Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad
This healthy Broccoli Apple Salad is the perfect side dish for spring and summer barbecues, potlucks and picnics. Best of all, it’s so easy to make with nutritious ingredients like broccoli florets, sweet apples, toasted almonds, dried cranberries and a tasty homemade dressing. This broccoli salad recipe can also easily be made dairy free and Whole30 compliant.
This is SO good!! So simple, light, and delicious! I made this for meal prep lunches and I’m going to be looking forward to lunch every day this week!— Caren
Broccoli salads have always been a favorite of mine come summertime (right up there with potato salad and creamy coleslaw). We love this healthy broccoli apple salad so much, though, that we eat this salad year round at my home! It’s a family favorite recipe that’s loaded with a ton of nutrient-rich ingredients. The perfect simple, lighter side dish for all those outdoor cookouts!
Not only is it perfect for BBQs and picnics, but it’s also amazing for Sunday meal prep. Leftovers are perfect for your school or work lunchbox. You can even serve this with some diced chicken to make it even more hearty and filling. Let me show you how to make the BEST broccoli salad!
Here’s the lineup of simple, nutritious ingredients you’ll need to make this broccoli salad recipe:
- Broccoli. Use the freshest broccoli available for this salad. Frozen broccoli won’t work in this recipe.
- Carrots. For an extra boost of veggie goodness! I recommend grating your own carrots. Packaged pre-shredded carrots tend to be hard, dry, and far less flavorful.
- Red onion. The onion adds a nice tang to the salad. If you’re sensitive to the flavor of raw red onion, I have a hack that’ll help tone down the bite. See the quick tip below.
- Apples. You’ll need two large apples. Choose sweet ones, not tart or sour. I used Gala apples.
- Almonds. Be sure to take the extra time to toast the almonds for extra flavor. I love the nutty crunch, but if you’re not a nut fan or you have an allergy, you can omit.
- Dried cranberries. Gives this dish a hint of sweetness and nice chewiness that is a great contrast for the super-crunch of the raw broccoli. Craisins or raisins will work too!
- Dressing. A combination of Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper is stirred together for the dressing.
Tip: If the bite of onions bothers you, here’s a way to tame that strong flavor. Soak the onions in ice water (with a pinch of salt added) for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and dry before adding to the salad.
How to make this recipe
This is probably one of the easiest salads you will throw together (no cooking required), which is why it has become a favorite (plus it tastes great)! Here’s the simple method:
Please see the recipe card, below, for the full, printable recipe.
- Combine produce. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, carrots, red onion, apples, almonds and dried cranberries.
- Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Stir together until well combined.
- Toss the salad. Add the dressing to the salad mixture and toss to coat until everything is well combined. Cover and place in the fridge to chill for about one hour. This gives the broccoli a chance to soak in some of the dressing, resulting in an even more flavorful salad!
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.
A few tips for the perfect broccoli salad every time!
- Apples. I used Gala apples in this recipe, other great choices are Honeycrisp, Braeburn or Pink Lady apples.
- Chop veggies small. I recommend chopping the broccoli and dicing the red onion into very small pieces, so that all of the ingredients are dispersed well and you don’t end up with large chunks in each bite.
- Make ahead. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. This adds a freshness to the salad and also allows time for the dressing to soften the veggies.
- Dairy free. To make this salad dairy free, simply replace the Greek yogurt with additional mayo or use a plant-based yogurt.
- Whole30. For a Whole30 compliant broccoli salad, use an approved mayo and skip the honey.
Customize this recipe
While I love this recipe as written, sometimes I change up the ingredients a bit depending on what I have on hand. Here’s some options:
- Fruit. Try using raisins instead of cranberries, and/or pears instead of apples.
- Cheese. Small cubes or grated cheddar cheese is a nice addition to this salad. You could even add crumbled blue cheese!
- Nuts. Swap the almonds for sunflower seeds, chopped pecans, walnuts, or cashews.
- Bacon. About a 1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon would be really tasty in this recipe.
- Cauliflower. Try using 1/2 broccoli and 1/2 cauliflower florets for a different flavor. Or you can use all cauliflower florets if you’d like!
- Dressing. Not a fan of mayonnaise? Use all Greek yogurt instead!
This broccoli salad makes the perfect side dish for a party or holiday gathering. Here are some other delicious recipes that you can serve it with:
- Add protein. Toss with chickpeas, diced grilled chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken to make it a complete meal.
- As a side dish. I usually serve this salad as a side to grilled meats, burgers or sandwiches.
- With other potluck salads. If serving this salad at a potluck gathering, here are some other great dishes to accompany it: Cucumber Tomato Salad or Greek Chickpea Salad. See below for more side and salad ideas.
- Make ahead. This salad is great to make several hours in advance of serving it because it gets tastier over time. You can also mix the dressing together up to 3 days in advance, and store it in the refrigerator.
- Storing leftovers. Store the leftover salad in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Before serving again, give it a good stir and taste and season again as needed.
This salad is so delicious – it’s the perfect combination of sweet, savory, crunchy and creamy. Give it a try and you’ll find that everyone will be asking you for the recipe!
If you try this broccoli apple salad recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad
- 6 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 2 medium heads)
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 2 large apples, finely chopped (I used gala apples)
- 1/3 cup sliced dry roasted or toasted almonds (or sunflower seeds or nuts of choice)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional)
- 1 (5-6 oz) container plain Greek yogurt (3/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise or additional Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2-1 tablespoon honey or sweetener of choice, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl combine broccoli, carrots, red onion, apples, almonds, and dried cranberries.
- To make the dressing: whisk together Greek yogurt, mayo, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.
- Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
- This recipe can easily be made dairy free and Whole30 by subbing the yogurt out for a Whole30 approved mayo and omitting the sweetener.
- Or make it dairy free by using a dairy free yogurt.
- Nutritional facts calculated with dried cranberries.
- Store the leftover salad in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Before serving again, give it a good stir and taste and season again as needed.