossed together in the lemony, sesame dressing, for a super fresh and flavorful, stand-at-the-counter-and-eat-straight-out-of-the-mixing-bowl type of salad.
A Few Healthy Broccoli Salad Hints
I prefer the freshness of raw broccoli, particularly during warmer seasons, but if you’re adverse, you could certainly blanch the broccoli first. Simply bring a pot of water to a gentle boil, cook the broccoli florets for a minute or two, until just tender (but still vibrantly green), before transferring to a large bowl of ice water to cool.
Try adding some feta or ricotta salata! I purposely wrote the recipe to be dairy-free, but a small handful of salty, Mediterranean cheese is a wonderful addition to the dish.
The recipe is written to allow time for the broccoli to “marinate” a bit in the dressing – an hour or so in the fridge – to soak up more of the lemony-sesame flavors in the tahini dressing, but this isn’t completely necessary. This broccoli salad is delicious eaten immediately after even a quick toss together. Either way, the hands on time is still just about 15-20 minutes.
Other healthy and delicious salad recipes you’ll love:
- Summer squash grain salad with corn and feta
- A summer berry watermelon fruit salad
- Spinach and pear salad with pomegranate and candied pecans
If you make this broccoli salad, be sure to tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #forkknifeswoon and leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it! Star ratings are especially helpful because they help others find my recipes too. xo, LauraPrint