Broccoli Crunch

Broccoli Crunch Recipe

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.

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.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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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??


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

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


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


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

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!!


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! :)


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?



I love broccoli! I could eat it every day!

This looks delicious, perfect for lunch. I'll be making this soon.


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.


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


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.


that looks just about perfect!


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.)


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?

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


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?


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

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!


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

I am so making this tonight.

I bet it would be equally yummy with Brussel sprouts, which I hate.

I'm going to try it both ways.


This is getting made tonight. Broccoli season is taking shape, and the harvest at my local farmer's market (Cambridge, ma) is better each week. I also really like the idea of adding Tempeh and just eating this as a main course. Thank you!


Where would one fine almond butter? I cook broccoli (steamed) as a staple veggie, since my extremely picky 6 year old eats it willingly. I'm always looking for ways to prepare it (for the rest of the family who WILL eat things "all mixed up") so we won't get too bored!


Lovely presentation of one of my favorite salads. Another addition, I like, is a handful of raisins or currants. They add a soft,chewy counterpoint to the crisp apple and crunchy onion and a touch of sweetness. Nice dressing combo!


I doubt it was your original objective, but thank you for providing a natural and healthier alternative to the popular potluck staple. I love broccoli salad, but often find those versions too sweet. I look forward to trying this recipe.


Heidi- this looks absolutely fabulous. The crisp apples, crunch from the broccoli, shallots, and candied nuts oooh yum.


Any suggestions for a substitution for the almond butter? Not sure that I can find it at my local big box grocery store.


i'm going to the grocery store right, now!


Now sadly I am not a friend of the little tree, but this looks delish! My two bundles of joy (aged 9 and 6) and HUGE broccoli fans and would love this. I may make this for Thanksgiving :)


ps....Heidi, I made your sweet potato mousse with the delish oil last year, it was scrumptious!!!!


Now sadly I am not a friend of the little tree, but this looks delish! My two bundles of joy (aged 9 and 6) and HUGE broccoli fans and would love this. I may make this for Thanksgiving :)


ps....Heidi, I made your sweet potato mousse with the delish oil last year, it was scrumptious!!!!


This looks fabulous, I will be making this tonight. Like Jenny my little ones will love this recipe too!


I'm a long-time reader of 101cookbooks, though this is my first comment: there are people who don't like broccoli?! Shame on them! And this looks absolutely delicious; I'm looking forward to trying it later this week.
All the best,


As Jennifer stated, this will make a great alternative to the tired broccoli-slaw-potluck-salad-that-never-dies! I would probably add a bit of red pepper to the homemade candied nuts - I love the kick of pepper with my greens. Does anyone know if sunflower seeds/pepitas take well to candying??


I love broccoli, and may try this recipe for my bring-to-work lunched. Unfortunately, my boyfriend broccoli not for the taste, but because of the texture of the little bits in the florets. Raw, steamed, boiled, stir-fried... he just won't eat the florets, and this means I eat much less broccoli than I used to. Any thoughts on recipes that use broccoli stalks or have broccoli pureed in them?


This sound yummy! And my healthier than the traditional broccoli salad that I have made (read: tons of mayo!). I can't wait to try it.

For those looking for Almond butter, I know they sell it at Trader Joes.


There are people who don't like broccoli? Isn't broccoli the only vegetable many kids will eat?? :)

Thanks for the salad recipe!


"there are people who don't like broccoli?! Shame on them!"

It is pointless to berate someone for a matter in biological taste and subjective opinion.
I hate broccoli, in all its forms. The flavor of it, whether raw, steamed, boiled to death, tossed in a light stir-fry, or very creatively teamed with apples, makes me almost want to be sick. I have not had any success with liking it, as I have had with other foods I grew up disliking, and I don't really even want to.
However, I think this recipe is quite creative, and I hope everyone who likes broccoli has a great time making and eating it. Diversity in tastes is one of the fun things about being human.


This looks so good! I love broccoli!
I just have to try this! Beautiful photos!


I'm in need of a good salad recipe for a dinner tonight and this fits the bill. I have everything on your list except the optional chives. I use almond butter in so many things, but never thought of using it in salad dressing. Wow, what a great idea. Sounds delightful!


Hm. I am thinking that the people with nut allergies/limited ability to procure almond butter could use silken tofu creamed with a hand blender and a little extra acid, lemon juice or a mild vinegar. That would be sort of like a mayo (bringing us a little closer to my family's church potlucks). It would be important to cream it so it is not lumpy, I have not found electric beaters or food processors to do the trick.
I am also very spoiled and can buy just about anything within a mile of my house, so I don't know if silken tofu would be more difficult to find than almond butter.


I already love broccoli, but my brothers don't, so I'm gonna have to try doing it this way. (We've already got most of the items needed. Yay!)


