Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad

3.63 from 8 votes

This crunchy and colorful Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad is easy to make and is perfect for your fall or holiday table. It’s great for picnics and potlucks, too. Make it using a few simple ingredients from my easy recipe.

If you love a good salad, here are some more delicious options: Watermelon Feta Salad, Kale Mango Salad, and Cucumber Avocado Salad.

Healthy broccoli apple salad served in a bowl.
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About Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad

This Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad Recipe is a healthy and nutritious salad recipe with sweet and savory flavors.

It’s crunchy and colorful and comes together in under 20 minutes. This salad is one of the best ways to enjoy broccoli!

The classic Southern Broccoli and Apple Salad has a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing, but to give my salad a healthy twist, I made a light apple cider vinegar dressing, which pairs very well with it.

I have shared the creamy mayonnaise-based dressing in this post, too. So choose which one you want to go for.

This salad is great for your fall or holiday table. It can also be made ahead: the ingredients do not become soggy for quite some time, making it great for box lunches, potlucks, and picnics.

Make this nutritious broccoli salad any time for any meal, and you will feel wholesome. It is paleo, gluten-free, and very diet-friendly, and it can be easily made vegan.

Ingredients

Apples – Use sweet red apples like Gala, Honeycrisp, or Fuji, as they are sweet and juicy and taste great in this salad. You can also use green apples if you like their sour taste. You don’t have to peel the apples for this salad.

Broccoli – Cut the raw broccoli into small, bite-sized florets. Buy pre-cut broccoli florets to save time.

Carrots – I diced the carrots, but you can use shredded carrots too. Buy pre-shredded carrots to save time.

Onions – I like to use red onion as it is slightly pungent, but you can also use white or yellow onion.

Dried Cranberries add a nice, chewy texture and a sweet, tangy taste. You can use raisins or craisins in place of cranberries.

Toasted Pecans – Pecans add a nice crunch or bite to the salad. You can replace pecans with almonds, cashew nuts, or walnuts.

For The Dressing – To enhance the flavor of this simple salad, you will need a light dressing that will instantly oomph up the taste.

I made a light dressing using extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.

You can replace lemon juice and zest with orange juice and orange zest.

Honey adds a nice sweetness. But if you want a vegan version, go for maple syrup instead.

Others – You can add cheeses like blue cheese or feta to the salad, as they pair beautifully with the other ingredients.

How To Make Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad

Preparation

Toast the pecans in a pan over medium heat until crisp (3-4 minutes). Chop and set them aside.

Wash a 12 oz head of broccoli and cut it into small, bite-size florets.

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to boil over medium-high heat. 

Add 1 teaspoon salt and broccoli florets to the boiling water. Press down the florets gently with a spatula.

Cook for 2 minutes. Do not overcook, or the broccoli will become mushy.

Salt added to boiling water.
Broccoli added to the hot water.

While the broccoli is cooking, keep a large bowl full of ice-cold water ready.

Bowl full of ice cold water.

Drain the water and transfer the broccoli to the bowl of ice water so the ice-cold water can stop the cooking.

Let the broccoli rest in ice-cold water for 2 minutes. Then drain and set aside.

Blanched broccoli added to the bowl.

Make The Salad

Mix the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon honey (maple syrup for vegan)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper.
Dressing ingredients added to a large bowl.

Add the following ingredients to the bowl and toss everything well.

  • cooked broccoli
  • 2 cups of cored and diced apples
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup chopped roasted pecans
Salad ingredients added to the bowl.

Chill the salad for 1-2 hours and serve cold.

Ready healthy apple broccoli salad.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make creamy mayonnaise dressing for broccoli apple salad?

Stir together ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt, ¼ cup full-fat mayonnaise, 1-½ tbsp apple cider vinegar, 3 tbsp honey, and salt (to taste) in a bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until evenly coated.

Trade some mayonnaise with yogurt to make it healthier without compromising taste.

Variations

  • Crispy Bacon – Crispy Bacon on anything is good.
  • Roasted Walnuts or Pecans – I like some crunch in my salad, and what better than some roasted crunchy pecans or walnuts? You can use cashews, walnuts, or sunflower seeds for the crunch.
  • Cheese – A fresh grating of parmesan cheese works excellently in this salad. Blue cheese and Feta cheese also pair well with the other salad ingredients.
  • Lettuce – I haven’t added lettuce or any other salad greens in this recipe, but you can. Cabbage is a great option, too.
  • Fruits – Feel free to add fruits other than apples to this recipe. Mangoes, avocados, and strawberries are some of my favorites. But be creative and choose fruits you like.
  • Beetroot – Boiled or roasted beetroot and crunchy broccoli and apples will work great. Give it a try.
  • Try roasting the broccoli instead of blanching it. It will be a very new and delicious taste profile.
  • You can also use honey mustard dressing, yogurt dressing, lemon garlic dressing, Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, or any other dressing you choose.

You Might Also Like

This crunchy and colorful Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad is a breeze to make and is perfect for your fall or holiday table. It's great for picnics and potlucks too. Make it using a few simple ingredients using my easy recipe (paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, can be easily made vegan).
3.63 from 8 votes

Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad Recipe

This crunchy and colorful Healthy Broccoli Apple Salad is a breeze to make and is perfect for your fall or holiday table. It's great for picnics and potlucks too. Make it using a few simple ingredients using my easy recipe.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

For The Salad

  • 12 ounces broccoli
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cored and diced apples
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup chopped roasted pecans

For The Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey (use maple syrup for vegan)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon feshly cracked black pepper
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Instructions 

  • Wash the head of broccoli and cut it into small, bite-size florets.
  • Bring a medium-sized pot of water to boil over medium-high heat. 
  • Add 1 teaspoon salt and broccoli florets to the boiling water. Press down the florets gently with a spatula.
  • Cook for 2 minutes. Do not overcook or the broccoli will become mushy.
  • While the broccoli is cooking, keep a large bowl full of ice-cold water ready.
  • Drain the water and transfer the broccoli to the bowl of ice water so the ice-cold water can stop the cooking.
  • Let the broccoli rest in ice-cold water for 2 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
  • Mix the dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the salad ingredients including the blanched broccoli to the bowl and toss everything well.
  • Chill the salad for 1-2 hours and serve cold.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

This salad must be refrigerated for 1-2 hours for the flavors to marry. It stays fresh for 18-24 hours in the refrigerator. After that, it will wilt, and the taste will change.
Use sweet red apples like Gala, Honeycrisp, or Fuji, as they are sweet and juicy and taste great in this salad. You can also use green apples if you like their sour taste. You don’t have to peel the apples for this salad.
You can also add cheese, such as blue cheese or feta, to the salad, as they pair beautifully with the other ingredients.

Nutrition

Calories: 204kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Sodium: 609mg, Potassium: 311mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 2163IU, Vitamin C: 54mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 1mg
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