This Whole30 Broccoli Salad is a healthier version of everyone’s favorite broccoli salad. A perfect combination of crunch and tangy creaminess. Made with dried cranberries, raisins, almonds, pumpkin seeds, red onions and a delicious homemade dressing, and it’s ready in less than 15 minutes! Perfect for meal prep.
Did I mention that this is the healthy salad you need in your life? The creamy and dreamy salad dressing makes the recipe extra fresh and slightly addictive!
The holidays are almost here. And I know so many of you will be searching for a dish to make for your vegan or vegetarian family members. OR you need a dish for your paleo siblings and Keto best friends (ahem…story of my life!).
It used to be I only needed to make some vegan dishes when we had a holiday get together. This broccoli salad is gluten free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free and vegan…a healthy side dish that fits so many styles of eating. And maybe you make it just for you!
I’m super excited to present to you this healthy broccoli salad that you can even prep ahead. It’s a Whole30 + paleo broccoli salad with the most refreshing orange almond dressing. It really is oh so flavorful and easy to put together. You’ll be totally smitten by this healthy and crunchy salad with the dreamiest and creamiest dressing.
Now I have seen broccoli salads made with chunks of cheddar, bacon and loads of mayo. And not that there is any thing wrong with bacon, LOL! I do remember having this sometime ago at barbecues and parties and was wondering about the cheddar chunks and raw broccoli…it really wasn’t my sort of salad. But THIS salad is my sort of salad.
The most time consuming part of this salad is prepping the broccoli. All you have to do is cut the pieces into smaller bite size chunks and blanch in water for 60 seconds! Once you do that, the dressing comes together in no time. That’s the only prep work!
IF I had bacon on hand, I would have crumbled some on top. All I had was a chunk of homemade pancetta my hubs made and I know that is saved for a nice carbonara coming up. So if you have bacon and aren’t vegan, go ahead, cook it up and crumble some on top!
What dressing is used on a broccoli salad?
This dressing is made with almond butter and orange juice (use freshly squeezed to keep it as low sugar as possible!). I had shallots on hand and used them. If you don’t have shallots you could use green onions or white onions.
Here are the ingredients you need to make orange almond salad dressing:
- orange juice (you could sub in lime juice or even lemon juice)
- almond butter, no salt and no sugar (peanut butter could work, but it's not Whole30)
- extra-virgin olive oil (or any mild flavored oil)
- vinegar, red or white wine or rice vinegar is fine
- coconut aminos
- shallot (garlic or red or white onion could work fine)
- salt (only if you need it, to taste, but coconut aminos could add enough salt for your taste)
I added coconut aminos, extra-virgin olive oil and a bit of vinegar (white wine vinegar, but red wine vinegar also fine). Season with salt and pepper. Taste it when you’re making it and add more oil or vinegar if needed or even another splash of orange juice. The dressing may be too thick so you can adjust it with more of the liquid ingredients to make it consistency you like.
You need a food processor to pulse it all together. I have a large one and also a mini one. The mini processor is great to whip up dressings and doesn’t take up much storage space (I see them all the time for sale at my local thrift shops).
Store whatever is leftover of the dressing in a jar and use it all week on other salads you make.
It will thicken up so you could loosen it by adding a little bit of oil and vinegar and give it a good shake. Taste for flavor. Season it if it’s missing something. I’m telling you this dressing is so good! Make extra, because you will be using it on every thing all week long.
What ingredients are in a Whole30 broccoli salad?
Here is what I used to make the salad:
- broccoli florets
- shredded cabbage (I used a shredded cabbage salad kit, you could use shredded red cabbage)
- sliced almonds
- pumpkin seeds
- red onions
- dried cranberries
Should I blanch the broccoli?
I always blanch my broccoli for a broccoli salad, but so many people like the broccoli completely raw.
You bring a pot of water to boil and toss in the broccoli florets. It only takes about 60 seconds in the boiling water. You’ll see the broccoli turn a beautiful bright green color and they will still have a nice crunch (a crispy crunch as opposed to a hard broccoli crunch).
Just be sure to dry the broccoli with a clean towel before adding the salad (you don’t want a watery salad!).
How to Make Broccoli Salad:
Gather up all your salad ingredients.
You could buy broccoli florets or buy a whole broccoli and cut into florets. Whatever you like is fine. Cut the broccoli into smaller portions (bite size is preferable).
First thing to do is blanch the broccoli so it’s not totally raw yet will still be nice and crunchy (you’re just placing it in pot of boiling water for about 1 minute…that’s it!).
Look at this vibrant and gorgeous broccoli (am I the only one that gets excited about broccoli??)
Next step is to totally dry the broccoli (you don’t want a watery salad).
Next, add the broccoli and the rest of the salad ingredients to a bowl. I happened to have about 2 cups of a chopped cabbage salad leftover, so that got added in. You could add 2 cups of shredded red cabbage if you have any on hand. You could make it your own and add whatever seeds you have on hand or nuts (even pecans are nice…I added sliced almonds, because that’s what I had!).
I like to add the dressing and let it sit for a little bit (not more than 15-30 minutes) in the fridge. The flavors really combine. If you’re not serving it for hours, I would not add the dressing and store. Store it without the dressing in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
You could prep this Whole30 + Paleo broccoli salad up to 3 days in advance before serving. So it’s really great idea for the holidays and prepping side dishes.
PIN for later!
Some other healthy salad recipes:
Whole30 Broccoli Salad
- Food processor with the s-blade attachment, or mini-prep food processor
- 2 heads of broccoli florets cut into small chunks
- 2 cups of cabbage I used a chopped salad kit that has cabbage but you could use red cabbage
- 1/2 cup roasted sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds unsalted
- 1/2 cup red onions chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup orange juice sugar-free (freshly squeezed is ideal)
- 1/4 cup almond butter no salt and no sugar
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar red or white wine or rice vinegar is fine
- 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Add all the dressing ingredients into the
- Add ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor (or mini-prep food processor) and blend for 20-30 seconds, or until smooth. If dressing is too thick, you can thin it out with a little more orange juice or a few drops of olive oil. Check the flavor and adjust with more vinegar, if needed. Set aside.
- Alternatively, you can whisk together ingredients in a bowl or shake until incorporated in a mason jar.
- In a pot of boiling water, blanch the broccoli florets for about one minute. You want them to turn bright green, so should not take longer than a minute. The broccoli will still be crisp and crunchy without the raw edge.
- In a medium bowl, place the broccoli, cabbage, almonds, sunflower seeds, red onions, raisins and cranberries.
- Drizzle on dressing. Add amount you want to coat all the broccoli salad. Toss to combine. Check flavoring and add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve at room temperature. Or you could store in the refrigerator until ready and serve cold.
- If you add the dressing to the salad, it will store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. If you don’t add dressing, the salad should stay fresh for a few days in an airtight storage container.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.