From Summer to Fall and holiday meals, this creamy broccoli apple salad with cranberries and brussels sprouts makes the perfect side dish for any occasion.

Overhead view of a bowl of broccoli apple salad with pecans, cranberries and brussels sprouts. There is a spoon resting in the bowl.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

Sweet, crunchy and tangy, this broccoli apple salad hits all the flavour and texture notes! It features raw broccoli with apples, pecans, cranberries and brussels sprouts, all coated in a delicious creamy dressing.

This recipe is super easy to customize. You can make it with homemade oil-free mayo, use walnuts or pecans, cranberries or raisins, with or without squash, or try additional ingredients like carrot or red onion.

Take this salad along to a summer BBQ, picnic or potluck or serve it as part of your next holiday meal. With fall ingredients like brussels sprouts and butternut squash, it’s perfect for Thanksgiving, especially since it’s even better prepared in advance.

Recipe Highlights

  • Vegan, gluten-free and can be made oil-free and nut-free.
  • Easy to prepare in minutes and ready to enjoy in 30 minutes (best after chilling!).
  • Great for picnics, parties, potlucks and holidays.
  • Easy to customize with different variations and add-ins.
  • Stores well and can be made in advance.
  • Contains nutritious ingredients.

Ingredient Notes

A complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.

Diced apple, broccoli, pecans, butternut squash, shredded brussels sprouts and cranberries in bowls. Each ingredient for making this broccoli apple salad is labelled with text.

For the Broccoli Apple Salad

  • Broccoli: Make sure you use crisp, fresh broccoli for the best result.
  • Butternut Squash: The squash is optional but adds a yummy, colourful twist to classic broccoli salad. The squash can be roasted or steamed.
  • Brussels Sprouts: Make sure you slice these very thin. You can use a food processor, sharp knife or mandolin.
  • Apple: Use a crisp green apple such as Granny Smith.
  • Cranberries: Use any dried cranberries you enjoy. Fruit-juice sweetened are great if you can find them. These can be substituted with any variety of raisins.
  • Pecans: Use raw or dry-roasted pecans or substitute them with walnuts or chopped almonds. For a nut-free option, you can replace the pecans with sunflower seeds.
Mayonnaise, salt and pepper, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and dijon mustard in small dishes. Each ingredient is labelled with text.

For the Dressing

  • Mayonnaise: Use your favourite store-bought vegan mayo or try the oil-free tofu mayo recipe.
  • Maple Syrup: This can be substituted with sugar or agave syrup.
  • Dijon Mustard: Any variety of dijon mustard or wholegrain mustard works well here.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This can be substituted with fresh lemon juice or regular vinegar.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Quick Note: Butternut squash is optional but a nice addition, especially if you’re making this salad during the fall months or for a holiday meal.

If you’d like to add the squash, get that started first. Prepare the squash by peeling and removing the seeds. Cut the squash into cubes.

3 cups of peeled and cubed butternut squash on a cutting board with a knife.

If you’re roasting the squash, preheat the oven to 400 F. Evenly spread the cubes of squash on a baking pan with 1 tsp oil and some salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast the squash until fork tender. This should take 20-25 minutes.

If you want to steam the squash, bring 1-inch of water to a boil in a saucepan with a steamer basket. Add the squash, cover and steam for about 15 minutes. Once the squash is cooked, set aside to cool.

Cubes of roasted butternut squash on a baking tray.

While the squash is cooking, mix up the dressing ingredients until completely smooth and combined.

Creamy mayo-based dressing for broccoli salad mixed up in a small bowl with a spoon.

Mix all of the salad ingredients up in a large mixing or serving bowl then add the dressing and toss until all the ingredients are coated in the dressing.

Creamy mayonnaise dressing being poured over a broccoli apple salad in a salad bowl.

Once it’s all mixed up, pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the broccoli to soften up as it soaks up the dressing and for all the flavours to mix together. After that, it’s ready to enjoy!

Overhead close up of a bowl of broccoli apple salad with pecans, cranberries, butternut squash and brussels sprouts. There is a spoon resting in the bowl.

Variations & Additions

  • Try grated carrot instead of or in addition to the shredded brussels sprouts.
  • Add up to 1/2 cup diced red onion for tangy crunch.

FAQ’s

Can you make broccoli apple salad without nuts?

Yes. To make this salad without nuts, omit the pecans and add 1/2 cup sunflower seeds.

Can you make broccoli apple salad without mayo?

Yes. To make this salad without mayo, use plain Greek yogurt (dairy or or any thick plain plant-based yogurt) instead of mayo.

Alternatively, use the recipe for homemade tofu “mayo” and use that to replace the mayo in the recipe.

Tofu Mayo Recipe

For an oil-free salad dressing, you can make this oil-free tofu mayo recipe to use in the dressing:

  • 250 g medium tofu
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp water (add enough water to blend easily and achieve a creamy consistency)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Place all of the ingredients in a blender. Process it for 1 min, until smooth and creamy. Season it with additional salt to taste. For the best flavor, allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using it in the recipe.

Note that you’re using this to replace the mayo and still adding the other dressing ingredients once this is prepared.

Broccoli apple salad with cranberries, pecans and brussels sprouts in a salad bowl with a spoon.

Storing Instructions

  • Can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • You can wash and chop the broccoli 1-2 days in advance and store it in the fridge.
  • The squash can be cooked 1-2 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
  • This recipe is not suitable for freezing.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review.

Print
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Broccoli apple salad with cranberries, pecans and brussels sprouts in a salad bowl with a spoon.

Broccoli Apple Salad with Cranberries

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Tangy, crunchy and slightly sweet broccoli apple salad with cranberries, brussels sprouts and pecans that makes a delicious side dish for summer, parties and holidays.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Salad

  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped butternut squash, optional
  • 1 cup shaved Brussels sprouts
  • 1 green apple, cored and diced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup pecan halves

For the Dressing

  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise (or see post for oil-free tofu mayo)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook Squash: If you’re adding squash, peel, remove the seeds and chop into cubes. Roast or steam the squash until fork-tender (see notes) then set aside to cool.
  2. Make Dressing: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. 
  3. Prepare Salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss together the broccoli, cooked butternut squash, brussels sprouts, apple, cranberries, and pecans. 
  4. Combine: Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well until all of the ingredients are coated in the dressing.
  5. Chill: Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

Notes

Roasting Squash: Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread cubes on a baking tray and add 1 tsp oil, salt and pepper and mix. Roast for 20-25 minutes until fork tender. 

Steaming Squash: Bring 1-inch water to a boil in a saucepan with a steaming basket. Add squash, cover and steam for 12-15 minutes until tender.

Store: Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8th of recipe
  • Calories: 225
  • Sodium: 348 mg
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 3 g

Keywords: broccoli apple salad, broccoli cranberry salad