Healthy Broccoli Salad Recipe

Fresh broccoli may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to whipping up a lunchtime salad, but the cruciferous veggie actually makes an excellent, fiber-filled base for a hearty dish. This broccoli salad features sunflower seeds, raisins, and feta cheese, all of which allow it to pose as a side salad or a light meal all on its own. But the MVP to this broccoli salad isn't the broccoli or the toppings, but rather the lemon juice. It's doing much more than adding some acidity, explains recipe developer Sher Castellano. "Massaging vegetables in acid allow their cellulose structures to break down, allowing for easier digestion, and better texture and flavor." 

The simple, 2-minute process of massaging the broccoli is what makes Castellano such a fan of this dish. "I love that it is raw, but doesn't taste raw. Massaging broccoli, like [raw] kale, allows it to become more tender and easier to digest." So with a few simple ingredients and just 10 minutes, you can have this recipe on the table, ready to enjoy.

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 (or if you're just not a fan of some of them), 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. 

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. 

Mix the dressing

Now you'll want to whip up the dressing. In a separate small bowl, whisk together some more olive oil and salt, along with the pepper, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and shallot. The dressing has a light, tart, and tangy flavor that adds some "zip" to the broccoli and other toppings. The tang is especially nice against the slight sweetness of the raisins. 

Toss the salad and serve

Toss the broccoli with the dressing, then add the raisins, sunflower seeds, and feta cheese crumbles. Mix all the ingredients together with a spoon until they're well combined. 

Your salad is now ready to serve! "It can be served right away, [but] gets better as it sits," Castellano says, although she adds that it should be consumed within 48 hours. Enjoy it alone or paired alongside your favorite lean protein, like a tofu burger or grilled salmon.

Healthy Broccoli Salad Recipe
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This quick and easy recipe involves a special step that helps break down raw broccoli florets, turning them into a delicious and nutritious salad base.
Prep Time
Cook Time
broccoli salad ready to serve
Total time: 10 minutes
  • ¾ pound broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (plus more for plating)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds (raw or roasted)
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
  1. Wash and dry the broccoli florets. Cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the broccoli florets with the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt. With your hands, work the ingredients together by gently massaging the florets for 2 minutes before setting the bowl aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, mustard, and shallots. Pour dressing over the broccoli.
  4. Add the raisins, sunflower seeds, and feta to the salad. Toss altogether with a spoon until well combined.
  5. Plate the salad and squeeze a little more lemon juice on top. Eat at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Calories per Serving 187
Total Fat 14.0 g
Saturated Fat 3.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 8.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 6.1 g
Sodium 297.6 mg
Protein 4.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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