This Fresh Broccoli Salad with bacon, raisins, and sunflower in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing has all the flavor of the classic summer salad, just lightened up!
Made with flavorful ingredients like broccoli, raisins, sunflower seeds, and crispy turkey bacon, Healthy Broccoli Salad is the star of any meal it’s served in. Tossed in a creamy homemade Greek yogurt dressing, this delicious salad packs a serious punch. Serve it with some Grilled Pesto Chicken or Broiled Salmon for an easy and healthy meal.
This is it, you guys. The perfect summer salad. This Healthy Broccoli Salad is bursting with the ultimate combination of sweet and savory flavors for a dish that is out-of-this-world delicious. It’s got sweet flavors from the raisins, nutty flavors from the sunflower seeds, refreshing flavors from the broccoli, and rich flavors from the turkey bacon. Oh, and it’s all coated from head to toe in the creamy yogurt dressing of your dreams. Are you hungry yet?
I have made this salad so many times you would think I would be sick of it, but I can assure you I’m not—it’s just that good! I’ve served it at family dinners, birthday parties, backyard barbecues, potluck meals, holiday gatherings, and have even made it in batches for healthy lunch meal preps.
This is the kind of salad that’s so good you stick your fork onto the plate for another bite, only to look down and realize in dismay that you’ve finished it all without even noticing. I’ve seen it happen all too many times, which is why I always make sure to prepare more than I think I will need.
I could go on and on about Healthy Broccoli Salad all day, but I’m sure you’re ready to get to the good stuff. Let me know if you try out this healthy summer salad recipe and tell me what you think!
Ingredients and Easy Swaps
To make this delicious salad, you will need the following key ingredients:
- Fresh Broccoli: This cruciferous veggie makes up the base of our salad. If you aren’t a broccoli fan, you could swap this out for kale or shredded brussels sprouts.
- Raisins: These add a really nice touch of sweetness to the dish. Not a fan of raisins? Try using halved grapes, dried cranberries, or pomegranate seeds instead.
- Sunflower seeds: I love the nutty crunch this brings to the dish. Pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, and almonds are all great options as well.
- Turkey bacon: Broccoli and bacon are a match made in heaven! We lighten it up by using turkey bacon instead of the regular kind. It’s still super tasty, but lighter.
- Greek yogurt: This protein-packed yogurt is the base of our creamy homemade salad dressing. You can use regular plain yogurt instead if you prefer.
- Apple cider vinegar: This adds acid to the salad dressing, which brightens up the rest of the ingredients. White vinegar or rice vinegar can also work.
Make it Your Own! Creative Ideas for Broccoli Salad
Here are some of my top tips on serving styles and substitutions:
- If you aren’t a fan of sunflower seeds, you can swap these out for pumpkin seeds, almonds, pecans, or pine nuts.
- For a lower calorie alternative to raisins, try using halved grapes instead.
- Cheese lover? Feel free to add shredded cheddar cheese or grated parmesan cheese.
- If you don’t want to use Greek yogurt, you can swap it out for regular plain yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, or a combination of any of those options.
- For a dairy-free version, simply switch out the Greek yogurt for your favorite dairy-free alternative.
- If you love fresh herbs, try adding fresh parsley or thyme to the salad.
- You can add more fruits and veggies like chopped apples, shredded carrots, chopped celery, chopped kale or spinach, and green onions.
This versatile summer salad can be served with just about anything you want. From picnics to family dinners and everything in between, it makes the perfect addition to any table. Here are some of my favorite dishes to serve with broccoli salad:
- Grilled Pork Chops
- Turkey Pinwheels
- Chicken and Zucchini Burgers
- Ranch Chickpea Burgers
- Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Salmon
How to Store This Dish
For the best results, the salad should be stored separately from the salad dressing. The dressing can be kept in an airtight container (preferably glass, like a jar) in the fridge for up to one week. The salad can be stored in a separate airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Once the salad has been tossed with the dressing, it will stay fresh in the fridge for another 1-2 days.
Is Broccoli Salad good for you?
It depends on how you make it! One of the healthiest vegetables on the planet, broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s also high in fiber, low in calories, and high in bioactive compounds. Because of its high nutrient content, broccoli boasts a ton of great health benefits.
However traditional broccoli salad is packed with mayonnaise, bacon, and sugar. So while the broccoli is still good for you, it’s weighed down by all the other ingredients. This lightened up recipe swaps in healthier ingredients to make this broccoli salad one that is nutritious.
How to Make Healthy Broccoli Salad
Normally broccoli salad starts with healthy ingredients like fresh broccoli, red onion, dried raisins or cranberries, and sunflower seeds. And then things get crazy with huge amounts of bacon, mayonnaise, and sugar. This is fine and there is nothing wrong with a traditional broccoli salad, but it isn't very healthy.
To make a healthier version, all you need to do is make a few easy swaps:
- For an even lighter option, replace some of the dried raisins with fresh red grapes. This cuts way back on the sugar. You can also look for reduced sugar dried raisins or cranberries to cut back even more.
- Use Greek yogurt for a much lighter dressing. It still tastes great but has less than half the fat and calories. Also less dressing! The broccoli salad doesn't need to be drowning in dressing.
- Either leave off the bacon or opt for a few pieces of center cut bacon or turkey bacon. Cook them nice and crispy and drain any extra fat.
- Cut way back on the sugar in the dressing. A couple of tablespoons of honey is plenty and many people find that even one tablespoon will suffice. You can also pure maple syrup or Stevia/monkfruit for a sugar free version.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this dish:
Do you steam broccoli for broccoli salad?
That’s totally up to you. I don’t, because I like the crunch of raw broccoli, but you absolutely can if you like less of a crunch. You could also choose to blanch the broccoli for just a minute or two to make it turn an extra vibrant shade of green.
What can I use instead of broccoli?
If you aren’t a broccoli fan, you can use another cruciferous vegetable like kale or arugula. Shredded brussels sprouts would also work really well in this dish.
What should I serve with broccoli salad?
One of my favorite things about this creamy salad is how versatile it is! You can serve just about anything alongside it. I have served it with burgers, grilled meats, fish, pastas, and wraps. From family picnics to lunchtime meal preps, this dish works with anything!
More Healthy Broccoli Recipes
If you love broccoli as much as I do, try these recipes next:
Fresh Broccoli Salad (Made with Greek Yogurt!)
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- 4 cups broccoli florets, cut small
- 3 tbsp red onion, diced (more to taste)
- 3 tbsp raisins (or red grapes for lower calorie/points)
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 3 U slices turkey bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (or full fat)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp honey
- 1/8 tsp celery seed
- Salt and pepper
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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