5 Ingredients: Broccoli Salad

A picnic staple in the South, mayonnaise-drenched and bacon-laden broccoli salads can be overflowing with fat and calories. This salad can be satisfying and super-nutritious when you focus on the basic ingredients.

A picnic staple in the South, mayonnaise- and bacon-drenched broccoli salad can be overflowing with fat and calories. But you don't have to banish it to cookout purgatory -- this salad can be super-nutritious (and super-satisfying) when you focus on the basic ingredients.

Broccoli Salad
Serves: 6
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
5 cups chopped broccoli (florets and stems)
2 tablespoons roasted and salted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raisins
Greek Yogurt

Replace mayo with thick and creamy Greek yogurt -- you’ll boost the protein content and won’t miss the fat.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Instead of the traditional dressing made from mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar, mix yogurt with whatever vinaigrette you have on hand. I make a batch of homemade dressing on Sunday and use it all week long. An olive oil-based dressing adds heart-healthy fat instead of the saturated kind you’ll find in mayo.


The star of this salad is nutrient-packed broccoli. One cup has only 35 calories but is full of vitamin C, fiber, vitamin K and folate. I used fresh baby broccoli from my CSA box, but you can use store-bought broccoli or  even a bag of pre-shredded broccoli slaw.

Sunflower Seeds

Traditional broccoli salad recipes call for sunflower seeds to add a little crunch. They’ll add more fiber, protein and heart-healthy fat, too. Go for the roasted and salted kind -- they are only lightly salted and have the most flavor.


Another classic ingredient, a few raisins add sweetness and texture. It may seem like a weird combo of ingredients but they come together to create a delicious and unique side dish.

A note about bacon: A hint of salty bacon would certainly be a welcome addition to this salad. Since 3 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon would only add 22 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per serving, it could be used as an optional sixth ingredient.


In a small bowl whisk yogurt and vinaigrette until smooth. Add a tablespoon of water to thin it out slightly.  Season with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper; set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine broccoli, sunflower seeds and raisins. Top with dressing and toss well. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to marry.

Nutrition info per serving (1 cup)
Calories: 86
Total Fat:  3 grams
Saturated Fat: 0 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 12 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Sodium:  225 milligrams
Cholesterol:  0 milligrams
Fiber:  2 grams

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

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