This flavorful and healthy Broccoli Salad is the perfect side dish for summer picnics and cook outs. We love this the most after it’s sat in the dressing for the day (or overnight), making it great for meal prep. Kids and adults alike will love this healthy broccoli salad recipe with no mayo!
Love healthy recipes? Mix up your summery side dish recipes with this Broccoli Salad with Bacon or this Simple Strawberry Spinach Salad.
A Healthy Broccoli Salad without Mayonnaise
This healthy broccoli salad without mayo is the perfect combination of crunchy and chewy, savory and sweet, healthy and indulgent.
Traditional broccoli salads use a thick, mayonnaise based dressing. This one is so good, you’ll forget you ever used mayo in your broccoli salads.
Picture this: crunchy broccoli mingling with cashews, grapes, and peppers, all coated in a zesty dressing that’s so good, you’ll want to lick the bowl clean. And to top it all off, there’s chunks of cheddar cheese, because let’s be real, everything’s better with cheese. It’s the best thing!
Trust me. The simple ingredients in this salad are a game-changer. If you’ve never tried a tahini based dressing, you’re in for a treat! Shake up the flavorful sesame paste with lemon juice, vinegar, and oil, and it becomes a creamy, flavor packed sauce you’ll want to use on everything.
This creamy broccoli salad is loved by all! It’s the perfect thing to take to picnics and potlucks!
If you’re a fan of this healthier take on broccoli salads, you’ll also love my Broccoli Cauliflower Salad.
Tahini and lemon juice is my favorite simple tangy dressing — when I am making a quick lunch for myself, just a little drizzle of both adds all the flavor I need, plus tahini is packed with Vitamin E, and even adds a dose of protein and fiber to whatever you drizzle it on.
What You’ll Need
Broccoli Salad Ingredients
- Raw Broccoli
- Red Grapes
- Orange Bell Peppers (yellow or red work too! I was going for a “rainbow” of toppings)
- Cashews (toast these with a little sea salt and olive oil ahead of time!)
- Golden Raisins (or regular raisins! Be sure to buy organic raisins)
- Cheddar Cheese (omit for a dairy free or vegan broccoli salad!)
- Red Onion (optional but a great addition!)
Lemon Tahini Dressing
- Tahini (this a sesame paste)
- Lemon Juice
- Red Wine Vinegar (or use apple cider vinegar, if that’s what you have on hand!)
- Olive Oil (avocado oil is a great swap)
- Raw Honey or Maple Syrup (optional. This adds a little bit of extra flavor but isn’t necessary!)
- Dijon Mustard
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Make this Easy Broccoli Salad Recipe Ahead of Time
This recipe is simple, but spectacular in its own right. Broccoli is one of those veggies it’s hard not to love — it’s typically a favorite among kids also, making this salad ideal for summer gatherings.
Broccoli is a sturdy vegetable that holds up well to dressings, so you can make this the morning before, the evening before, or even keep this salad around for a few days, and it actually just gets better!
I like to mix the creamy dressing into the broccoli, and prepare the rest of the ingredients and keep them separate. Right before serving, I mix everything together. This keeps all the ingredients the freshest.
How to Make a Healthy Broccoli Salad with No Mayo
Step 1: In a jar, combine the tahini, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake up well to mix into a creamy dressing, and set aside.
Step 2: Chop broccoli into very small pieces. Add to a large bowl, and toss with the creamy dressing. Use hands to work dressing into broccoli. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Pro tip: I love to dress my broccoli a day before serving this salad to really let the flavors soak in and to soften the broccoli!)
Step 3: When ready to serve, add the toppings to the broccoli salad. You can add the toppings to the salad and cover it in plastic wrap until ready to serve if you’re making this ahead of time.
Step 4: Right before serving, toss the salad together to mix in the cashews, grapes, peppers, raisins and cheese!
Adapt this No Mayo Broccoli Salad
Vegan Broccoli Salad
Make this classic side dish a vegan broccoli salad by subbing a dairy free cheese in place of the cheddar, or simply omitting it.
Paleo or Whole30 Broccoli Salad
This salad is easily adapted to be suitable for dairy free or Whole30 diets! The only ingredient in it that isn’t Whole30 is cheese. Omit the cheese, or substitute crumbled bacon.
Use this healthy broccoli salad recipe as a template for your favorite version! Try adding:
- Bacon Bits (cook bacon until crisp and crumble! Or use turkey bacon, if you have that on hand!)
- Crunchy Sunflower Seeds (toast your own in olive oil and sea salt!)
- Feta Cheese or Goat Cheese in place of the cheddar
- Apples or Pears
- Sweet Cranberries
- Cherry tomatoes (in place of the grapes)
FAQ & How to Store
How to Store Broccoli Salad without Mayo
Dress the broccoli, and chop the toppings, but keep in separate containers. When ready to serve, add the toppings into the broccoli salad and toss to combine the ingredients.
Store leftover broccoli salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
The cheese, cashews, and raisins get soggy when mixed in the dressing, so if I am not sure I will need to whole salad, I add toppings to half the broccoli, and keep the other half of the salad stored separately in the refrigerator. When ready to enjoy the salad again, I add toppings to individual servings.
Because this broccoli salad doesn’t have mayo in the dressing, it holds at room temperature longer! It’s a safe one to leave on the buffet table during summer potlucks!
