Broccoli Crunch Recipe

A great broccoli recipe, one of my favorites! Tiny green florets, crisp apples, crunchy shallots, candied nuts and slivered red onions are tossed in a barely sweet, creamy almond vinaigrette. Add baked tofu or pan-fried tempeh and you can easily turn this side into a main course.

Broccoli Crunch

I combined all things crunchy and colorful in this broccoli salad. My hope is that I might be able to convince a few more of you to eat broccoli, not because it's good for you, but because you genuinely like the way it is prepared. I (willingly) eat broccoli three, sometimes four times a week. In this case, tiny green florets, crisp apples, crunchy shallots, candied nuts and slivered red onions are tossed in a barely sweet, creamy almond vinaigrette. Add baked tofu or pan-fried tempeh and you can easily turn this side into a main course. It's a hearty and substantial with lots of play between sweet and savory, crunch and creamy.

Broccoli Salad Recipe

You can certainly make the components ahead of time, but don't dress the salad until you are ready to serve it - preserving the various crunches.

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Broccoli Crunch Recipe

The success of this salad hinges on the broccoli. Buy good-quality bright green broccoli with tight florets. Now that you have good broccoli, do your best not to overcook it - you don't want it turning to mush.

4 -5 cups tiny broccoli florets (and chopped stalks if you like)

1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup almond butter
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water

2 small crisp apples, cut into bit-sized pieces (if you aren't going to use the apples immediately, let them sit in a bowl of water with the juice of 1/2 a lemon)

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted or candied walnuts or almonds
1/3 cup pan-fried crunchy shallots*
chives (optional)

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt as you would pasta water. Boil the broccoli just long enough to take the raw edge of - 10 or 15 seconds. Drain and immerse it in cold water (or let cold water run over it). At this point, I like to spin the broccoli in a salad spinner to get the water off, but a few good knocks against the sink in a strainer can do the trick pretty well. Set aside.

Make the dressing by sprinkling the salt over the clove of garlic. Smash the clove and chop, smash and chop - turning it into a paste. In a small bowl whisk the salty garlic paste with the almond butter, lemon juice, honey and olive oil. Add the hot water and whisk until light and creamy. Taste, make any adjustments and set aside.

In a large bowl gently toss the broccoli, apples, red onion, most of the shallots and nuts with a generous drizzle of the almond dressing. Turn out onto a platter and finish with the rest of the shallots and chives if you like. Serve family style.

Serves 4.

*Stir together the shallots, a splash of clarified butter (or olive oil) and big pinch of salt In a large skillet over medium heat. Stir every few minutes, you want the shallots to slowly brown over about fifteen minutes. Let them get dark, dark brown (but not burn), and if needed turn down the heat. Remove from skillet and onto a paper towel to cool in a single layer where they will crisp up a bit.

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This looks awesome! I love broccoli already, but I can't wait to make this to mix things up a bit. I'll probably have wait until I can get good broccoli at my farmers' market, though, because I don't think the stuff at my grocery store would do this dish justice.

Alison @ Wholesome Goodness

No convincing necessary for me... I love broccoli, and it's one of a small handful of veggies that my little one will eat! I'll be trying this recipe soon. I could eat just this for dinner and be happy, happy, happy!


Interesting...I would never have thought to put apples and broccoli together. And like VeggieGirl, I never need convincing to eat my broccoli! =)

Julie's Raw Ambition

I love broccoli, and am always looking for new recipes. This sounds delicious. I am allergic to nuts...what do you recommend as a substitute for the almond butter?


I'm VeggieGirl... I NEVER need convincing to eat broccoli, haha :0)


I have an on-again/off-again relationship with broccoli, but crisp is the way to go! Is autumn a good season for broccoli? I'm embarrassed to say I have no idea...

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

Interesting... I bought broccoli, apples, and shallots at the farmers' market this weekend without any real plan. And now this! I think I know what I'm making for dinner tonight! (Probably with tahini instead of the almond butter because that's what I have at home, but otherwise this looks perfect.)


that looks just about perfect!


To Tiffany— Candied walnuts are really easy. Just take some walnut halves and put them in a small skillet. Add a few tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt (sorry I don't have it measured, but you want to have enough sugar that your nuts will be reasonably coated.. usually mine are about halfway coated and that is sweet enough for me) You can add seasonings too if you like (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc) but I usually just make them plain. Stir the nuts and sugar over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes and coats the walnuts. Be sure to use a heat resistant stirring device (a silicone spatula works well) and resist any urge you have to touch the nuts with your finger (trust me on this one). Once the sugar has caramelized, dump them onto wax paper and allow them to cool completely. Then (now you can touch) break the nuts apart with your hands. Store them somewhere dry and cool. Make extra. Candied walnuts are great to have on hand for salads. I make one with spinach, dried cranberries, goat cheese, candied walnuts and poppy seed dressing that everyone loves.


no need to convince me. I love broccoli. But I'll still make this recipe.


I have never really liked broccoli. When I was a little kid my parents would serve me the same plate of broccoli night after night. I would never eat it and it would eventually be thrown away. Now that I'm older, I will tolerate it if it is pureed or chopped into unidentifiable oblivion and then covered in cheese sauce or mayonnaise. It's not that I don't want to like it. Each time I eat it, I try to like it. I am actually very annoyed by the fact that it is just about the only (real) food that I don't like. But THIS looks and sounds really good and I don't know that I have ever said that about a healthy preparation of broccoli. So, I'm going to try it and I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that this is the recipe that changes my life... or at least my dinner. If it works you'll be my hero. I'll keep you posted.


I love broccoli! I could eat it every day! This looks delicious, perfect for lunch. I'll be making this soon.


Thank you for this recipe! I can't wait to try it out. I have one question though... Do you have a recipe for making candied walnuts? Thanks!


I can't imagine people not liking broccoli--I truly love it and also eat it frequently (as well as chocolate, cookies, etc. . . . ). This salad looks terrific and is one I will definitely try out! :)


I love broccolis! I discovered recently that a lot of people dislike broccoli becasue they have had it boiled, or in a bad context anyway. Get people to try a steam floret, maybe sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, and they soon change their mind! (well, obviously we won't have a 100% success rate there!) Aha, soon, we will convince the world that broccolis are gorgeous!!


This looks delicious. There is a really good recipe for a broccoli salad in the Ottolenghi cook book (which you have cooked from previously on this site) - crunchy broccoli combined with the kick of chillis, sounds a little strange but it is their most popular salad at their stores in London (I know because I buy it all the time!)

Gourmet Chick

This is the kind of salad I really love! And the photos are beautiful as always. Thank you Heidi!


I already love broccoli, but there is no doubt this would make me love it even more. What a perfect salad for Fall!


I love broccoli! Thanks for this beautiful recipe with an accompanying, equally beautiful photo of the dish! It is exactly what I need to make for my week ahead. Heidi, I referenced your donut blog in my most recent post, you are a real talent!

Soul Chocolate

That looks delicious! And so easy to make! It's now on my list of weekend makes! Does this mean that frozen broccoli is out of the question??


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