If you're headed out to a picnic our outdoor gathering, you'll want to whip up this quick, easy and tasty Summer Broccoli Crunch Salad!
It's loaded with good stuff: broccoli, apples, Craisins™, red onion and nuts! All mixed in a creamy, sweet and tangy mayonnaise-based dressing.
The best thing is, you can make it in advance and it tastes better the next day!
There are a million spins on this classic broccoli salad. This version is inspired by Whole Foods Market's infamous Broccoli Crunch salad with a few variations.
Keep in mind, you can put whatever you want in your broccoli salad-there's no rule and no right or wrong way to make it!
Why you'll love this recipe!
- Quick and easy - minimal prep time; ready in 10-minnutes
- Make ahead- this broccoli salad actually tastes better the next day
- Inexpensive - great for crowds because the ingredients don't cost much
Broccoli Crunch pairs well with just about everything! Ribs, fried catfish, ham or fried chicken! It's also good as a side to a sandwich or as a snack!
Here's what you'll need:
1-2 big crowns of broccoli; 1 large honeycrisp apple, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. (Bacon is optional)
If you want to add nuts or seeds, consider chopped walnuts, pecans or roasted sunflower seeds. See Variations below.
How to make it:
Make the dressing and set aside; chop onions and apple; place both in the dressing. (The apple cider vinegar in the dressing keeps the apples from turning brown.
After you've chopped everything and made the dressing, dump it all in a big bowl, combine well, cover and refrigerate - That's it!
Yes, this recipe calls for blanching the broccoli, and here's why:
What does blanching the broccoli do?
Broccoli is a very sulphurous and sinewy vegetable, much like cauliflower.
The high-heat water molecules stop enzymatic and gaseous actions that naturally occur in broccoli-these actions cause loss of color, flavor and affect the texture of the vegetable.
If you've ever ordered a professional vegetable platter from a caterer, you've had blanched broccoli.
Blanching improves the overall color and texture which makes for a better presentation. (same with cauliflower)
Blanching also removes any debris or dirt that might be stuck in the florets. It only takes about 5-minutes, but it's totally worth it.
To stop the cooking process, immediately submerge the crowns in ice cold water.
How to blanch broccoli:
Bring a large stockpot of water to high heat; place uncut broccoli crowns in water and let sit for 3 minutes; remove and submerge in ice cold water. Allow to cool.
Cut away the stalky stem and cut or tear florets into small bite-sized pieces and place in the dressing.
One large crown makes about 4 cups of Summer Broccoli Crunch salad. If you're taking this to a potluck or picnic, double the recipe and dressing.
How to select fresh broccoli crowns:
The crowns are the the little florets, minus the stalk. If you can't find crowns, buy it with the stalk. You'll cut the stalk off later
Choose the darkest green crown; sometimes you'll see light green areas on the surface; try to avoid these, as they've aged and/or been exposed to light.
Pick from the back of the broccoli bin; broccoli is light-sensitive, as is cauliflower, so try to get one that hasn't been exposed to the florescent lighting
The crowns should be firm; if it feels soft or soggy, don't get that one...look in the back of the bin
Can I use frozen or pre-packaged broccoli?
Frozen or packaged broccoli works for this recipe as well. If you use frozen, buy the florets and place them in a colander to thaw before blanching.
If find fresh or pre-packaged best because I can actually see how much broccoli I'm getting.
The frozen bags don't seem to have enough and I never know how much to buy, so I buy too much.
As I mentioned earlier, there are thousands of ways to make this classic Summer Broccoli Crunch salad. Here are some ideas you might want to consider:
Substitute plain yogurt for mayonnaise
Add chopped pecans, walnuts, peanuts, macademia nuts or sunflower seeds
Chopped carrots, cauliflower, red pepper
Season with red pepper flakes for a bit of heat
Add diced ham or canadian bacon
If you take this dish to an outdoor gathering, place the serving bowl in a larger bowl full of ice so the mayonnaise won't turn rancid
Serve in individual ramekins or parfait cups for ease and presentation (by the time the third person has scooped into the salad, it doesn't look as appetizing)
Serve with a slotted spoon if you accidentally put too much dressing on it
Make ahead and storage:
You can make this summer broccoli crunch salad up to three days in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freezing is not recommended.
If you don't have room in your refrigerator for a big bowl, divide the salad up into large zipper storage bags - they take up less space.
- No Mayonnaise Coleslaw
- Copper Penny Carrot Slaw
- Southern Mustard Potato Salad
- Classic Deviled Ham Dip
- Chicken Salad
- Vermicelli Summer Salad
- English Pea Salad
- Pineapple Casserole
Summer Broccoli Crunch Salad
- 1 large broccoli crown
- 1 large apple , Honeycrisp, Gala or Fuji
- ¼ cup red onion , chopped finely
- ¾ cup Craisins , or raisins
- 1 cup pecans , chopped
- 5 strips bacon (optional), fried and crumbled
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- pinch of salt and pepper , to taste
Blanch the Broccoli
- Bring large stockpot of water to high heat; place broccoli crown in water for 5-minutes
- Remove crown and submerge in ice cold water for 5-minutes
- Once cooled, remove stalk (if applicable) and cut florets into bite sized pieces; set aside
Make the Salad
- If you're adding bacon to the salad, fry, drain and chop it; then set aside
- Mix dressing ingredients in large mixing bowl
- Add chopped apple (skin on) and remaining ingredients including broccoli; combine well
- Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour
- When ready to serve, stir salad ingredients; taste for salt and pepper and serve