This broccoli salad is my favorite way to enjoy crisp, crunchy, fresh broccoli. This is a healthy no-mayo recipe where lightly steamed broccoli is tossed in a lemon-Dijon dressing along with sweet red onion, creamy butter beans, freshly grated parmesan and toasted almonds.
How to make broccoli salad
This has got to be one of the easiest salad recipes you’ll ever throw together. There are only a handful of ingredients that make up the salad, plus a simple homemade dressing. I prefer a vinaigrette type dressing rather than a mayonnaise style dressing. Thus, the dressing for this broccoli salad is simply a combination of my go-to olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, grainy Dijon mustard, garlic and coarse sea salt. This is tossed over lightly steamed broccoli with Italian butter beans (Bianchi di Spagna), Parmesan Reggiano and crunchy toasted almonds. What’s great is you can also make this salad ahead of time – just toss everything together except the almonds – let stand (or refrigerate) for 30-60 minutes to let the broccoli soak of some of the dressing, then add the almonds, toss and serve. This results in a more flavorful salad.
Can you use raw broccoli for this salad?
Sure! I like to lightly steam mine using a steamer basket (only for 2 minutes, so it is still crisp), but you can also make this broccoli salad with raw broccoli. I would however recommend cutting the florets into very small pieces, tossing them with the dressing and letting it stand for at least 20 minutes to let the dressing marinade and break down the broccoli a little, before finishing off the salad with the other ingredients. Most important for both methods is to choose super fresh, organic broccoli. The florets should be really firm and not at all limp or yellowed. Older broccoli can have a bitter, stronger taste. You could also add a touch of honey to the dressing to add a little sweetness.
- 400-425 g broccoli florets (from ca. 600 g broccoli stalks), larger stalks halved or quartered through the stem
- 1 x 400 g can organic white butter beans (alternatively cannellini beans), rinsed and drained
- 2 small red onions, finely chopped
- 25 g grated parmesan (or more), to taste
- pinch of chili flakes
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted
For the dressing:
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Lightly steam the chopped broccoli (2 minutes, or more depending on preference) I like mine crisp. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking process. Drain well.
- In a small bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon, mustard, garlic and salt). Whisk together until the mixture is well combined.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until all of the broccoli is lightly coated in dressing. Add the beans, red onion, parmesan and chili flakes. Toss to combine. Add the almonds and toss again.
- Serve and enjoy!
- You can add dressing ahead then nuts before serving to allow flavors to deepen. See tips above if wanting to use raw broccoli.
- Be sure to use the freshest broccoli available and organic, if possible. This recipe also works well with lightly steamed broccolini (also called Bimi) as a tasty side dish.
- Leftovers keep well for a 2-3 days in the fridge, tightly covered.
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