This vegetarian Honey-Dijon Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds is a classic, but this recipe, without mayonnaise, tastes even better! A healthy mayo-free broccoli salad that's always popular! Gluten-free.
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 a variety of dressings. I make this Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Sesame Miso Dressing and this Asian Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce regularly. It's much more interesting to eat broccoli in a salad than simply steamed or roasted!
This mayo-free Honey-Dijon Broccoli Salad with cranberries and sunflower seeds that I'm sharing with you today is my newest crush!
Everyone seems to love the sweet and salty contrast between 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 a while, 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-Dijon Turmeric Chicken Thighs
- 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!
🛒 Ingredients for mayo-free broccoli salad
Ready to go retro? Here's what you'll need.
- 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 hearts: a tablespoon or two for garnish and extra protein
- honey-mustard dressing: extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar), Dijon mustard, honey, garlic and salt
- There's no need to blanch the broccoli for this recipe. The broccoli florets will become slightly softened, but will still be 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 honey-Dijon 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.
👍🏼 Helpful Tips
If you cut the broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces, it will absorb more of the dressing.
Buy broccoli on the stalk or broccoli crowns. It will be fresher than pre-cut broccoli and will have much more flavour.
Make ahead! If you make it a day in advance or the night before, the honey-Dijon dressing has a chance to blend into the ingredients. You'll find the cranberries become even plumper, too!
⏰ Make ahead!
You can make this healthy broccoli salad with cranberries ahead of time. It will last for 3-4 days in the fridge.
🍽 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. While it's a great choice for summer picnics and potlucks, fresh broccoli is available year-round. Don't limit this dish to summer meals.
You can make it a meal! Top a bowl of this salad with grilled meats or shrimp or your favourite plant-based meat substitute.
I like it with these Blackberry-Glazed Chicken Thighs or this Bourbon maple-glazed salmon, Japanese yakitori skewers, or zucchini patties. For instance, I recently had it as a side dish with Greek Lemon Chicken Kabobs.
Keep healthy and enjoy this nutritious honey-Dijon broccoli salad one day this week! When you make this salad, please leave a comment and a rating! I love hearing what you've made. Thanks in advance!
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🗒 More healthy salad recipes
This post was originally published in 2019. It has been updated with new information to make it more helpful!
Honey-Dijon Broccoli Salad with Cranberries
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted in 1 teaspoon oil
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon hemp hearts, for garnish
- Begin by toasting the sunflower seeds in a skillet over medium heat. Heat 1 teaspoon 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 ¼ 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 hearts just before serving.