Easy Healthy Broccoli Salad Recipe with tangy, creamy Greek yogurt dressing. Crunchy broccoli, crispy bacon, shredded cheddar, this perfect picnic side dish is healthier and flavorful!

For more healthy broccoli recipes, try crispy air fryer broccoli, broccoli feta soup and crustless broccoli quiche.

Healthy broccoli salad in white bowl.

It took me 20 years to fall in love with this salad. I find traditional versions overpoweringly sweet, salty and fatty. Now, not this healthy broccoli salad recipe!

It is fresh and vibrant, perfect for summer with chicken burger recipe or as a classic holiday side dish! It comes together in less than 30 minutes.

So, it has everything a classic broccoli salad should have but is made only with real food ingredients. It combines the best of both worlds! Healthy veggies and seeds, and everyone’s favorite bacon and creamy dressing.

Stirring healthy broccoli salad ingredients with wooden spoon in white bowl.

Ingredients for Healthy Broccoli Salad

Everyone loves this classic salad with their own twist. And good news is that this healthy broccoli salad is highly customizable. Use what you have on hand and please check out list of substitutions and variations below.

  • Broccoli for broccoli salad is usually raw. You can buy pre-chopped broccoli but I would use it within a few days while fresh.
  • Bacon: Let’s just agree that if a little bit of smoky bacon makes us eat more broccoli, we should add it!
  • Cheese: Sharp cheddar cheese is a good choice for healthy broccoli salad because it adds more flavor with less calories than regular cheddar. The sharper, the better. Look for old aged or extra sharp cheddar cheese. The thicker the shred, the better.
  • Dried cranberries: Unsweetened dried cranberries are a healthier choice but they are not always available in supermarkets. Use regular ones but maybe less.
  • Sunflower seeds: Buy roasted sunflower seeds or give them a quick toast in a skillet for extra flavor and crunch.
  • Red onion: It is more mild onion variety than yellow or white onion, and looks pretty.

Healthier Creamy Yogurt Dressing

What pulls together all the ingredients is the creamy, tangy broccoli salad dressing. It pairs so well with raw broccoli and also helps to soften it.

  • Yogurt: Plain regular or Greek yogurt with at least 2% fat content for the creamy factor.
  • Mayo: And a touch of your favorite mayonnaise completes the perfect balanced yogurt salad dressing. I like to use avocado oil mayo but you can substitute with equal amount of yogurt.
  • Mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper: To round out flavors in creamy dressing.

How to Make Healthy Broccoli Salad

This healthy broccoli salad recipe couldn’t be easier! First of all, the only thing we have to cook is bacon. Secondly, even dressing is made in same bowl as the salad. Easy-peasy.

Cooked 5 slices of bacon on baking sheet.

Cook bacon: You can bake bacon in the oven or in the air fryer. After transfer bacon on double folded paper towel to drain.

Yogurt, mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper whisked in white bowl.

Make salad dressing: Combine yogurt, mayo, mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. We will add all salad ingredients on top.

Chopping broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces on a cutting board.

Chop broccoli and red onion: Cut broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces. I prefer to cut a floret into 4 quarters and then tear with hands to avoid mess. Chop red onion.

Crumbling cooked bacon with hands over a bowl with broccoli salad ingredients.

Assemble salad: To the bowl with dressing, add broccoli, red onion, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. Shred cheese and crumble bacon on top. Stir and serve salad immediately or let it chill.

Tips and Tricks

Want to make the best broccoli salad ever? Here are a few simple tips:

  • Cut your broccoli small: Because broccoli stays raw in this salad, you want to make sure to cut it small. This way each piece gets a coating of the dressing and a fair load of all other delicious ingredients. You can also peel and finely chop the stalk.
  • Let it marinate: While you can serve this salad right away, I prefer to let flavors “marry each other” in the fridge for about 30 minutes to 2 hours. It also softens the broccoli. My family loves it on day two and three.
  • Save bacon and seeds for later: Sure I love to let the flavors develop in this salad. But if you plan on enjoying it over a few days, save some seeds and bacon to add for impeccable crunch right before serving.

Substitution Ideas

Use this healthier broccoli salad recipe as a guide and build your own:

  • Super healthy: Skip baked bacon completely and add 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast to the dressing and maybe another sprinkle to taste to the salad. Feel free to cut back mayo to 1 tbsp or none, and amp up the yogurt. Or use olive oil and soy sauce based salad dressing from my spinach salad recipe. It suits this salad very well!
  • Dried cranberries substitute: Raisins, dried cherries or fresh grapes would also work very well in this recipe. The addition of sweet fruit/berries combined with salty bacon and sharp cheddar is what makes this salad outstandingly flavorful.
  • More veggies: Chopped celery adds volume, texture, crunch and nutrition to any salad!
  • Use nuts: Add roasted almonds, cashews or walnuts instead of sunflower seeds.

What to Serve with Broccoli Salad?

In summer, if you make healthy broccoli salad for a cookout, serve alongside black bean burgers or turkey burgers, and super easy Instant Pot corn on the cob.

