May 26, 2019

Healthy Broccoli Salad (Paleo, Dairy-Free, Gluten Free)

This Healthy Broccoli Salad is the perfect summer side dish. Crisp broccoli, crunchy sunflower seeds, sweet cranberries, and smokey bacon all come together in this delicious recipe. The sweet and tangy dressing uses a high quality mayo and all natural maple syrup for a healthier twist on a classic side. Serve this broccoli salad at your next BBQ or party. Your whole family will love this simple yet flavorful recipe!

Broccoli Salad (Paleo, Dairy-Free, Gluten Free)


a go-to summer side recipe: healthy gluten-free and dairy-free broccoli salad

Did anyone else grow up eating broccoli salad? I asked my husband if he’d ever had broccoli salad. Y’all, he just told me he has never had broccoli salad and I feel like I don’t even know the man. Like, what?!

Ok, maybe that’s dramatic but, seriously broccoli salad was a staple in my house. My mom used to make it all of the time when I was growing up and it was one of my favorite side dishes.

I have very fond memories of my mom making broccoli salad for cookouts, baby showers, or church events and being super excited when she put a little extra salad aside just for our family. Anyone else’s mom set aside a little extra goodness for the family?

Broccoli salad is the perfect summer side dish recipe. It’s sweet and just a little tangy which pairs perfectly with all of the delicious meats that come off the grill at cookout and family BBQs.

Even though it’s a great side dish, broccoli salad is also pretty hearty on it’s own. The smokey bacon and crunchy sunflower seeds pack this salad with flavor so it could honestly stand completely on it’s own. I’ve been known to eat a bowl of broccoli salad all by itself. Don’t tell anyone, ok?

Broccoli Salad (Paleo, Dairy-Free, Gluten Free)

healthy broccoli salad ingredients

Broccoli Salad (Paleo, Dairy-Free, Gluten Free)

I love my mom’s broccoli salad recipe but, I wanted to tweak it just a little to make it a bit healthier and made only from real food ingredients.

My mom’s recipe calls for white sugar to sweeten the dressing, but this healthier broccoli salad recipe calls for all natural maple syrup instead.

I love using maple syrup in the recipe to provide the sweetness and, honestly, you won’t even be able to tell the difference.

To make this healthy broccoli salad recipe, you’ll need:

  • fresh crisp broccoli florets

  • smoky bacon

  • red onion

  • roasted and salted sunflower seeds

  • sweet dried cranberries

  • creamy mayo

  • sweet maple syrup

  • tangy apple cider vinegar

You’ll also notice that I swayed from tradition a bit and used dried cranberries instead of raisins in this recipe.

Traditional broccoli salad uses raisins as the dried fruit, but, fun fact about me…I hate raisins. I always picked around the raisins when I ate my mom’s broccoli salad and left a plate full of raisins for the trash.

This recipe uses dried cranberries which actually work perfectly. They have a little bit sweet and tang that pairs really well with the other ingredients in this recipe. If you’ve never tried them in your broccoli salad before, I highly suggest it!

Be sure to give this recipe a try the next time you’re responsible for bringing a side dish to a summer party. This beautiful and easy recipe is sure to be a crowdpleaser!

Broccoli Salad (Paleo, Dairy-Free, Gluten Free)

if you love this healthy broccoli salad recipe, here are few other salad recipes you have to try!


Healthy Broccoli Salad (Paleo, Dairy-Free, Gluten Free)

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • 2 c broccoli florets, chopped in small to medium pieces

  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces

  • 1/2 c dried cranberries

  • 1/2 c roasted and salted sunflower seeds

  • 1/4 c finely diced red onion

  • 1/2 c mayonnaise (this one is my favorite)

  • 1/4 c maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

  • small pinch of salt (plus more to taste)


  1. First, make the dressing. Combine the mayonnaise, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, and the pinch of salt. Stir until smooth.
  2. Next, in a large mixing bowl, combine the broccoli, dried cranberries, red onion, and cooked bacon. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and stir until everything is well combined.

  3. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for two hours before serving. Enjoy!

Keywords: healthy broccoli salad, broccoli salad, dairy free broccoli salad, gluten free broccoli salad


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Recipe rating

  1. So yummy! I had some kohlrabi to use up so I swapped that for the broccoli and it was so good! Always happy with every recipe I try of yours, thanks for all the delicious meals!!!

  2. I grew eating another version of broccoli salad at church potlucks, but there are a few key ingredient swaps this recipe calls for that make me feel better about the dressing. I also love using cranberries instead of the raisins that I was used to!

  3. So delicious! I was a little nervous when I saw maple syrup and mayo, but omg that combo with the vinegar is delish! A great alternative to the everyday salad! Thank you so much!

  4. This recipe is SO GOOD. Broccoli salad is the perfect side to keep in my fridge and have along with a sandwich or some other entree (but honestly I could probably just eat a big bowl of this for a meal if I let myself!).

  5. I made this salad for a family BBQ and it was a huge hit! I found that it made a lot of dressing so I’ll make slightly less than it calls for in the future. It was also a little bit too sweet for me so I’ll use less maple syrup, but that’s all personal preference. I’ll definitely be making it again! Thanks for a great recipe!

  6. This recipe tastes so good I can’t believe it’s healthy! I’m putting this in my recipe rotation!

  7. This salad is so delicious! Very easy to make and tastes great. I will be adding this to my regular rotation. Thanks!

  8. This recipe is so delicious and so easy! Perfect summer salad, and I could drink the dressing it’s so good!!

  9. Making this tonight to take to a cookout this weekend! So excited to give it a shot!! I LOVE the combination of crunchy broccoli, salty sunflower seeds, and sweet cranberries!

  10. This salad is terrific! Great flavor combo! I’ve made it several times & people always love it!

  11. I love this recipe so so much! When I’m on a round I will swap the cranberries for dried currents as compliment cranberries are hard to find. Thanks for sharing!!

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