Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad

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Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad: A delicious, simple, and quick dish with broccoli, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, feta, almonds, and creamy lemon-poppy seed dressing. Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad in a bowl.

Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad Recipe

Every summer, I look forward to BBQs, and if there’s a broccoli salad on the menu, my plate is always piled high with it. I live for summer salads, and broccoli salads have always been a favorite of mine. In fact, they’ve become a year-round staple in my kitchen.

When I decided to tweak my favorite poppy seed dressing and add it to my traditional broccoli salad, I knew we had a winner. Instead of just adding mayo, this lemon poppy seed dressing brings a vibrant and delicious flavor that really makes the whole dish. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Ingredients in this dish prepped out for easy assembly.

Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad Ingredients

  • Broccoli. Use the freshest broccoli available for this salad. Frozen broccoli won’t work in this recipe!
  • Sunflower seeds. Pick roasted and salted shelled sunflower seeds. They add loads of flavor without any extra effort.
  • Dried cranberries. Use the softest available dried cranberries. I like sweetened dried cranberries.
  • Sliced almonds. If you have an extra minute, toast sliced almonds by placing them in a single layer in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir constantly for 2-3 minute. This adds lots of extra flavor.
  • Feta. Totally optional, but adds a delicious creamy, tangy flavor to the salad. 
  • Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing. The dressing adds a creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet flavor that goes perfectly with the salad. Throw everything besides the poppy seeds into a blender and you have a delicious dressing.

QUICK TIP

Be sure to add salt to taste—it makes all the difference between an underwhelming salad and a delicious one!

Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad dressing being made and salad assembled.

How To Make Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad

With no baking or cooking needed, this is truly the ultimate summer salad!

  1. Prepare Broccoli: Remove stems and chop into small pieces. Smaller pieces mix better.
  2. Combine Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix broccoli, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, and optional feta. Use fresh ingredients for the best flavor.
  3. Make the Dressing: Blend dressing ingredients until smooth. Stir in poppy seeds. For a lighter option, use some Greek yogurt instead of all mayo.
  4. Dress the Salad: Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour for the best flavor.
  5. Adjust Seasoning: After chilling, toss again and add more salt if needed. 
  6. Serve: Enjoy the salad the same day for the freshest flavor.

Does Broccoli Need To Be Cooked First?

No, raw broccoli is standard in broccoli salads. The dressing and chilling time soften it. Just make sure to chop the broccoli into small pieces for the best texture.

If you don’t like raw broccoli, boil it first. Boil the broccoli in salted water for 30 seconds, then drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Dry it or throw it in a salad spinner to make sure your lemon poppy seed broccoli salad isn’t soggy.

All the ingredients being combined in a bowl.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad Tips

  • Use good quality mayo. I love Hellman’s/Best Foods® for the best flavor. Its consistency, texture, and sweetness make a big difference in the salad.
  • Use fresh ingredients. Fresh broccoli, cranberries, and nuts make a huge difference in this lemon poppy seed broccoli salad.
  • Use a small grater to zest just the outer bright yellow part of the lemon. Avoid the bitter white part underneath.
  • Chill before serving. Let the salad chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour for the best flavor.
  • Add cheese last. If using feta, add it just before serving to keep it fresh.

Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad dressed and ready to be enjoyed.

Variation Ideas

  • Add Fruit: Mix in diced apples, grapes, blueberries, or mandarin oranges for extra sweetness and flavor.
  • Include Cheese: Try adding shredded cheddar, blue cheese crumbles, or goat cheese instead of feta in this lemon poppy seed broccoli salad.
  • Add Veggies: Try adding in chopped bell peppers, red onions, or shredded carrots for added crunch and color.
  • Use Different Nuts: Switch out sliced almonds with walnuts, pecans, or cashews for a different nutty flavor.
  • Change the Dressing: Swap the lemon poppy seed dressing for a balsamic dressing or a ranch dressing.

STORAGE

Refrigerate Immediately: Store the salad in the fridge, covered or in an airtight container, right after making it. It’ll keep for up to 2 days.

