Christmas Recipes Recipes Salads Vegetarian

Last updated on July 6th, 2024 at 04:18 pm

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Broccoli Salad Recipe [VIDEO]

Broccoli Salad with homemade creamy Lemon Poppy Seed dressing is a cold side dish with loads of flavor, texture, and crunch. This easy salad recipe comes together in about 15 minutes, making it perfect for a quick lunch.

This easy vegetarian salad is a favorite at my house because it is easy to make, loaded with veggies, and delicious tangy pomegranate arils, cranberries, and nuts. The sweet honey lemon dressing balances the savory flavors, making it an irresistible dish.

Easy Healthy Broccoli Salad

This salad is versatile enough to serve as a side dish or a meatless main dish. Also, it is perfect as a potluck dish and goes well with pretty much anything. To keep it light and healthy, I decided to not use cheese, bacon, or other high calorie ingredients. You can also easily add and swap some of the ingredients. If you have extra veggies you need to use up, feel free to toss them in.

Another great thing about it is that there are only seven ingredients. And it only takes 10 to 15 minutes to make it. No cooking is required. The dressing is also homemade, creamy, flavorful, with crunchy poppy seeds and lightly sweetened with honey. The raw veggies are crunchy and refreshing, the pomegranate arils and cranberries add just the right amount of sweetness.

I made sure that in this salad you get a variety of textures and flavors that balance and complement each other. For a boost of protein just chop up some grilled chicken breast and toss it in there. This dish pairs perfectly with grilled pork chops, or garlic pork loin. It is the perfect all-seasons salad, that will save you when you are debating what to serve on the side.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Because it is easy: You do not have to cook. Just toss it all together and you are done.
  • It is so fast: It literally takes 10 to 15 minutes.
  • So little cleanup: You will only have a couple of bowls to wash.
  • Versatile: Turn it into different dishes once a week. Add meat, veggies, fruit, and other things.

What you’ll need to make broccoli salad

Special items:

  • Bowls
  • Mixing spoon


For the salad

  • Broccoli florets – I use organic broccoli florets, sliced into small pieces.
  • Onion – In this, I only use about a small red onion, thinly sliced.
  • Carrot – One small carrot, freshly shredded.
  • Pomegranate arils – Ensure they are ripe for a tart, tangy, sweet flavor. Otherwise, they can be bitter. You can buy them prepackaged or get them from a fresh, organic (ripe) pomegranate.
  • Dried cranberries – I prefer to buy organic dried cranberries from my favorite farmers’ market.
  • Pine nuts or almond slices – You can use either one. I prefer almond slices.
  • Pecan halves – The mild, nutty, and sweet taste adds crunch and a buttery flavor.

For the lemon poppy seeds dressing:

  • Mayonnaise – You can use your favorite brand.
  • Lemon zest – Zesting your lemon is best. It is easy, takes just a few minutes, and is cheaper than buying it from the store. And it tastes way better, too.
  • Lemon juice – Same here. Why buy it when you can squeeze the lemon you just zested?
  • Honey – I choose organic honey and have a specific apiarist or honey farmer.
  • Poppy seeds – The crunch is so refreshing, and the nutty flavor is terrific.

How to Make Broccoli Salad?

This dish is probably one of the easiest salads to make. Apart from being healthy, it is super delicious and flavorful. It is one of my favorite salads!

  1. Start by making the dressing by simply whisking together the dressing ingredients. 
  2. Next, wash and cut the broccoli and the rest of the veggies and place them into a dish. 
  3. Pour the homemade dressing over the veggies and gently stir to combine. 
  4. Serve fresh!

Expert tip

Removing the arils from a pomegranate

If you want to remove the arils (seeds) from your pomegranate, you can do it in a few ways. All of them are easy. Some of them are messy. One of them allows you to get all the arils without damaging them. Let’s do that one first. For that, cut the crown off the top. Then, make six shallow vertical cuts on the outside around the pomegranate. Pry it open and pry the seeds out of the wedges. None of the seeds are broken in the process.

Another one uses a bowl of water. You can mix this with the first one to prevent damaging the seeds, too. But people who are in a hurry slice the pomegranate open in half and then in quarters. Then, they hold them underwater and push the seeds out. The seeds drop to the bottom while the membrane and other dirt float to the top. This method makes less mess, but some seeds get chopped in half. Check my detailed tutorial on how to seed a pomegranate.

The last one is more like a magic trick than a real thing. You cut the pomegranate in half. Then, turn it over so the cut side faces down in your hand. Tap the back of the pomegranate gently with your other hand, and the arils will fall right out. Now, when I tried this, some of the seeds fell out. Not all of them, but a little over half. And I had to hit it several times. Pretty hard. Not just a gentle tap. I will stick with option number one.

