Home > Salads > Lemon Poppyseed Broccoli Salad Lemon Poppyseed Broccoli Salad January 22, 2018 | 40 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. A delicious, simple, and quick Lemon Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad combines broccoli, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, sharp Cheddar cheese, and sliced almonds with a delicious creamy lemon-poppy seed dressing. Next time, try our original Broccoli Salad recipe or this Broccoli-Grape Pasta Salad. Lemon-Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad Broccoli salads have always been a favorite of mine come summertime. We love them so much, though, that we eat this salad year round at my home! This salad is a little unique with a refreshing vibrant flavor– thanks to the lemon-poppy seed dressing. Instead of simply adding mayo to coat the broccoli and other ingredients, we add a few extra ingredients to the dressing, and that makes all the difference. We sweeten the dressing with sugar (2-3 tablespoons of honey can be used instead if desired); it has a bright hit of freshness from the lemon zest and lemon juice and some good acidity from the red wine vinegar. The creaminess comes from high-quality mayo, and we add a fun pop of color and crunch with the poppyseeds. Finally, we add salt and pepper to balance and intensify all the flavors. 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 have a much better flavor than raw sunflower seeds — they’re roasted and salted, which adds loads of flavor with no extra work on your end. Dried cranberries. If you’ve got a bag of leftover dried cranberries lurking in the back of your pantry and the berries have hardened, don’t use them in this recipe. They will be too hard and chewy. Use the softest available dried cranberries. We like sweetened or cherry-juice-infused dried cranberries best in this salad! Sliced almonds. If you’ve got an extra minute and want to toast the almonds before adding them in, here’s how to do it: Place the almonds in a single layer in a heavy skillet (you don’t need to add anything else) and stir them around on medium-low heat. It only takes about 2-3 minutes (sometimes less depending on how much heat they are getting) until they are toasted and smelling quite fragrant. Make sure you are stirring them around and watching constantly so they don’t have a chance to burn! Cheddar cheese. While mild Cheddar cheese will work, if you’re looking for more flavor, grab extra-sharp or sharp Cheddar cheese instead. QUICK TIP What’s the difference between mild and sharp Cheddars? Aging! The longer cheese is naturally aged, the more pronounced and sharper the Cheddar flavor becomes. Extra-sharp Cheddar cheese might be aged as long as a year, whereas mild Cheddar is generally aged for only 2-3 months. Does the broccoli need to be cooked first? Raw broccoli is pretty standard in broccoli salads — the dressing and chilling time tones down the “rawness” of the broccoli. You’ll also want to make sure to chop the florets into small pieces for the best possible salad. (Here’s a step-by-step visual on how to chop broccoli.) If you don’t care for raw broccoli, it can be blanched before adding it to this salad. Add the florets to a pot of salted boiling water for 1 minute, then transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain the cooled broccoli well before using or it will water down the salad. Here’s where a salad spinner can come in handy! 🙂 Lemon-Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad Tips Use good quality mayo. Hellman’s/Best Foods® (not sponsored) is my favorite in this broccoli salad — it’s got a great consistency, texture, and perfect amount of sweetness. Since there is a good amount of mayo in the dressing, we want to use a tasty mayo to ensure the salad is the best it can be! A couple of kitchen tools make the dressing preparation easier. Use a microplane (like this one) to zest only the very outside bright yellow part of the lemon. Avoid the white pith below the peel (the pith is very bitter tasting). This citrus juicer makes juicing the lemons a breeze! If opting to blanch the broccoli first, make sure it is thoroughly dried out. If the broccoli is at all wet, it affects the taste and texture of this Lemon-Poppy Seed Broccoli salad. More potluck salads Greek Tortellini Salad with a Greek-inspired vinaigrette Corn Salad with a lime vinaigrette Macaroni Coleslaw Salad summer potluck mash-up salad! Grape Salad dessert “salad” with creamy grapes and pecans Orzo Pasta Salad with a lemon vinaigrette FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Lemon-Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad 5 from 13 votes - Review this recipe A delicious, simple, and quick Lemon-Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad combines broccoli, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, sharp Cheddar cheese, and sliced almonds with a delicious creamy lemon poppyseed dressing. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Lemon-Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad 5 from 13 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe A delicious, simple, and quick Lemon-Poppy Seed Broccoli Salad combines broccoli, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, sharp Cheddar cheese, and sliced almonds with a delicious creamy lemon poppyseed 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 Calories 800kcal Author Chelsea Cost $10.12 IngredientsSalad4-1/2 to 5 cups (317g) chopped broccoli (~4 florets)3/4 cup (95g) dried sweetened cranberries1/2 cup (45g) sliced almonds1/2 cup (65g) shelled, roasted and salted sunflower seeds1 cup (123g) sharp Cheddar cheeseDressing1 cup (201g) mayonnaise full-fat(we love Hellman's/Best Foods)1 tablespoon red wine vinegar2-4 tablespoons white granulated sugar depending on sweetness preference1 large lemon (1/2 tablespoon zest, 1 tablespoon juice)1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds InstructionsOPTIONAL BLANCH: Remove the stems from the broccoli and cut them into very small pieces. If you want to blanch the broccoli, see Note 1. I like to use a salad spinner and then let it sit out for a while. If it's even a tiny bit wet, the salad becomes too watery.PREP: If not blanching broccoli, cut into very small pieces. If desired, toast the almonds. (See Note 2.) Cut the cheese into tiny cubes.SALAD: Add the completely dry broccoli, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, and sharp Cheddar cheese to a large bowl.DRESSING: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, red wine vinegar, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more sugar (1-2 more tablespoons) or more lemon to personal preference. Whisk in the poppy seeds.DRESS THE SALAD: Toss the dressing with the salad and place in the fridge to marinate for 15-30 minutes. Taste and adjust any flavors to personal preference. Don't shy away from adding more salt and pepper until the flavors sing. Toss once more and enjoy. STORAGE: Salad is best eaten the same day it is made. Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Broccoli: Blanch if you don't want any raw broccoli taste and have extra time/desire to do this, but it's not necessary. Here's how to do it: Fill up a bowl with very cold water and a few cupfuls of ice. Bring a pot of water to boiling point. Add in a heaping tablespoon of fine sea salt. Pour the broccoli into the boiling water and count to 30. As soon as you get to 30, drain the broccoli and pour it into your prepared ice water bath. Allow the broccoli to sit in the cold water until completely cooled. Then remove with a slotted spoon to a salad spinner or bowl. Make sure the broccoli is 100% dried before tossing it with anything else (especially the dressing). Note 2: Almonds: To toast the almonds, place them in a single layer in a heavy skillet (you don’t need to add anything else) and stir them around on medium-low heat. It only takes about 2-3 minutes (sometimes less, depending on how much heat they are getting) until they are toasted and smelling quite fragrant. Make sure you are stirring them around and watching constantly so they don’t have a chance to burn! Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 800kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 668mg | Potassium: 573mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 918IU | Vitamin C: 80mg | Calcium: 412mg | 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. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.