Revolutionary Broccoli Salad (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian)

Revolutionary Broccoli Salad (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian)
broccoli salad

If you follow me on Instagram or Tik Tok, you know that I’ve started a Hungry Lady Salad series and this means LOTS of delicious, healthy, filling salads are coming your way.  Perhaps you’ve tried the Tuscan Kale Chopped Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing.

That salad now has over 5 Million views on Tik Tok, so I’m guessing there’s a good chance you have!

This is not your Aunt Mary’s broccoli salad.   

No offense, Aunt Mary.

Admittedly, I’ve never been a big fan of traditional broccoli salad made with raw broccoli and a mayonnaise based dressing. This Revolutionary Broccoli Salad made me start thinking of broccoli salad in a whole new way.

“Revolutionary Broccoli Salad” is a big claim, and not one I take lightly.  Here’s why I stand by that:

  1. Instead of serving the broccoli raw, we are blanching it for a mere 5-10 seconds first.  This doesn’t cook the broccoli, it simply softens the texture and flavor, allowing it to soak up the other flavors and resulting in a bright green color.  Beautiful.
  2. We are making it a full meal in a bowl by adding quinoa so you get veggies, grains, and healthy fats all in one bowl.
  3. Dried cherries!  Raisins are traditional, but I like the tart/sweet flavor of cherries in this so much more.
  4. We often think of Broccoli Salad as a summer barbecue dish, this salad is much more versatile and is a perfect lunch or side any time of year.
broccoli salad
broccoli salad

what else can i use?

  • If you don’t have quinoa, you can use farro or even rice in place of it.  If you don’t eat grains, simply leave it out!
  • In addition to dried cherries, dried apricots or raisins are great in here.
  • No scallions?  Red onion or shallot works.
  • I use a very sharp cheddar in this salad, you want a lot of flavor.  Feel free to leave out the cheese if you’re dairy-free.  It will still be delicious.
  • Hemp seeds are not absolutely necessary, so you can omit if you can’t get your hands on some or don’t want to be bothered.  I like the texture and think it does add to the dish, however!
broccoli salad

I tend to eat this salad in a couple of ways:

As a complete lunch, all throughout the week

Serving as both the grain and vegetable side with meat.  My Miso Teriyaki Chicken, which can also be made under the broiler, and Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Persimmon + Rosemary are ideal matches.

If you make this Revolutionary Broccoli Salad, and I hope you do, please leave me a comment here or post to Instagram and tag me.  I love to hear your feedback and share your creations!

broccoli salad

Revolutionary Broccoli Salad (Gluten Free, Vegetarian)

This is not your typical Broccoli Salad: With quinoa, cherries, and more it's sweet, tart, chewy, and crunchy and will keep all week in the fridge.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Lunch, Salad, Sides
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people
Calories 458 kcal


  • small saucepan


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 large heads of broccoli, stalk and ends trimmed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, halved if they are large
  • 4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, diced small
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup sliced, toasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper


  • Fill a small, lidded pot and a large lidded pot with heavily salted water and bring to a boil.
  • Cut the broccoli heads into small florets and the stalk into 1/2 inch pieces and reserve,
  • Cook quinoa in the small pot for 10-13 minutes until cooked. We are cooking this like pasta, so don't worry about water to quinoa ratio.
  • Drain quinoa, put back in the pot and cover top of pot with a paper towel. This will help the quinoa get fluffy rather than soggy as it cools since the paper towel absorbs water.
  • When the large pot of water is boiling, blanch all of the broccoli for 5 seconds only, then strain the whole pot into a colander. Run cold water over the broccoli to cool it quickly and keep it from continuing to cook.
  • In a large bowl combine quinoa and broccoli. The quinoa will still be slightly warm, so now is the time to add the olive oil, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • Add in cherries, cheddar, scallions, almonds, hemp seeds, and a few cracks of black pepper.
  • Let sit, covered, for at least 30 minutes before serving, or refrigerate and enjoy all week!


Calories: 458kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 19gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 142mgPotassium: 785mgFiber: 9gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1465IUVitamin C: 143mgCalcium: 259mgIron: 4mg
Keyword broccoli, chicken salad, healthy, quinoa, vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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12 thoughts on “Revolutionary Broccoli Salad (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian)”

  • This looks delicious!! I love your recipes. I am allergic to cherries, do you think I could substitute dried cranberries in this recipe, or would that be weird? šŸ˜€

  • 5 stars
    Iā€™m not a huge broccoli fan but this recipe is fantastic- easy to make and I love that it will last for a day or two in the fridge (I highly doubt that I will have any leftovers!)

  • 5 stars
    This was super easy to make and is a perfect meal all by itself. So yummy! I will definitely be making this again.

  • 5 stars
    DELICIOUS!!! OMG. My family of 4 finished the entire thing in one sitting and my teen son was like WHY HAVE YOU WAITED 13 YEARS TO MAKE THIS? He can’t even stand the smell of broccoli. I am obsessed. So easy and simple. Thank you!

    • This is the ultimate seal of approval, Pauline! It made my day, thank you for taking the time to share it!

      • I am going to try all of your salads! What a great way to get veggies in without the disapproving stares at the dinner table lol. I think I know the answer but just to be sure — 458 calories is per serving correct? Thanks! Keep the receipts coming. You are one of my favorite creators!

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