As I mentioned above, it’s the perfect recipe to prep ahead. I think it actually gets better with time as broccoli florets sit in the dressing and soften. And the flavors “marry each other”.

For easy dinner year round, baked honey garlic chicken with its sticky glaze goes amazing with this salad. It’s that combination of sweet and salty combined with creamy and crunchy. That’s when kids fell in love with this salad.

Can I Make It Ahead?

Yes. It is a great make ahead salad. Unlike lettuce salad, it is quite sturdy and doesn’t wilt, and tastes even better in a few hours.

To make ahead, combine all ingredients, except seeds and bacon, and do not stir. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Store seeds in a container in a pantry, and store bacon in another airtight container in refrigerator.

Combine and stir healthy broccoli salad anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before serving.

FAQs

What makes this broccoli salad healthy?

Yogurt as a main component of the dressing cuts back fat by 50-60%. Using a pound of raw broccoli, you are definitely meeting your daily veggie intake. Health benefits of broccoli include high fiber, higher in protein than other vegetables and cancer fighting properties because it is a cruciferous vegetable.

And lastly, sunflower seeds, red onion and dried fruits contain vitamins and nutrients.

Also we use only 5 slices of bacon and 1/4 cup of sharp cheddar to add more flavor with less calories. You can always use low sodium versions or cut back the amount.

Do you have to boil broccoli for the salad?

No. Since broccoli can be eaten raw, we do not have to cook or steam it.

How long does it last?

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Can I freeze the salad?

No. Vegetable salads do not freeze well.

More Broccoli Recipes to Try

Also check out these 52 healthy salad recipes for more inspiration!

I hope you give this healthy broccoli salad a try! It is easy green salad that I am sure you will love!

A closeup of healthy broccoli salad with Greek yogurt dressing.
Healthy broccoli salad in white bowl.

Healthy Broccoli Salad Recipe

Easy Healthy Broccoli Salad Recipe with tangy, creamy Greek yogurt dressing. Crunchy broccoli, crispy bacon, shredded cheddar, this perfect picnic side dish is healthier and flavorful!
4.78 from 18 votes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 306
Diet Low Fat
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Add bacon strips and bake for 20 minutes or until crispy. After transfer bacon on double folded paper towel to drain.
  • In the meanwhile, in a large salad bowl add yogurt, mayo, mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  • Chop broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the dressing. Also add red onion, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and cheese.
  • Crumble or chop bacon, add to the salad bowl, stir and let broccoli salad sit. While you can serve broccoli salad right away, I prefer to let flavors "marry each other" in the fridge for about 30 minutes – 2 hours.

Video

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
  • Make ahead: Combine all broccoli salad ingredients, except seeds and bacon, and do not stir. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Store seeds in a dry place and bacon in the fridge, and add before serving.
  • Broccoli for broccoli salad is usually raw, no need to cook or steam it.
  • Dried cranberries: Unsweetened dried cranberries are a healthier choice but they are not always available in supermarkets. Use regular ones but maybe less.
  • Yogurt and mayo: Plain regular or Greek yogurt with at least 2% fat content is the best. If using Greek yogurt and dressing is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water. Feel free to use less or omit mayo. I like avocado oil mayo.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 370mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

5 Secrets to Easy Healthy Dinners

Plus sign up for weekly emails with recipes to make your cooking stress free, delicious and healthy.

About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

Pin this recipe now to save it for later

Pin Recipe

You may also like

Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We really enjoyed this recipe. In fact after giving the recipe to my daughter-in-law she made it for her family a few days later, and sent me a picture of it. Hers looked equally delicious, as when I made it.
    Really enjoyed the lower calorie version of the dressing, in comparison to the way we usually make it, for Broccoli Salad.

    1. Fantastic! Glad you enjoyed the recipe, Joan! Loved hearing that your daughter is making it as well!

  2. 4 stars
    I gave this 4 stars. I found the yogurt dressing a smart substitution but not as rich as the traditional mayo which left me wanting more. With additional tweaking extra vinegar and nutritional yeast- I made this recipe work. I doubled the recipe for thanksgiving so likely quadrupled the vinegar in the original recipe and adding 1/4 c nutritional yeast

  3. Elena, thanks for the delicious recipe. I had all the ingredients on hand! I have 3 Ukrainians staying with us for a week. Do you have any soup recipe they might enjoy?

    1. That’s wonderful! I’m on my phone so can’t link recipes. Please search my website for Ukrainian borscht, chicken noodle soup or split pea soup.

  4. 4 stars
    Used Greek yogurt and it was a tad on the tart side so did end up using a small amount of raw local honey in the dressing. Everyone at the potluck expected bacon, haha. Too bad! There was plenty of unhealthy stuff to be had, this salad stayed reasonably healthy.

    I enjoyed this so much I’ll make just for myself.

  5. 5 stars
    Sooo GOOD!!! Made it today… making extra batch to carry to a function this weekend. Thank you Olena!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.