You'll definitely want this 15-minute raw broccoli salad on repeat this summer. It's cold and refreshing, packed with plant-based protein, and incredibly flavorful. The best part is that there's no cooking involved.
This is not your classic broccoli salad drunk in a mayonnaise-based dressing and covered with cheddar cheese and bacon! The mix of soft and crisp textures with a tangy dressing really makes it unique and delicious. It's the perfect side dish for your BBQ parties and summer cookouts, but it also makes a great light lunch.
Salad ingredients and substitutions
- Fresh broccoli: It's a true superfood that is often underestimated in its raw form. It's actually high in water and a great source of fiber, which makes it perfect for summer salads.
- Frozen edamame beans: They are super convenient and contain 12 grams of protein per 100 grams. You can substitute them with thawed broad beans if you can't find edamame at the grocery store.
- Smoked tofu: Adds plant-based protein and smokey flavors to make the most delicious vegan broccoli salad.
- Nuts and seeds: Sliced almonds and sesame seeds add an amazing crunchy texture. You can replace them with peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or pine nuts.
- Crispy onions: They are optional but totally elevate this salad.
- Dressing ingredients: Tahini, sesame oil, tamari, garlic, and ginger remind of a zesty Asian dressing that really makes the vegetables stand out.
Great additions: red onion, ripe California avocado, spring onion, (vegan) feta cheese, and chili oil all pair beautifully with this broccoli salad.
- Chop up your florets into VERY small pieces. That's the trick to making raw broccoli taste incredible. It also allows every small piece to be covered in dressing and burst with flavor.
- Meal prep this raw broccoli salad! It stores really well and can be made days ahead of time. Perfect for quick lunches on busy days. Store the dressing separately and add it right before serving.
- Don't discard the broccoli stalks. To make them more enjoyable, I recommend peeling the thick outer layer with a vegetable peeler and then cutting them into thin slices. But be aware that the stem is more bitter, so avoid adding it to the salad if you don't like that.
STEP 1: Wash and chop the broccoli heads. Break it up into very small broccoli florets with your hands. Cut the stem lengthwise in 8 and then crosswise into thin strips. If you have a food processor, add everything in and pulse until you obtain bite-sized pieces. Finally, run everything under cold water in a colander or use a salad spinner.
STEP 2: Thaw the edamame beans according to package directions. I find thawing them in the microwave the be the quickest and easiest way (add a splash of water to a bowl with the beans, cover with a plate, and microwave at 30-second increments until thawed).
STEP 3: Cut the tofu. Slice the tofu block through the long edge. Then cut it into even 1-inch (2,5 cm) cubes. You can also make them smaller if you prefer.
STEP 4: Make the dressing. Start by mincing the garlic (I like to use a garlic press) and grating the ginger. Then, combine the tamari, sesame oil, lime juice, maple syrup, garlic, and ginger in a small bowl. Stir in the tahini at the very end.
STEP 5: Assemble the salad. Add the florets and chopped broccoli stem (if using), thawed edamame beans, tofu, sliced almonds, crispy onions, and sesame seeds to a large salad bowl.
STEP 6: Toss with half the dressing. Make sure everything is well covered, especially the tofu. Transfer to individual plates and serve with more dressing.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, raw broccoli has a crisp texture and mild flavor that is perfect for salads. It's high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium and is often considered a superfood (USDA).
Yes, the broccoli stem is actually the part that is the richest in fiber. It's crunchy but not too hard to chew when cut into thin sticks and absolutely delicious in salads. However, note that it is relatively bitter, so omit if you don't like that.
Yes, definitely. If your broccoli comes with leaves (I found that the ones at the grocery store usually got the leaves removed), discard the thick outer ones and the damaged ones. Save the tender inner leaves and slice them thinly.
Yes, you can safely eat any type of tofu in its raw form. The soybeans have already been transformed (and cooked) during the tofu production process and the tofu can therefore be eaten straight out of the package. I recommend using smoked tofu or marinating the tofu prior to eating for extra flavor.
You can keep it in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. However, I find that the ingredients will soak up most of the dressing and the salad can become a little dry. If you don't have any leftover dressing, I recommend making another batch and adding some more to revive the flavors.
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Raw Broccoli Salad
For the salad
For the dressing
- 4 tablespoons tamari sub gluten-free soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons water (remove?)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup sub agave syrup
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger sub ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 garlic clove sub ¼ teaspoon garlic powder for a milder flavor
- 2 tablespoons white tahini (4tbsp?)
- Broccoli. Wash the broccoli. Break the head into very small florets with your hands or pulse several times in a food processor. If you don't mind the bitterness of the broccoli stalk, you can add it to the salad. Peel the outer layer of the stalk and cut it into thin sticks.
- Edamame. Thaw the edamame according to package directions.
- Tofu. Cut the tofu block through the long edge, then into 1-inch (2,5 cm) cubes.
- Dressing. Crush the garlic and grate the ginger. Combine the tamari, sesame oil, lime juice, maple syrup, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl. And in the tahini and whisk until combined.
- Assembly. Add the broccoli, edamame, tofu, almond, sesame seeds, and crispy onions to a large salad bowl. Toss with half of the dressing. Then, transfer to individual plates and top with more dressing.
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