Recipe variations and add-ins:

  • Add cheese: Some people like cheese in everything. I am one of them. I sometimes add diced or shredded cheddar, mozzarella, or pepper jack cheese to this, and everyone loves it.
  • Make it meaty: Make this a hearty meal. Chop up some grilled chicken, ham, or turkey and toss it in there.
  • Mexican style: For Taco Tuesday, serve this salad with black beans, corn, chopped poblano peppers, and add some taco seasoning and cilantro to the dressing.
  • Add fruit: My kids love it when I toss some sliced strawberries, apples, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.
  • More veggies: You can also add your favorite veggies. I like mushrooms, asparagus, and cauliflower.
  • Vegan salad: Make it vegan. Use vegan mayonnaise for the dressing.
  • Lighter dressing: Use half mayo and half Greek yogurt to make the dressing lighter.

Serving suggestions:

Broccoli salad can be a side dish, appetizer, or a meal. Try some of these fun serving ideas.

  • A slice of fluffy Amish bread is perfect on the side, to soak that delicious dressing.
  • This salad would be great on top of a bed of lettuce or other greens, such as spinach or arugula.
  • You can serve it with the dressing on the side and have a variety of other dressing options. I like it with homemade blue cheese dressing or Ranch dressing.
  • The main dish for this salad can be anything from chicken to seafood. The last time I made it, I served it with roasted turkey and my famous homemade stuffing. 
  • It is perfect to take to a potluck, picnic, or backyard BBQ. It goes well with burgers, with grilled salmonsalmon patties, or BBQ Pork Chops.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best way to cut broccoli for salad?

First, cut off the very bottom of the stem. Then, place the whole head of broccoli on the cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut off just the tips of the broccoli. I like mine to be very small for this salad, so I only cut off the very tips. If you want more of the stem, you can cut down further. Then, rinse them in a colander under cold, running water. But the rest of the broccoli should not go to waste. I use it for other recipes like soup and casserole.

Should I blanch my broccoli for salad?

Although you do not have to, and I do not do it, you certainly can. However, I recommend you do it the night before you make the salad because you will need to ensure it is completely cool and dry before you use it in your salad. Even if you put it in a bowl of ice water after cooking it (blanching), that does not completely cool it to the core. Once it starts cooling, the condensation starts coming out and will cause your salad to become watery.

Why is my broccoli salad watery after a few hours in the fridge?

First, make sure your broccoli is completely dry before adding it to the salad bowl. The best way to do this is with a salad spinner. Yes, those things actually work really well. But broccoli is 92% water so even if you dry it with a towel, it is going to leak water when it sits for a while. The best way to prevent this is to put a paper towel somewhere in the container with your salad. Even if you have to tape it to the top of the bowl. This is definitely a make-ahead dish! However, the longer the dressing sits on the salad, the softer the ingredients will become. To keep everything crisp and crunchy, you may want to wait until just before serving to toss the salad with dressing.

How do I pick the best broccoli?

I always get organic because I wouldn’t say I like all the chemicals. Besides that, I look for bright green broccoli with compact clusters of buds with a purple or blue tint. I avoid anything with a brown or yellow color. Also, avoid getting any broccoli with rubbery, bent, or wilted stems, discolored florets, or open florets. They should smell clean and earthy, never sour or strange. It can be coarse or fine. Finer strands cook faster, while flatter ones cook up more tender but can be mushier.

How to store leftovers:

  • Refrigerate: If possible, store your salad without dressing. But if it already has dressing, you can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. Without dressing, four days. Either way, place a paper towel somewhere in the container to prevent moisture.
  • Freezing: I do not recommend freezing.

More salad recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • Make this ahead of time so it can chill in the fridge for at least a few hours. This helps it soak up the dressing and the flavors have time to meld together.
  • With that in mind, make sure you are only adding the dressing to what you know you are going to be able to consume in one meal. If you think you will have leftovers, saving them in the dressing for longer than a day or two will make them soggy.
  • Cut the pieces small. Salads are supposed to be bite-sized. You do not want people asking for a knife to cut their broccoli spears.
  • For extra flavor, toast your almonds and pecans. They are so much nuttier that way. If you do, let them cool for at least 20 minutes before adding them to the salad.
  • Add a paper towel to your leftover container to prevent moisture.
  • If you blanch your broccoli first, do it the night before so it can cool completely.

Watch recipe Step-by-Step Video:

Broccoli Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Broccoli Salad with homemade creamy Lemon Poppy Seed dressing is a cold side dish with loads of flavor, texture, and crunch. Ready in 15 minutes!

  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time
  • Servings 6 servings

Broccoli Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Broccoli Salad with homemade creamy Lemon Poppy Seed dressing is a cold side dish with loads of flavor, texture, and crunch. Ready in 15 minutes!

  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time
  • Servings 6 servings


  • 4 cups broccoli florets sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot about 1 small carrot
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts or almond slices, toasted
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves


  • 1 cup mayo
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  • In a large bowl, combine all the "Salad" ingredients.
  • Add all the "Dressing" ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
  • Add dressing to the salad bowl and toss until thoroughly combined.
  • Serve cold and refrigerate any leftovers.

Nutrition Facts

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You had me at lemon poppyseed dressing! This looks SO good!



This is a great side dish! I have to make it!



This salad sounds amazing! Perfect for potlucks with just the right amount of crunch.



This salad looks so inviting and refreshing. I love all those delicious ingredients

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