Meal prep it for a healthy lunch by keeping the toppings separate from the broccoli and dressing!
Is Broccoli Salad Healthy?
Broccoli is an incredibly nutritious food! It’s high in vitamin C and K, and also has compounds called sulforaphane, known to help detox the body.
What makes a broccoli salad unhealthy is using dressings or mayo with seed oils, sugars, and preservatives.
Skip the conventional broccoli salad recipe in place of this recipe – the best healthy broccoli salad recipe!
Other Healthy Summer Salad Recipes:
- Paleo Broccoli Salad with Bacon
- Summer Greek Quinoa Salad
- Kale Salad with Blueberries and Quinoa
- Addictive Asian Cabbage Salad
- Massaged Kale Salad with Blood Oranges
I’d love to connect with you on social media! Find me on Facebook or Instagram where I post daily healthy eating and lifestyle inspiration.
Broccoli Salad No Mayo
- 6 cups broccoli chopped small
- 1 bell pepper orange or red
- 1 cup red grapes halved
- 1/3 cup cashews toasted
- 1/4 cup cheddar cheese cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
Lemon Tahini Dressing
- Mix all the dressing ingredients together. They can be whisked together, but for the creamiest dressing, add to a blender and process for a minute.
- Add the chopped broccoli to a colander, and then pour boiling water over the broccoli to quickly soften it. Rinse it with cool water afterwards.
- Mix the dressing into the broccoli and stir to fully coat.
- Right before serving, add the rest of the ingredients. It’s okay to add the raisins, grapes, and peppers, but keep the cheese and cashews reserved until serving.
- Make it Vegan: This can easily be made into a vegan broccoli salad by subbing a dairy free cheese in place of the cheddar, or simply omitting it.
- Make this Paleo or Whole30: This salad is great for the Whole30. Omit the cheddar (it doesn’t need it!), and omit the small amount of honey in the dressing as well.
- Optional Additions: Bacon is delicious is broccoli salads! Add it to this salad, or try this Paleo Broccoli Salad with Bacon.
Arman @ thebigmansworld says
Ahhh can’t believe how soon it is! I can imagine how difficult it would have been finding well…anything party centric in your side of town as funny as that sounds! I remember needing blu tak for an assignment when I was over there as a kid and could NOT find it anywhere even though it was a global product.
That salad looks great and I love the reasoning behind it- Your son is going to have an amazing palate 😀
Shopping here has gotten better and better over the years, but is still so much more difficult than in the Western world… and every place is more difficult to shop than the super-consumerism society in America 🙂 I can’t help comparing shopping experiences here to back at home.
Robyn @ simply fresh dinners says
Oh my gosh, Michelle, such a fun post! You look fantastic and the party is so special with the pirate theme.
So sweet that they made your recipes and a really nice surprise to see my salad on there! So excited for you. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by!
I do much the same thing with my veggies each Sunday and usually cook up chicken or fish as a topping. Saves so much time for the week, doesn’t it?
Won’t be long now 🙂
Yes, time has really flown by! I can’t believe we are almost down to the final 10 weeks. I have only recently in the past 3-4 weeks started really putting on weight and getting a belly– and that is making it more and more real. Well, that, and the fact that we have baby stuff crammed in every room of our house and still haven’t had the new closets built so we can rearrange and empty out the baby’s room. Thank goodness for being a teacher and having summer break!
i have no doubt your child will be a healthy eater. Look at you! So nourishing. Such a great party full of flavor and love. <3
Thanks Lindsday! He is going to have a lot of nutritious options available to him.. and I also think that this is one area in his life where I will NOT be a pushover 🙂
Holy moly! I can’t get past those cupcakes – SO COOL!! And congratulations!! How exciting for you 🙂
You know, I never thought to make broccoli salad before. Why on earth not is totally beyond me. Thank you for the inspiration! 🙂
I know, the cupcakes kill me. We … two weeks later … still have the one with the baby on it in my fridge. We couldn’t eat it, and I can’t bring myself to throw it away. It’s made of fondant… so eventually I guess it will disintegrate!
Lynne Alexander says
I am new to your site and have found several recipes I want to try! I just began my journey in WHOLE 30 so I anxiously looking for HEALTHY recipes that meet all the rules & requirements of the program. My question regarding your recipe for Mayo-Free Broccoli Salad is where would I find champagne vinegar or what can I use as a substitute? Also, you might want to correct your ingredient amount for olive oil as your dressing calls for: ¼ cup tablespoons olive oil 😉 Found it fun that you’re an Oregonian and your mom lives in Bend, I too am a native and live in Redmond! Thank you for posting good, clean, healthy recipes!!
Thanks Lynne! I actually have been wanting to update the Mayo Free Broccoli Salad with new photos and everything, because that has been a really popular recipe. Thanks so much for pointing out the mistake in the measurements! I will fix that. Champagne vinegar is just a white wine vinegar, but it’s lighter in flavor, not quite as acidic. I buy it at Whole Foods, but I am thinking I’ve seen it at Trader Joe’s in Bend as well. I’ll let you know, because I am going out there this weekend! Good luck on your healthy-eating journey– if you haven’t downloaded my free eBook, The Clean Eating Detox, please take a look! You’ll also get a twice-monthly newsletter highlighting new recipes or trends in nutrition. Looking forward to hearing from you again!
Tania Sheff says
What a great way to enjoy broccoli! I absolutely love it!