Simple, healthy, and easy to make, this crunchy broccoli salad is loaded with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and bacon. Coated in a vibrant raspberry vinaigrette made with fresh raspberries, it’s the perfect summer salad.
Easy & Healthy Broccoli Salad
Looking for the perfect, easy summer side? Look no further. This broccoli salad is chock-full of filling, flavorful goodies. Crisp, refreshing broccoli is tossed together with sweet dried fruits, smokey bacon, crunchy nuts and seeds, and zingy red onions for the perfect combination of flavors and textures. The best part, though, is the luscious, sweet-yet-tangy raspberry dressing. Made from fresh raspberries, lemon juice, olive oil, a splash of plain yogurt, and more, this perfectly balanced dressing soaks into every nook and cranny of the crunchy salad. Did someone say “delicious”?
This salad is the ideal side to bring to your next backyard BBQ. It’s wonderfully simple and easy to make and it’s super good for you. Do your taste buds a favor and give it a try!
Why You’ll Love This Side Dish
Just wait. The moment you take your first bite of this delicious salad, you’ll be hooked. Here’s why I’m convinced you’ll love it so much.
- Nutritious and filling. Broccoli is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. You’re doing your body a favor by eating this power veggie. Plus, it’s filling!
- A flavor-packed treat. The tang of the raspberries, the sweetness of the vinaigrette, the bite of the red onion, and the smoky, savory quality of the bacon combine to make one big, well-balanced flavor explosion.
- Crunch. The combination of broccoli, nuts, and seeds makes for a crunchy treat that will have you returning for more.
- Customizable. Feel free to play with the ingredients and adjust the flavors of this salad. There’s a ton of room to make it your own. Check out the section below titled “Tips & Variations” for inspiration.
What You’ll Need
I can’t wait for you to try this crisp, refreshing summer salad. Here’s what you’ll need to make it.
For the salad
- Fresh broccoli florets
- Dried berries: I used cranberries and blueberries.
- Sunflower seeds: Pepitas would make for a great substitution.
- Almonds: Pick a nut, any nut! Almonds have a wonderful crunch to them but walnuts or pistachios would be great as well.
- Cooked bacon
- Red onion
For the raspberry vinaigrette
- Fresh raspberries: You can use a different berry if you’d like. Blueberries or strawberries would be great.
- White wine vinegar
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh lemon juice
- Fresh ground pepper
- Non-fat plain yogurt: I like to use this yogurt because it adds a nice creaminess to the dressing but feel free to leave it out. Mayonnaise would make a fine substitute.
How to Make Broccoli Salad
Here’s a quick look at how to make broccoli salad with raspberry vinaigrette. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
- Make the salad. Combine the broccoli, dried fruits, sunflower seeds, almonds, crumbled bacon, and red onions.
- Make the dressing. Push the raspberries through a wire strainer to extract the juice. Whisk together the raspberry puree left behind in the strainer with the extracted raspberry juice, sugar, lemon juice, and vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil followed by the salt and pepper and the yogurt (if using).
- Dress the salad. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine.
- Chill. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.
Tips for Success
For the best broccoli salad, take a moment to read through these tips and tricks.
- Start with the best broccoli. It’s the backbone of this salad, after all. Look for broccoli with vibrant green florets and firm stems. Avoid broccoli that is wilted or has yellowing florets. Also, be sure to thoroughly wash the broccoli (no one wants bits of dirt in their salad) and pat it dry. The dressing will have a hard time adhering to damp florets.
- Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Trim the broccoli into small, bite-sized florets for easy eating. This will also allow the dressing to reach more surface area making for an overall tastier salad.
- Drain your bacon. Get all the bacon grease off the cooked bacon before adding it to the salad.
- Let the flavors meld. Resist the temptation to eat this salad right away. I highly recommend letting it sit for at least 4 hours (covered in the fridge) before diving in. 24 hours is even better. As the salad sits, the flavors of the dressing will sink into all of the ingredients and soften the crunchy broccoli just the right amount.
One great thing about this healthy broccoli salad is that there is tons of room to experiment and make it your own. Play with the dressing, the mix-ins, and more. Here are some fun ideas for you.
- Play with nuts and seeds. I used sunflower kernels and almonds, but you could just as easily use walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and/or pepitas instead.
- Make it vegetarian. If you are trying to steer clear of meat, feel free to leave out the bacon.
