If you are looking for a healthy high-protein broccoli salad without the cheese, vinegar, sugar, bacon, or mayonnaise of most broccoli salads, then you’re in luck!Jump to Recipe
My recipe contains only healthy, nutrient-dense ingredients, like red apple, fresh lemon, blended sunflower and sesame seeds, ginger, fresh herbs, and olive oil. It is completely vegan as well.
The broccoli in this salad is combined with either quinoa or orzo pasta to add bulk, and a satisfying carbohydrate.
I just love salads like this made with cooked vegetables and grains in the summer as a meal replacement, potluck dish, or snack.
This recipe makes a lot. I’d say at least ten 1-cup servings. So keep this in mind, and halve the recipe if you require a smaller amount.
Sunflower and sesame seeds are nutrient-dense and a good source of healthy fats.
The sunflower seeds are soaked to increase digestibility and add creaminess when blended.
The sesame seeds are dry roasted with optional fennel seeds to bring out a nutty flavor that combines really well with the broccoli.
I also use ginger rather than garlic, to enhance digestibility of the broccoli and keep this dish really easy on the stomach.
Fresh herbs, such as basil, cilantro or parsley, along with olive oil, fresh lemon, salt and pepper bring depth of flavor and a nice zing to the dressing.
Each one of these ingredients combines beautifully with broccoli. Have you ever tried freshly steamed broccoli with fresh lemon, salt and a bit of olive oil? Wonderful.
The fresh herbs bring the flavor to an entirely new level.
Broccoli health benefits
Did you know that broccoli is a great source of vegetarian protein and fiber?
According to Nutritionix, 1 cup of cooked broccoli contains 3.8 grams of protein and 5.2 grams of fiber.
You also get a whopping 168 percent of your recommended Vitamin C intake (based on a 2,000 calorie diet).
When you make this broccoli salad with quinoa, you get another 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
I can attest that you will feel good and satisfied after a serving of this broccoli salad.
How to make
To make this salad, you’ll cook either the quinoa or the orzo pasta first.
Next, you steam big pieces of broccoli for 10 minutes until just cooked.
You’ll combine the cooked grain with cooked and chopped broccoli in a mixing bowl, then add in shallots, chopped red apple, fresh lemon, and salt.
The final step is to make the creamy seed dressing.
Remember to soak your sunflower seeds first for 4 hours or longer. (Don’t worry. If you forget, you can quick soak with boiling water.) This makes the seeds creamier.
Then you add sesame seeds to a small skillet and dry roast until crackling and steamy. This adds a ton of flavor.
Finally, you blend the seeds with fresh herbs, olive oil, ginger, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and water.
This gives you a thick, creamy, versatile sauce to blend in with the broccoli and grain.
Finish with extra lemon and make it beautiful by decorating with chopped apple, extra herbs, and black pepper.
You’ll love this! Let me know in the comments what you think about it.
Recipe for Healthy Broccoli Salad with Seed Dressing (Vegan)
- ⅓ cup sunflower seeds, , soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta, or quinoa
- 6 cups broccoli, steamed (8 cups raw)
To start the salad
- 1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
- 1 red apple, cored and chopped
- 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the seed dressing
- ¼ cup white sesame seeds, toasted
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, (optional)
- 1 cup fresh herbs, (basil, oregano, cilantro, and or parsley)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ginger, minced (sub with garlic)
- ¾ cup water, (or more until you reach desired texture)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Decide whether you will use quinoa or orzo past. Measure out 1 cup dry quinoa and add to saucepan with 2 cups cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cover. Set a timer for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat. Cook orzo pasta according to the package instructions. Do not overcook! Drain off any excess water. Place cooked grain or pasta in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate saucepan, add washed and roughly chopped broccoli along with ½ cup water and a good pinch of salt. (This is the method to steam in the pot. You could also use a steamer if you prefer.) Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes, until the broccoli is just cooked, but still a little firm.
to start the salad
- Allow broccoli to cool for a few minutes, then chop the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and add to the mixing bowl with the quinoa or orzo pasta.
- Add finely chopped shallots, chopped apples, lemon, and salt. Mix well, and set aside while you make the dressing.
for the dressing
- Heat a small skillet on medium-low heat. Add sesame and optional fennel seeds and stir or shake frequently until the sesame seeds are lightly browned. Turn off the heat and cool for 1-2 minutes.
- Rinse soaked sunflower seeds 2-3 times in cold water, then drain completely and add them to a blender, along with the roasted seeds from the previous step, and all the remaining ingredients for the dressing. Blend on medium-high into a smooth dressing (about 1-2 minutes).
finish the salad
- Pour the dressing over the prepared ingredients and mix well.
- Garnish with black pepper, olive oil, fresh lemon, chopped apples, and fresh herbs. Enjoy!