Raw broccoli salad with maple-mustard dressing

A delightful new way to enjoy a favourite vegetable!

This delicious dish is super for summer cookouts and picnics because it doesn’t contain mayonnaise so it is safe to enjoy outdoors in hot weather. Many broccoli salads call for the florets to be blanched (par-cooked) before assembling the salad but that can make the resulting dish a little soggy, in my experience. Instead, tossing the broccoli and dressing at least 30 minutes before serving means the broccoli will become nicely tenderized thanks to the vinegar in the dressing. And because there’s no cooking required, it means you can pull this beauty together in about 15 minutes, including chopping time. We’re not fans of raw onion, hence the instructions to pickle the red onion before adding; we find the tangy flavour of the pickled onions makes a nice contrast to the sweetness of the dressing. You can, of course, simply add raw red onion if you prefer. This salad is equally delicious made with cauliflower or sliced Brussels sprouts.


For the pickled red onion:

  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) cider or rice vinegar

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) cider or rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) each salt and pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil

For the salad:

  • 4 cups (1 L) broccoli florets, cut very small
  • 1/3 cup (60 mL) cooked, crumbled bacon or vegan ‘bacon’ (coconut or carrot)
  • 1/3 cup (60 mL) chopped dried apricots (or cherries or cranberries)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) toasted slivered almonds (or sunflower seeds)


  • Pickle the chopped red onion by placing it in a small, heatproof bowl. Warm the rice or cider vinegar in a small saucepan or the microwave until it is hot but not boiling. Pour the hot vinegar over the chopped onion and toss the mixture with two forks and set aside to pickle the onions, tossing again every 5 minutes or so.
  • Make the dressing by putting the cider vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, Dijon and maple syrup in a 1 cup (250 mL) jar with a tight lid. Cover the jar and shake vigorously to blend. Add the olive oil and shake again. Taste and add a pinch more salt and pepper if desired.
  • Drain the pickled red onion.
  • At least 30 minutes before serving, put the onion and the broccoli florets in a large serving bowl. Drizzle the dressing over top and toss gently until broccoli is evenly coated.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (can be made up to 24 hours in advance).
  • When ready to serve, sprinkle bacon, dried fruit and sunflower seeds over top.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

6 thoughts

  1. Fantastic recipe! It is delicious – especially washed down with the gin & tonic slushy! Thanks, Paula😁

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