- Use a different fruit. Instead of using raspberries in the vinaigrette, try blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries.
- Adjust the vinaigrette. If you prefer a sweeter dressing, you can add a little extra sugar or a bit of honey. You could also increase the amount of vinegar or add a squeeze of lemon juice for a tangier flavor.
- Blanch the broccoli. If you prefer a slightly softer texture, you can blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then transfer them to an ice bath and drain them before adding them to the salad.
- Add cauliflower. This salad is super tasty with the addition of cauliflower. Just replace half of the broccoli with cauliflower florets.
What to Serve with Broccoli Salad
This broccoli salad pairs beautifully with a variety of sides and mains. To me, it screams summer cookout so I love serving it with my backyard bash faves. Here are some ideas to get you cooking.
- Grillin’ mains. I love serving this salad with anything that comes off the BBQ. Beer Marinated Grilled Chicken, salmon burgers, ribs, you name it. The fresh and vibrant flavors of the salad complement the smoky and savory flavors of barbecue dishes perfectly. Try my Easy Baby Back BBQ Ribs, Grilled Chicken Thighs, or my Juicy Grilled Turkey Burgers.
- Classic BBQ sides. This easy broccoli salad goes just as well with classic BBQ side dishes as it does with mains. Try my Lightened-Up Creamy Potato Salad Recipe, this Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad with Balsamic Glaze Recipe, or my Grilled Corn with Herbed Butter.
- Potatoes. I have been loving this refreshing salad with these simple Air Fryer Baked Potatoes or my Loaded Baked Potato Bites.
Can I Prepare This Salad In Advance?
Yes, you can! You can make this salad up to 24 hours in advance. Anything longer than that, and you’ll want to keep the dressing separate from the salad.
How to Store Leftovers
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The salad will stay fresh for 2-3 days. Keep in mind that, as it sits, the broccoli will start to soften, and the salad will lose its crunch. To avoid this, consider storing the dressing in a separate airtight container in the fridge.
More Easy Side Salads
Looking for more easy sides to round out your favorite meal? Here are some fun, easy recipes for you to try. Enjoy!
- Sautéed Garlic Broccolini
- Classic Waldorf Salad
- Tomato Burrata Salad
- Air Fryer Avocado Fries
- Fluffy Couscous with Asparagus and Golden Raisins
- Grilled Cabbage Steaks
Broccoli Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
- 6 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 1 cup mixed dried berries, I used cranberries and blueberries
- ½ cup roasted sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- 4 slices bacon, cooked to a desired crisp and crumbled
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh raspberries
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt
- In a large salad bowl, combine the broccoli florets, dried fruits, sunflower seeds, almonds, crumbled bacon, and red onions; set aside.
- Set a handheld wire strainer over a small jar or bowl.
- Using a spoon, push the raspberries through the wire strainer to puree. Reserve the raspberry juice.
- Transfer the puree to a small mixing bowl; stir in the raspberry juice, sugar, lemon juice, and vinegar.
- Whisk in the olive oil until completely incorporated.
- Add salt, pepper, and yogurt and continue to whisk until well combined.
- Pour the dressing over the broccoli salad and toss to combine.
- Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.
- Toss before serving.
- If the salad is a bit dry, stir in a little olive oil or yogurt.
- Avoid any broccoli that looks wilted or has yellow bits on it. Also, wash the broccoli well and dry it off properly.
- Cut the broccoli into small florets that are easy to eat. This also means the dressing will cover more of the broccoli, which makes your salad even tastier.
- After you’ve cooked your bacon, drain off all the extra fat before putting the bacon crumbles in the salad.
- Wait a bit before you eat the salad. It’s best to leave the salad in the fridge for at least 4 hours before eating it. This gives the dressing time to soak into the ingredients and soften the broccoli.
- I’ve used sunflower seeds and almonds in this recipe, but you can try swapping them with walnuts, cashews, pistachios, or pepitas.
- If you’re not a fan of meat or if you’re cooking for a vegetarian, you can leave the bacon out.
- Instead of raspberries in the dressing, try it with blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries.
- Adjust the dressing to your taste. If you like your dressing sweeter, you could add a bit more sugar or some honey. Or, if you prefer it a bit more tangy, add more vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice. You can also leave out the yogurt for a lighter take on it.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.