I absolutely adore broccoli and my husband absolutely detests it. I fear the only way I can sneak it to him is masked in cheese sauce (which I have yet to resort to) but I'm going to to try this. And if he doesn't eat it? More broccoli for me! Thanks Heidi!


So, I used to do prep work in a cafe where a broccoli salad, 80s-90s style, was standard. I could never figure it out, because the thing was laden with mayonnaise. To its credit, I did think the raisins in it were a great idea for sweetness, as you've said here. Though I wasn't a fan of the cafe's broccoli salad, this version I could happily recommend! I'm not a raw broccoli fan myself simply because it seems dry to me, but I love broccoli otherwise. Thanks for raising the idea of broccoli salad to a higher plane!

Erin @ Sprouted in the Kitchen

That looks so good! Except, sorry, I don't like onions, so I'll leave those out thank you!


Definitely on the menu for this week. Is this meant to be a warm or room-temp salad? I'm sure it's great either way.

Oh, and I just looked through all the soup recipes you have, and I am swooning. Good thing fall is upon us in New England, because I know what I'm cooking for the next few weeks...


This sure is a head-turner!!!

Broccoli never seemed so sensous before!

Have to try it and have it! :)

naina Lal

This sure is a head-turner!!!

Broccoli never seemed so sensous before!

Have to try it and have it! :)

naina Lal

Someone early in the comments mentioned using Tahini paste in place of almond butter. I think this would be a good substitute, and since it's made with sesame seeds, there are no nuts in it.


what is almond butter and how is it made?

annie shultz

Amazing dish -- thank you! I didn't have enough broccoli so threw in some cucumber chunks. Worked well!


Ugh, I think I'm the only one who really doesn't like broccoli here. Anyone else out there brave enough to risk 101cookbooks ridicule by admitting it?

I love every other brassica -- cauliflower, brussel sprouts, turnips, gai lan, mustard greens, cabbage, kale, etc -- but broccoli makes me sad. I don't hate it, but it's probably one of my 3 least favorite veggies (along with sundried tomatoes and roasted bell peppers).


This looks and sounds absolutely great, I can't wait to try it. I tried your vegan split pea`soup, and it was the best I've ever tasted, added with a few special seasonings, and condements of my own. I trust that this recipe will turn out scrumptious as well.


Thanks for sharing this recipe! It looks great! I love healthy food so I'm going to give this a try today! I never thought of this combination before - broccoli & crisp apples. What a wonderful salad to try for this warm fall day! ;) Your photos are fabulous. Thanks for posting such appealing pictures!


I do love broccoli already but your pictures are so good that I just want to eat the picture right off my computer screen! thanks for the great recipe! YUM

Baking Chamber

I get really run down and tend to crave broccoli and general greens (spinach etc). I usually throw something like broccoli, feta, cherry tomatoes and an olive oil and balsamic dressing. I have been tiring of this recently, but I think that I have just found a replacement! Thanks Heidi. However, the use of the word Salad seems wrong when the temperature in Dublin has dropped so much in a week that I have gone from tan lines after a long run, to really puffy coat, hat, scarf and gloves! Darned Global Warming!


it is very tastey food thanks for your recepies.and give more tips. its is very useful to us.


I like that this recipe has a McDonald's ad in the middle of it!!!

HS: Let me know if you see any more of those. Even better, send me a screen shot if you know how. Thx. -h


Love it! taste good to watch! oh how i wish brocolli is not so expensive here in the pHilippines.. But if ever ill try to cook it tom..


I've had good success with taking a vegetable peeler to the stalk of the broccoli to get the super-tough skin off...and then doing whatever with the inside. It is much more tender (but still holds enough crunch to get by in this salad).

If you don't like the little floret bits (Kirsten's BF, I'm talking to you here!!) you could always use the stalk parts exclusively. I like it shredded a la broccoli slaw, but I'm sure it would be great chopped too.

And as far as I know, broccoli just came into its peak season.

All for Veggies

made this for dinner last night. delicious. Hot Squeeze is a sweet heat sauce that makes really nice spicy-candied pecans. they would be perfect in this salad.


I think what happens with a lot of people and broccoli, is that they either leave it raw or overcook it for salads. A few good pieces of slightly crunchy, dressed broccoli is just as good (or better) than potatoes for your salad!

robin @ caviar and codfish

Thanks for the almond butter alternatives...I think I will try both the tahini and silken-tofu versions!

For those of you who love broccoli, there was a great version of a raw broccoli salad in the NYT recently, with toasted sesame oil, garlic, onions, and other good stuff. They called it "sexy, spicy broccoli," but I just called it "delicious!" (Sorry for the long link:


Oh yum! I love broccoli. I can almost taste it with those crispy shallots.