Separate Dressing: For longer storage, keep the dressing separate from the salad and dress it right before eating.

More Potluck Salads 

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Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad

5 from 17 votes
Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad: A delicious, simple, and quick dish with broccoli, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, feta, almonds, and creamy lemon-poppy seed dressing.
Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad in a bowl.
Print Recipe

Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad

Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad in a bowl.
5 from 17 votes
Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad: A delicious, simple, and quick dish with broccoli, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, feta, almonds, and creamy lemon-poppy seed dressing.
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Lemon Poppyseed Broccoli Salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 -8 as a side
Chelsea Lords
Calories 240kcal
Cost $10.12

Ingredients

Salad

Dressing

Instructions

  • BROCCOLI: Remove stems from broccoli and finely chop into small pieces.
  • SALAD: In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients.
  • DRESSING: In a small blender bottle/jar add all dressing ingredients EXCEPT poppy seeds. Season to taste. Blend until smooth then stir through poppy seeds.
  • DRESS SALAD: Pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss to combine. Cover and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Toss again and adjust seasoning if needed. If flavors are underwhelming, add more salt.
  • STORAGE: Salad is best eaten the same day it is made.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Almonds: To toast almonds, place them (no need to add anything else) in a single layer in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Watch closely to prevent burning.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 28.5g | Protein: 7.9g | Fat: 12.5g | Cholesterol: 7.5mg | Sodium: 36.6mg | Fiber: 4.8g | Sugar: 20.2g | Iron: -3mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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40 Comments

  1. Oh goodness, it’s been freezing here too but that never stops me from enjoying a good salad! This one is gorgeous, Chelsea! I love the broccoli and cranberry combo!

  2. My deliciousness…. GET IN MY MOUTH NOW! This looks so good I can’t even contain myself. Love how colorful and full this salad is. Seriously, I love everything that you put in this and I love their flavors put together. Killing in 🙂

  3. I tried this with pignoli’s and jack cheese which I already had in my refrigerator and it worked great.

  4. Wow this broccoli salad looks AMAZING!!! I love the colours and the flavours sound so delicious! I could totally eat that whole bowl right now!!

  5. 5 stars
    That salad looks like Spring! And I’m sure ready for Spring…this will be on my menu this week, for sure. Thank you.
    P.S. I’m giving it 5 stars even though I have tasted it, yet. I just know it will be worthy.

  6. Oh my word, this looks absolutely delicious! I LOVE traditional broccoli salad, but I definitely need to give this a try! Maybe for Easter dinner? 🙂

  7. Can this be made the night before??
    I’m hoping so, maybe I’ll chop everything and add the dressing in the morning.

    1. Absolutely can be prepped ahead! Just make sure to add the dressing before serving and not too early 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    I am definitely going to try this for my kids, very soon, this looks so yummy and so beautiful!

  9. 5 stars
    I just made this salad for a Father’s Day BBQ. I have to say, I have made a lot of variations of Broccoli Salad and this was by far the best. The lemon gives it such a refreshing flavor! The only change I made was adding about 10 strips of crumbled crispy bacon… because BACON! 😀 Thanks for such a great recipe!

    1. Oh, this makes my day!! I’m so thrilled to hear this one was the best! 🙂 And YUM on the bacon addition! Thanks Diane!

  10. I absolutely despise mayonnaise, so instead I used plain yogurt for the dressing. Huge hit at my work potluck. I always consider it a successful dish when I don’t get to bring any home!

    1. That’s great!! And so happy that there wasn’t any to bring home 🙂 Thanks for the comment Nicholas!

  11. 5 stars
    Made this last night for a small family get together, everyone loved it! My husband had thirds! And two people wanted the recipe. Also I was asked to bring it to our big family bbq next month. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thanks!

  12. I made this today and it’s totally a pin(terest) win!

    I made a couple small tweaks…I added 1/2 tsp lemon extract and toasted the almonds. Loved it!!

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