This vegetarian Honey-Dijon Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds is mayo-free but tastes even better! Great for potlucks and parties!
We’re going retro today with this healthy vegetarian Honey-Dijon Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds!
Good old broccoli salad is always a favourite addition to a meal. However, it’s really not that old! With the push for healthy eating in the 1970’s, broccoli became popular for its nutritional value. Suddenly everyone was eating this veggie and expounding its virtues.
Salads made with broccoli soon followed. They became common in the 1980’s and 90’s when you could find one at every potluck dinner or family gathering.
Honey-Mustard Dressing makes Broccoli Salad new again!
While I used to make mayonnaise-based broccoli salad, in the last few years I’ve switched to lighter dressings. I make this Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Sesame Miso Dressing often.
This Honey-Dijon Broccoli Salad with cranberries and sunflower seeds that I’m sharing with you today is my favourite. Everyone seems to love the sweet and salty contrast from dried cranberries and toasted, lightly salted sunflower seeds. Most importantly, I feel good serving a vegetarian salad made with such a nutritional powerhouse!
If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you’ll know that I love honey-mustard sauce. I use it on chicken, salmon and veggies! For instance, you’ll find it here on
- Honey-Mustard Chicken with Turmeric,
- Smoky Chipotle Honey-Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs
- Chipotle Honey-Mustard Glazed Chicken Wings
- Honey-Dijon Glazed Salmon in Foil
- Roasted Carrots with Honey-Mustard Glaze
and now on this healthy broccoli salad!
Ready to go retro? Here’s what you’ll need.
Ingredients for Honey-Dijon Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds
broccoli: for a side salad for 4 to 6 people, you’ll need four cups of broccoli florets. One large crown of broccoli (without the stem) weighs about 1 pound and will yield about 4 cups of florets.
- sunflower seeds: toasting and lightly salting sunflower seeds heightens their flavour considerably. You could substitute pumpkin seeds or flaked almonds instead.
- dried cranberries: for added sweetness and colour
- cheddar cheese: sharp (or your favourite cheese)
- green onions: use two, or substitute red onion (soak in a little water first to remove the strong flavour)
- hemp seeds: a tablespoon or two for garnish
- honey-mustard dressing: extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar), Dijon mustard, honey, garlic and salt
Tips for making Vegetarian Broccoli Salad
- There’s no need to blanch the broccoli for this recipe. The broccoli florets will become slightly softened, but still crisp-tender when combined with the dressing.
- First, cut the broccoli in small bite-sized florets. Save the stems to grate for a slaw or another salad. If you chop the broccoli florets too finely, they may lose their crisp texture. Everyone loves a little crunch in their salad!
- Next, in a large bowl, combine the broccoli florets with dried cranberries, toasted sunflower seeds, green onion, and cheddar cheese. The cheese adds tons of flavour and helps to bind the salad together.
- Toss with the dressing and refrigerate until serving time.
- Finally, I like to sprinkle hemp hearts on top just before serving to add some crunch (and extra protein) to this healthy broccoli salad.
- You can make this up to a day ahead of time. It will last in the fridge for 2 – 3 days.
What to serve with Broccoli Salad
One of the best things about Broccoli Salad is that it makes a popular side dish at any time of the year. Fresh broccoli is available year round, so don’t limit this dish to summer meals. We like it with grilled chicken or fish, kabobs, chicken burgers or zucchini patties. For instance, we recently had it as one of the side dishes with Greek Lemon Chicken Kabobs.
Keep healthy and enjoy this nutritious side dish!
Honey-Dijon Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted in 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp hemp hearts, for garnish
- 1/3 cup olive oil, extra virgin
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1.5 tbsp honey
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided (1/4 tsp. for the toasted sunflower seeds, 1/4 tsp.for the salad)
- Begin by toasting the sunflower seeds in a skillet over medium heat. Heat 1 tsp oil, then add the sunflower seeds. Stir frequently and watch carefully as they burn easily. Remove from heat when they are lightly browned, then sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt.
- Next, combine honey-mustard dressing ingredients in a small jar. Shake to emulsify.
- Chop broccoli into small bite-sized florets, saving the stems to add to a slaw or for another salad.
- In a large bowl, combine broccoli with cranberries, toasted sunflower seeds, finely chopped green onion, grated cheddar cheese. Toss with honey-mustard dressing and refrigerate until serving time.
- Finally, sprinkle with hemp seeds just before serving.
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