As this has been my son's favorite vegetable since he was small, when he used to mix up it's name with the city Brooklyn, NY, where we lived at the time, calling it ,"brocclyn", I can't wait to make it for him when he comes for a visit! Thanks.


Heidi, my taste buds are alerts, even by reading the recipe. I live in Turkey, and broccoli is somewhat new in here and only eaten because it is healthy. I love sweet and savory tastes together, will try this soonest. Isn't is great to share something with someone at the other end of the world?


I absolutely love broccoli... it's great to see new ways to prepare it. I usually just top it with cheese and nuke it in the microwave... foodie vice! :)


I LOVE Broccoli, and this looks beautiful, but I'll be trying this with purple cauliflower first. Why? because I have it, and because Hubby's allergic to broccoli! (He thought he hated it. Then I made it a million different ways until he loved it. Then one night after broccoli alfredo, his lips swelled up...) The non-broccoli eaters might want to try cauliflower instead.

As for the nuts, I recommend the sugar method described by Kristen, and I usually add cayenne pepper, salt, and chili powder. I've used all sorts of nuts, as well as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. I like them best when I start with raw nuts and use a mix.

Heidi, thanks for yet another beautiful recipe! (I'm hooked on grandma's grains...)


Hello Heidi, This looks delicious... anything with crispy onions can't be bad!

I have a question, nothing to do with this particular recipe... but a few days ago you posted Slurptastic Herb Noodles that I MUST try... only thing is you call for curry paste. I've only tried curry once, it was yellow and I don't think I really liked it. BUT, I really want to like it! Everyone seems to be in love with it! Also, whenever I dont like something i always give it another try every now and then, just to make sure I'm not missing something grand. So my question is, can you recommend a good curry paste for beginners? I printed your recipe for green curry paste... and will probably try that too.

Thank you so much, any/every one who has any recommendations :o)


looks incredible. just made a shopping list!!


This is right up my street!
Great food. Great blog!


yep, that's definitely on our list to prepare this weekend. Broccoli is definitely one of my favorite veggies for sure. thanks!

Dutch Oven

Ugh, you've managed to create another delectable dish. The combination of apples and almonds(or almond butter), and almonds and broccoli have to be some of my favorite food combos, but I never thought of putting all three together! Thanks for the recipe, I can't wait to try it.


wow!! looks delightful. yummy!!!


I personally think broccoli is good stuff..
Is there an alternative to the teaspoon
of honey?

James Webber

Oooh, almond butter, interesting.

I have recently come back from honeymoon in Marrakech and we discovered Amlou.

It is roasted ground almond paste in Argan oil. The oil separates on top and has a wonderfully rich nutty aroma. My initial experiments with it have been using it in a tagine to add a bit of nutty thickness and also using a bit of the oil on top for slow-roasting cherry tomatoes.

Not an easy item to get outside of Morocco, but I heartily recommend it.


Great going Swanson Madam,

really this recipe is very delicious and me and my family too will try to prepare this one immediately in our kitchen, the recipe's information is remarkably delicious.You know cashew is very good for health.And if we eat olive oil then it is too best for health, "its glaze may appear on our face also", it's look more charm on the face who is eating this sort of recipe. Because whatever we eat the reflection may appear on our face, because there is one nice word in this world "satisfaction", and such recipe surely gives the same. :)

Thanks Madam,



I just tried the broccoli crunch for lunch - wow, that was good!


I'm a poor and extremely busy college student (who follows you devoutly, by the way!) so I'm always looking for a way to prepare myself food that healthy and quick so I'm not tempted to buy fast or overly-processed foods. Yesterday on my way back from class I picked up two gorgeous heads of broccoli and some shallots and immediately threw this together. I couldn't find almond butter in the store, but in our fridge was a lonely jar of apple butter -- and the variation tasted amazing! I ate this as a meal in itself and didn't feel the least bit guilty for eating so much afterwards! Thanks Heidi. ;D

Alexa Ray

I love broccoli thank you for sharing this recipe. I stumbled to this site from
Foodista and Im glad I discovered something new :)


I absolutely loved it! The flavors in the dressing are amazing. I added a little bit of Granny Smith apple to it and the sour taste mixes very well with the lemon juice. I can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch.

Jesse Casellini

This looks like a great salad to feed adults and kids. I can't wait to make it!

Cynthia (View from the Kitchen)

Wow, I just had this for lunch and it was great! I'm going to use that dressing on other veggie mixes as well, it's surprising how different and tasty it is.


I made this last night. Awesome!!! I love broccoli salad, and this was a whole new twist. Lots of great flavors and textures. My shallots weren't really crunchy, but were very good in the mix. The dressing is amazing. That will get used on other things as well. YUM!!


I made this last night with Peanuts and peanut butter (cause i had no almonds etc) It was still really nice.


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