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Broccoli crunch salad in a large serving bowl.

Broccoli Crunch Salad


This broccoli salad is inspired by the broccoli salad served at Byerlys, a grocery store in my husband’s hometown in Minnesota, many years ago. It’s loaded with almonds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and quinoa. It keeps well in the fridge for days, so don’t be ahead to make it ahead of time. 

The dressing here is a buttermilk-sour cream dressing, my favorite for a classic coleslaw. If you are avoiding dairy, this salad would be great with any of these four dressings:


For the broccoli salad: 

  • kosher salt
  • 2 lbs. broccoli
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and green parts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

For the dressing: 

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Season with a teaspoon of kosher salt. Have a large sheet pan nearby as well as a slotted spoon or spider.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the broccoli: trim off the tough bottom end and discard. Cut away the florets. Cut the florets into small-ish pieces (about an inch) — think about the size you would want if you were stabbing it with a fork. Cut tender stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. For any remaining tough stalks, trim away the outer layer with a paring knife or a peeler. Grate the stalk on a box grater. (Find video guidance here or below for prepping the broccoli.)
  3. Dump the broccoli into the simmering water. Submerge it with your spoon. As soon as it’s submerged (this should take no more than 10 seconds), transfer it to the sheet pan with your slotted spoon or spider.
  4. Return the pot of water to a simmer. Add the quinoa and boil for 12-15 minutes or until you see the white tail begin to pop from the kernels. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve.
  5. Meanwhile: toast the almonds stovetop in a small skillet over low heat until evenly golden.
  6. Prepare the dressing: In a very large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk, vinegar, sugar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
  7. To the bowl with the dressing: Add the blanched, cooled broccoli, the toasted almonds, the sliced scallions, cranberries, and sunflower seeds. Toss to combine. When the quinoa is cooked and drained, add it to the bowl and toss to combine. Taste. Adjust with salt if necessary.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: broccoli, salad, quinoa, sunflower seeds, almonds