Recipe: Light & Easy Broccoli Salad

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In my Southern family, we grew up eating broccoli slaw that had raisins, peanuts, a sweet mayonnaise dressing, and toasted ramen noodles on top. It's a delight, which you know if you've had it. But every time I crave it now and look up a recipe, I'm turned off by the amount of mayonnaise or inclusion of the ramen noodle seasonings packet.

So I set out to modernize this retro slaw with a few fresh tweaks. The result is easy, lightened-up, and still oh-so-crunchy.

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Most of the recipes I've seen call for a bag of pre-shredded broccoli slaw. Even the recipes that called for fresh broccoli used only the stalks. And while this would be a fine way to use up stalks if you don't usually eat them, I'm all for using the tops. They shred up a bit fine, but they're perfectly delicious in this slaw.

I will say that a food processor is pretty handy in making this dish. You could finely julienne the stalks and slice the florets into tiny pieces, but it's much, much quicker with a food processor.

As for the ingredients, I skipped the ramen noodles in the name of trying to be healthier, and used almonds instead of peanuts, which added a little more crunch and a milder flavor. I also used currants instead of raisins, because I love how their smaller size meshes well with the fine texture of the slaw.

There is mayonnaise in the dressing, but not nearly as much as in most recipes we saw. (One called for a cup of mayo and a cup of sour cream — yikes. And let's not even mention the quantity of butter in Paula Deen's recipe.) It's just enough dressing to keep everything moist without making a sloppy pool at the bottom of the bowl.

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Tester's Notes

Elizabeth's recipe for broccoli slaw has aways been popular here on the site, and I loved it too! It's very quick and easy, especially with the food processor.

I did update the proportions, as her original quantity of "two heads of broccoli" for me made over 12 cups of slaw. I changed the ingredients to specify broccoli weight, to make that clearer. I also made the step of steeping and plumping the currants part of the instructions. Personally I think this is important. A quick steep in hot water will make the currants much plumper and juicier.

Faith, September 2014

Broccoli Slaw

Serves 12 (1/2-cup servings)

1/3 cup currants
2 pounds broccoli, about 1 large head
1/4 pound red onion (1/2 small onion), finely chopped
3/4 cup almonds, slivered or roughly chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper

Heat 1/2 cup water to boiling and pour over the currants in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes, then drain.

Shred the broccoli in a food processor, using the grater disk (the attachment with the holes, not the blade). In a large bowl, combine the shredded broccoli, currants, red onion, and almonds.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and a generous quantity of fresh pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt or pepper, if needed. Allow to sit for 30 minutes (or an hour in the fridge) so the flavors can mingle.

Recipe Notes

  • Quicker Slaw: If you do want to skip the broccoli shredding, substitute about 6 cups of pre-shredded broccoli slaw mix for the whole broccoli.
  • Reader Tip: We love the reader recommendation of substituting dried cranberries for the currants.

This recipe has been updated. Originally published May 2009.

Per serving, based on 12 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
149
Fat
10.6 g (16.2%)
Saturated
0.2 g (1.2%)
Trans
0 g
Carbs
12.4 g (4.1%)
Fiber
3.1 g (12.4%)
Sugars
6.8 g
Protein
3.6 g (7.3%)
Cholesterol
3.8 mg (1.3%)
Sodium
275.1 mg (11.5%)

(Image credits: Faith Durand)