This Easy Broccoli Salad With Oil-Free Tahini Dressing is a balanced, high-protein meal all by itself. Make it ahead for dinner, or pack it for lunch. You can also refrigerate this salad and enjoy it for up to 4 days. (Gluten-free)
Practical, healthy, and delicious, this chopped broccoli salad has it all. Chickpeas and tahini pack in protein and fiber, almonds add a delicious crunch, and there is a welcomed hint of sweetness from the dried cranberries to bring it all together. A creamy, crunchy and delectable meal.
8 budget-friendly salad ingredients. Prep the broccoli, peppers, and green onion ahead of time and this dish comes together quickly.
5 budget and pantry-friendly ingredients. This creamy oil-free tahini dressing takes just a few minutes to make.
See recipe card for quantities.
Cut the heads of the broccoli into florets. (Save the stems to add to a soup or stew.) Place the florets into the canister of a food processor.
Make the oil-free dressing. Mix the tahini, tamari, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Grate the garlic into the bowl using a microplane or fine grater. Add maple syrup to taste, and water until the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the dressing to taste. If there is any remaining, refrigerate for up to 4 days.
- Carrots - replace half of the bell pepper with diced carrots
- Almonds - Substitute with chopped nuts or seeds as desired. Toasting nuts makes them crunchier and enhances their nutty flavor. Its is worth taking this extra step if you have time.
- Green onions - use finely diced red onions instead for a slightly sharper and spicier flavor
- Tamari - use gluten-free tamari for a gluten-free salad
- Fresh herbs - fresh basil and cilantro also work well in this recipe
It is worth investing in a good quality food processor. Research the brands with the best reviews and purchase the most highly rated option within your budget. I use mine frequently for chopping vegetables, making hummus, pesto, falafels, pasta sauces, and more.
This salad tastes even better the next day, once the broccoli has had more time to soak up the dressing. If you plan on having leftovers, save some of the toasted almonds to add right before serving for an additional crunch. Refrigerate any remaining salad in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
💡 Top tip
Raw broccoli tends to have a slightly bitter taste and crumbly texture. However, the creamy oil-free tahini dressing masks that bitterness, and turns the broccoli creamy. If you still prefer to blanch the florets beforehand, it is easy to do. See FAQ instructions below.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add a single layer of nuts. Do not add oil–the nuts have their own oils. Stir frequently until they turn golden brown and aromatic. Pay close attention as they burn quickly. All shelled nuts can be toasted.
Yes! It is fine to dress the salad ahead of time. The broccoli will absorb more of the dressing and become even more flavorful. For a crunchier salad, add the almonds (or nuts) right before serving.
Raw broccoli works well in this salad, but you can blanch it beforehand if you prefer. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and place the cut florets inside the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove them with a slotted spoon, and plunge into a large bowl of ice water for 1 minute, or until cool. Drain and pat them dry using a tea towel before pulsing in the food processor.
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Broccoli Salad With Oil-Free Tahini Dressing
- 2 medium heads broccoli raw, cut into florets (about 10 cups)
- 30 ounces chickpeas (2 15-ounce cans) drained and rinsed
- 2 large bell peppers small dice
- 4 green onions thinly sliced
- ⅔ cup sliced almonds or slivered, toasted (optional)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries or tart cherries
- 10 large mint leaves chopped
- ½ cup minced parsley
For the oil-free tahini dressing:
- ⅔ cup tahini
- 2 ½ tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (preferably low sodium)
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus more to taste (about 1 large lemon)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (optional)
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Rice the florets: Place the broccoli florets in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the broccoli resembles grains of rice (about 3 to 4 times). Transfer them to a large bowl.
- Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, mix the tahini, tamari, lemon juice, and Dijon (if using). Grate the garlic into the bowl using a microplane or fine grater. Add maple syrup to taste. Add water until the desired consistency (about one-half cup). Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice to taste.
- Mix to combine: Transfer the chickpeas, peppers, green onion, almonds, dried cranberries, mint, and parsley to the bowl with the broccoli. Add the desired amount of dressing and stir to combine.
- Raw broccoli works well in this salad, but you can blanch it beforehand if preferred. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and place the cut florets inside the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove them with a slotted spoon, and plunge into a large bowl of ice water for 1 minute, or until cool. Drain and pat them dry using a tea towel before pulsing in the food processor.
- Substitute canned chickpeas with 3 cups cooked.
- Toasting the almonds enhances their nutty flavor, and makes them crunchier. It's optional but worth it! Place the nuts in a dry skillet. Heat over medium heat until golden and fragrant. Keep a close eye on them as they burn quickly.
- Substitute almonds for chopped nuts, or seeds of your choice.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an ESTIMATE only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.