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broccoli cauliflower apples avocado salad in bowl
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5 from 6 votes

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Avocado Dressing

Broccoli and cauliflower salad with avocado dressing makes a wonderful healthy side dish for any meal, potluck or buffet. Great textures and fresh flavors.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 8
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 pound broccoli and cauliflower combined (to make 4 cups chopped)
  • 2 apples (no need to peel)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds, pecans or walnuts
  • Garnish (optional); 3 tablespoons finely chopped red pepper

Avocado Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled with pit discarded
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs, Note 1
  • 1 green onion (or 2 small thin ones)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, or more to taste (or honey)
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon (lemon juice and zest) (or 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon minced or grated garlic (1 garlic clove)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons water (or more to get consistency you like)

Instructions

  • BLANCH BROCCOLI (optional but recommended): Rinse broccoli florets or head under water, place on microwavable plate or separate bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or plate. Microwave for 2 minutes to blanch it. Then hold under cold water to stop cooking process and lock in vibrant color. You can blanch cauliflower florets at the same time if you like.
  • CHOP VEGETABLES: Chop broccoli, cauliflower and apples into small pieces and place in large bowl. Add any optional add-ins you like, Note 2. Set aside.
  • MAKE THE AVOCADO DRESSING: Place all dressing ingredients into a blender or processor. You can also use an immersion blender. Process until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust, adding more lemon, salt, maple syrup etc. if needed. Stir in as much water as you need to get the consistency you like e.g. 2-3 tablespoons. Note 3 for variations and substitutes.
  • COMBINE TO MAKE SALAD: Add most of dressing to fresh veggies and apples and mix to combine well. Add rest of dressing if needed. Spoon into a serving bowl and add toasted nuts and other garnish as you like. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Herbs options: Use any combination you like - basil, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, dill, mint. If you don't have fresh herbs (or not enough), substitute with dried herbs (1/2 cup fresh herbs = 2 tablespoons dried or 1 Tablespoon fresh = 1 teaspoon dried).
  2. Variations and add-ins for salad: 
    • add crispy bacon pieces
    • garnish with chopped red pepper for color
    • skip the cauliflower
    • for more texture, add jicama slivers, chopped water chestnuts or crunchy sunflower seeds.
    • use purple grapes (cut in half) instead of apples
    • add cranberries or finely chopped red onion
  3. Variations for avocado dressing
    • Flavors: For Mexican flavors, try a dash of cumin and lime (instead of lemon). For more tang, add a couple of tablespoons of sour cream or Greek yogurt. Add some heat with red pepper flakes.
    • Substitutes: Instead of lemon, use apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  4. Make Ahead: I prefer this salad fresh the same day as the dressing gets absorbed by the fruit and veggies, making it a bit drier. But it can be stored in an airtight container for a day or two without turning brown.
 
 
Nutrition values are estimates and include the veggies, apples, all the dressing and almonds. 
Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 459mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 747IU | Vitamin C: 64mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg