Summer is here! I don’t know about you, but around my house, that means lighter meals, outdoor grilling, and lots of light and refreshing salads. Although I love the packaged broccoli salads that you can find at Costco and other stores, I prefer my homemade Healthy Broccoli Salad instead.
Using fresh ingredients, and leaving out the sugar and mayonnaise (usually found in packaged broccoli salad) means you can enjoy the taste, without the added calories. So take my Healthy Broccoli Salad challenge and see if you don’t prefer my healthy version over the store-bought kind.
The Health Benefits of Broccoli
Broccoli is known for its numerous health benefits. It is loaded with vitamins, especially C and K. It also a good source of fiber, which not only aids in digestion, but can also help lower cholesterol levels. Let’s take a quick look at the nutrition value of one cup of raw broccoli.
- Calories: 31
- Potassium: 288 mg
- Carbohydrates: 6 g
- Fiber: 2.4 g
- Sugar: 1.5
- Vitamin A: 11%
- Calcium: 4%
- Vitamin C: 135%
- Iron: 3%
- Vitamin B-6: 10%
- Magnesium: 4%
*Based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Broccoli Salad Dressing
Don’t you hate it when you eat something that’s supposed to be healthy (like broccoli salad) but don’t reap the health benefits because of added sugars and fats that are added? Almost always it’s in the dressing. That’s why making your own dressing is definitely the way to go!
When I want to control extra added sugars found in many salad dressings, I use my Citrus Salad Dressing instead. The sweet and tangy flavors pair perfectly with broccoli. Prefer your salad sweeter? Feel free to add an additional packet of Truvia. Or alternatively, you can add more honey to the dressing before mixing in with the salad.
Broccoli Salad with Bacon
So what can take this Healthy Broccoli Salad to a whole new level? BACON! Of course, if you are a vegetarian, feel free to leave it out.
If, however, you appreciate deliciously crispy bacon, just mix-in four crumbled bacon strips into the salad before serving. Since this recipe yields four servings, that’s one strip per person. That’s how we can still get away with calling it “Healthy Broccoli Salad.”
Broccoli Salad with Grapes?
The beauty of making your own food is that you get to decide what goes into the food you’re making. It’s also an opportunity to use up ingredients that you have on hand. Grapes are just one example of what can be added to this recipe, especially if pomegranates are not in season.
You won’t want to stop there; If you don’t like blue cheese, for example, replace it with feta cheese. Although I used pumpkin seeds, the nut or seed options are endless. Some examples include pistachios, walnuts, pecans, and sunflower seeds. Instead, substitute ingredients that you do love, especially to suit your family’s taste.
Don’t like onions? Leave them out, or leave them on the side as an
Yet another idea for this broccoli salad is to roast the broccoli before tossing it in with the other ingredients. If you’ve never had roasted broccoli, you don’t know what you’re missing!
Roasting the broccoli brings out a sweeter, intense flavor. The end result is tender broccoli florets with crispy, browned edges. If you prefer a crunchy texture, you can skip this suggestion. To learn more about roasting broccoli, check out this link.
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Healthy Broccoli Salad
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- ½ medium pomegranate
- ¼ cup red onion (chopped)
- 3 T Craisins
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (peeled)
- ¼ cup Gorgonzola cheese (crumbled)
- ⅓ cup citrus salad dressing
¼ tsp. salt (optional)
- ¼ tsp. black pepper (optional)
- 4 slices crispy crumbled bacon (optional)
- Chop broccoli into small sections.
- Add to a medium-sized bowl.
- Remove seeds from half of a pomegranate and add to the broccoli.
- Add diced onion, Craisins, pumpkin seeds, and gorgonzola cheese.
- Mix in the dressing and taste to see if it needs the salt and pepper.
- Add bacon, if using.
- Serve immediately, or wait for the flavors to meld together.