Broccoli Cranberry Salad is a fresh and vibrant side dish with its combination of earthy, tart, and sweet flavors with pops of savory goodness from seeds and nuts! Tossed in a homemade lemon yogurt dressing for a creamy and tangy finish and chilled to make it even more flavorful and refreshing.
The perfect make-ahead salad that is ready for chilling in less than 5 minutes!
Why It's Yummy
- Best flavors! The mix of fresh and crisp broccoli, sweet and tart cranberries, zesty red onions, savory seeds, and nuts plus the tangy Greek yogurt dressing is to die for!
- Amazing texture. Experience its crisp, crunchy, chewy, and creamy texture in every forkful! Chilling the salad for a few hours overnight makes the broccoli tender as it absorbs more of the dressing.
- An easy raw salad. You can make this salad in less than 5 minutes using a few simple ingredients! Just make the sauce, throw the salad together, toss, and chill. All you have to do is add the seeds and nuts right before serving.
- Nutritious. Not only is it easy and delicious, but it is super healthy too! It is crammed with vitamins and nutrients in every bite.
- Versatile. This salad can be enjoyed as it is if you are looking for a light brunch or lunch dish. It also pairs marvelously with almost any type of mains and adds a nice visual to any plate!
- Perfect for the holidays. The vibrant toss of green, red, and brown makes this salad perfect for summer parties and holidays.
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
- Broccoli florets- cut into about ½ inches. It is best to use fresh, however, frozen florets can also be used if that is what you have. Did you know that broccoli stems are edible?
- Dried cranberries- aside from adding sweetness and tartness to the salad, its beautiful ruby color livens up the dish and makes it festive. If possible, opt for unsweetened dried fruit instead of sweet cranberries ones.
- Red onion- the sharp bite of red onions is the perfect balance to the earthy freshness of the broccoli.
- Seeds - we used toasted pumpkin and crunchy sunflower seeds for this recipe. Using roasted seeds gives the salad a slightly smoky and savory crunch.
- Nuts - you can use chopped pecan, almond, or walnuts. Roasted and salted nuts will add more flavor to the salad.
- Greek yogurt- this will give the salad dressing a rich and tangy taste!
- Mayonnaise – a common base for broccoli salad, mayonnaise adds an indulgent taste and velvety texture to dressings.
- Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar- this will add a fresh citrus flavor and the acidity will keep the broccoli and onions fresher longer.
- Maple syrup- a touch of sweetness to balance the tanginess of the yogurt and lemon juice.
- Kosher salt and black pepper- to taste
Make the broccoli salad dressing. In a large bowl, blend the dressing ingredients together.
Prepare the salad. In the same bowl or separate mix broccoli florets, cranberries, and red onions. Stir to combine all the ingredients.
Chill. Refrigerate the salad for 1-2 hours, allowing the broccoli to absorb the flavorful dressing and soften.
Add the seeds and nuts. Just before serving, sprinkle the seeds and nuts over the salad. Serve and enjoy!
Why is my salad soggy after chilling?
Is your salad soggy instead of crisp and fresh after chilling? Here are some reasons why and what to do to prevent this from happening.
- Adding too much dressing. While dressings are essential in the overall flavor and texture of the salad, adding too much can drown the broccoli and make them too soft. Add just enough to coat the salad components. You can add more later if you like.
- Using watery ingredients. If your veggies are not drained and dried properly, it will water down the dressing and make the salad soggy. Use a salad spinner to dry the broccoli florets for best results.
Why is my Greek yogurt dressing too thin?
This can happen for several reasons:
- Not stirring the yogurt before using it. When yogurts have been sitting on the chiller too long, the whey liquid separates and stays on top. Make sure to stir before using to ensure that the yogurt is well-mixed before using it.
- Not using full-fat yogurt. While regular and low-fat yogurt works, using full-fat will give you a creamier and thicker dressing.
- Too much liquid was added. It is possible that you added too much lemon juice and maple syrup. If this happens, add a bit more mayo until the desired consistency is met.
- If you do not have time to chill the salad, you can blanch the broccoli florets by placing them in hot water for a minute and then plunging them in ice-cold water. It may not be as flavorful as the chilled salad version but would still be delicious.
- If your cranberries have dried up too much, soaking them in warm water for a few minutes will rehydrate them and make them look plump and moist.
- Avoid adding the seeds and nuts during refrigeration as they may lose their crunch.
- Do not be afraid to adjust the amount of yogurt, lemon juice, and maple syrup to your liking.
Serve the broccoli salad straight off the fridge!
Fresh, raw salads like this are the perfect side dish to fried, baked, grilled, or roasted mains like Cajun turkey breast, Baked trout in honey mustard, Fried salmon patties, or Pan-seared pork chops.
📋 Broccoli lover dream: Broccoli cranberry salad with creamy yogurt dressing is a tasty mix of crunchy broccoli, tangy cranberries, and a smooth yogurt dressing. A perfect balance of sweet, savory, and creamy flavors.
Freezing And Storing Instructions
- To Store. Cover the salad bowl with cling wrap or transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, maintaining its freshness and flavor. It is not recommended for freezing.
- Make Ahead. For this typically store all the veggies separately in a bowl, and once read to serve add creamy dressing.
Substitutions and Variations
- Add proteins. You can give this salad some protein by adding crispy bacon bits, salmon shreds, shrimp, or shredded chicken.
- Broccoli slaw. Add thinly pre-cut cabbage, and carrots.
- Add fresh fruits. Adding apple slices, mandarin orange, or pomegranate arils will not only add to the flavor and overall appeal but will also boost its vitamin content!
- Seeds. Aside from sunflower and pumpkin seeds, you can also use poppy, chia, or sesame seeds.
- Vegan option. This vegetarian recipe can be made vegan by using dairy-free yogurt and vegan mayonnaise.
- Cheese. You can always add more for topping, such as shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled feta or sliced goat cheese. If you can, grate the cheese from a block! Not only will it have improved texture and flavor, but it will also be free from additives often found in store-bought grated cheese options.
More Fall Salads
For all salad recipes, hop on to our Salad collection.
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Broccoli Cranberry Salad With Sunflower Seeds (No Bacon)
For Broccoli Salad:
- 1 pound broccoli florets (cut into about ½ inches)
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup red onion (diced)
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds (toasted)
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (toasted)
- 2 tablespoons pecan (almond or walnuts, chopped)
- ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- black pepper to taste
- Make the dressing. In a mixing bowl, blend the dressing ingredients together.
- Prepare the salad. In the same bowl or separate mix broccoli florets, cranberries, and red onions. Stir to combine all the ingredients.
- Chill. Refrigerate the salad for 1-2 hours, allowing the broccoli to absorb the flavorful dressing and soften.
- Add the seeds and nuts. Just before serving, sprinkle the seeds and nuts over the salad. Serve and enjoy!
- Cover the salad bowl with cling wrap and place it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, maintaining its freshness and flavor. It is not recommended for freezing.
- Add proteins. You can give this salad some protein by adding crisp bacon bits, salmon shreds, shrimp, or shredded chicken.
- Avoid adding the seeds and nuts during refrigeration as they may lose their crunch.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)