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


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


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).


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

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!


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'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! Melissa


Heidi, 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, -Josh


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


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


Jess, 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.


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!


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!


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!


This sure is a head-turner!!! Broccoli never seemed so sensous before! Have to try it and have it! :)

naina Lal

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!


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


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


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