Skinny Broccoli Salad is a lightened up version of a classic with red grapes, sunflower seeds, and cranberries in a creamy dressing. Jump to Recipe keyboard_arrow_down
This healthy Broccoli Salad packed with fresh broccoli, grapes, sunflower, and dried cranberries makes a crunchy, delicious, and healthy side dish. Serve it with some Grilled Pesto Chicken or Broiled Salmon for an easy and healthy meal.
Don’t you hate it when something that should be healthy, like a broccoli salad, gets weighed down with the addition of heavy dressing or fatty meats? I know I do. In fact, so many broccoli salads include those ingredients that, for a long time, I didn’t even think I liked broccoli salads.
This Skinny Broccoli Salad recipe completely changed my mind. The inspiration for this salad came from a recipe I saw on Cooking Light’s website. I reduced the sugar by swapping a half cup of craisins in for the full cup of raisins originally called for and cut the amount of sugar in the dressing too.
The grapes, celery, and sunflower seeds compliment the broccoli and salty sweet dressing so perfectly. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite salads, and it goes really well served alongside any meat or fish entree. What’s more, this incredible healthy salad will be a favorite at summer potlucks and parties.
The salad is great as-is, but feel free to make it your own by adding some lightly toasted slivered almonds or a sprinkling of bacon. You’re going to love it!
How to Make Healthy Broccoli Salad
Normally broccoli salad starts with healthy ingredients like fresh broccoli, red onion, dried 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:
- Replace some of the dried cranberries with fresh red grapes. This cuts way back on the sugar. You can also look for reduced sugar dried cranberries to cut back even more.
- Grab light mayonnaise and combine it with 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 is plenty and many people find that even one tablespoon will suffice. You can also use honey or pure maple syrup for a refined sugar-free options.
What's in Broccoli Salad dressing?
The dressing for broccoli salad is traditionally made with mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. To lighten things up, this healthy version is made with light mayonnaise and Greek yogurt. You can use almost any kind of vinegar. My personal favorites are simple white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
How long is broccoli salad good for?
Broccoli salad will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days if you have already added the dressing. If you haven't added the dressing, the salad will last 4-5 days.
One quick note, if you do make this ahead of time, make sure to toss the broccoli with the dressing at least one hour before serving so the salad has time to meld and combine. It tastes much better after having some time to soak up the flavors of the dressing.
Recipe Ideas for Healthy Broccoli Salad
- Add more veggies! Toss in some cauliflower, zucchini, sugar snap peas, green beans, or red cabbage.
- Try different nuts and seeds: Although sunflower seeds are traditional, you could make this with cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, or pecans.
- New fruit: Make this with some diced apples and dried raisins or blueberries and dried cherries. There are lots of options for combining all kinds of different flavors.
- Add bacon: Crumble up some cooked turkey bacon or center cut pork bacon. You could also add bacon bits, which tend to be pretty low in calories.
- Add protien: Add some protein with cooked chicken or shrimp. For protein and fiber, add a can of chickpeas.
- No mayo: Make a mayo-free version with Greek yogurt and and sour cream. For a dairy free version, use mashed avocado.
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- 4 cups broccoli florets (about 1½ pounds)
- 1.5 cups seedless red grapes, sliced in half
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup plain fat free yogurt
- 2 tbsp sugar (or sweetener to taste)
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
Combine the broccoli, grapes, celery, cranberries and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar, and vinegar until well blended and creamy to make the dressing.
Add to the broccoli mixture. Stir well so everything is fully coated.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
* 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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