Broccoli Apple Salad

A dreamy broccoli apple salad made from all-star ingredients. Bright broccoli florets, crisp apples, crunchy fried shallots, candied nuts and slivered red onions are tossed in a honey-kissed, creamy, almond dressing.

Broccoli Apple Salad

All things crunchy and colorful are combined in this broccoli apple salad. And it’s a beauty! Bright broccoli florets, crisp apples, crunchy shallots, candied nuts and slivered red onions are tossed in a barely sweet, creamy almond dressing.

broccoli apple salad drizzled with dressing on a blue plate

This is a hearty and substantial salad with lots of play between the sweet of the apple, the savory shallots, and the crunch of the candied walnuts and crisp, flash-boiled broccoli. It’s the sort of thing that is welcome on just about any table - holiday, picnic, Tuesday night, or desk at work. I if you’re on the look out for feel-good lunch ideas, I also love this broccoli salad as a bento component.

ingredients for broccoli salad including walnuts, chives, apples and red onions arranged on a counter

Make Ahead Plan

With a bit of planning, this recipe comes together quickly. You can make most of components ahead of time, but, pro-tip, don't dress the salad until you are ready to serve it. This preserves the various crunches. Make the almond butter dressing up to a few days in advance. Same goes for the crispy shallots. If you are going to do the version with candied walnuts, those will hold in an air-tight container for weeks. Beyond that you’re simply boiling broccoli and slicing apples.

all the ingredients for broccoli apple salad in a metal bowl readdy to be tossed

Broccoli Salad Variations

  • Make it a Main Dish: Add caramelized tofu, pan-glazed tempeh, or spicy tempeh crumble (on top) to turn this into a main course.

  • Ginger Carrot Broccoli Salad: Swap out the creamy almond butter dressing in the recipe below, and use this ginger carrot dressing instead.

  • Broccoli Apple Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing: Swap out the creamy almond butter in the recipe below and use this spicy ranch dressing in this wedge salad recipe instead.

  • Broccoli Apple Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing: In this version, swap out the almond butter and swap in peanut butter.

broccoli apple salad drizzled with dressing on a blue plate with a large serving spoon

More Broccoli Recipes

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Broccoli Apple Salad

5 from 2 votes

The success of this salad hinges on the broccoli. Buy good-quality, bright green broccoli with tight florets. Now, do your best not to overcook it. You don't want it to stay crisp and bright. As far as substitutions go, if you don’t have almond butter on hand, peanut butter is an easy swap. And if you don’t have time to make candied walnuts, toasted walnuts are just fine! Lastly, if you aren't going to use the apples immediately after chopping, or if you’re going to pack this into a lunch, let the apples sit in a bowl of water plus the juice of a lemon. This will help to prevent browning - drain completely before using.

  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 garlic clove
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 apples, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts or toasted walnuts
  • 1/3 cup pan-fried crunchy shallots*
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 4-6.

*Thinly slice peeled shallots razor thin, then place in a small saucepan. Add enough oil to coat the shallots well. The shallots should be swimming in oil, but not entirely submerged. Cook slowly, over medium heat, until shallots are deeply browned and fragrant. Use a strainer to remove shallots, transferring to a paper towel to cool. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Keep the shallot oil for another use.

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
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Recipe Rating


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


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

Cynthia (View from the Kitchen)

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!!


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 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

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

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

Dutch Oven

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! :)


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.


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


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

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