Ditch the mayo and embrace this paleo, whole30, and vegan broccoli and cauliflower salad! It’s a flavor bomb packed with crunchy vegetables and a creamy sunbutter sauce. Perfect for lunch prep, picnic prep, or a simple side dish.
Our youngest, Asher, has been working hard to expand his vocabulary in the last few weeks. In addition to his old standbys (mama, dadda, no, and mine), he’s added “uh-oh”, “oh, wow”, “baby” and “hi” to his ever-expanding lexicon.
But my favorite new word is “buh-bye”. In additional to using it in contextually appropriate ways, it’s also a signal that he’s done with something. We’ll be eating lunch, and he’ll suddenly declare “buh-bye”. Or playing legos, having a snuggle, or taking a bath, and out it comes. Buh-bye! I’m done with this Mama. He might have limited words, but he sure knows how to articulate himself.
It’s in celebration of this hilarious development that I bring you today’s recipe. BUH-BYE heavy, mayo-laden salads. HELLO super clean!
A creamy, flavor-packed broccoli and cauliflower salad that’s completely mayo free? Yup, that’s a thing. A salad that’s vegan, paleo, Whole30 and so delicious that you’ll be scrambling for seconds? Yeah, that’s a thing too.
This salad is my newest obsession. It’s hearty enough to stand on its own, but plays well with others in a potluck situation. It’s crunchy, nutty, just sweet enough, and seriously loaded with nutrition. Say goodbye to standard cruciferous salads weighed down with mayo and cheese. You won’t miss either in this super clean, but totally flavor filled, broccoli and cauliflower salad.
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How To Prep Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad
Prep this salad properly and you’ll be rewarded with the perfect balance of crunchy, sweet, salty, and nutty in every bite. That magic starts with teeny, tiny broccoli and cauliflower florets, and the process couldn’t be easier.
Start by chopping a head of broccoli into florets. Slice each floret lengthwise (from top to bottom) into several pieces. Then chop those pieces widthwise into tiny florets. Do include the stalks – those guys are packed with both crunch and flavor.
Tiny cauliflower requires an extra step because the florets are packed a little more tightly and don’t fall apart quite as naturally as broccoli. Start by cutting a floret into slices, like you did with the broccoli. Then slice those pieces a second time lengthwise to create long pieces. And then chop those long pieces up into tiny pieces.
BOOM! A bowl of crunchy cruciferous goodness!
To create a little texture diversity, I went with julienned carrots and radishes. They’ll stay super crunchy, even after a few days in the fridge. I use my trusty vegetable mandoline with the julienne attachment, but the large side of a box grater will also get the job done, and done well.
How to Make Sunbutter Sauce
For a creamy, mayo free, flavor packed dressing, look no further than this sunbutter sauce. It’s nutty flavor is the perfect compliment to the bright and clean vegetables and sweet dried fruit.
I use my food processor to blend this up, but the smoothie attachment on a blender works well too. And if you’re a fan of elbow grease, a good ol’ bowl and whisk will also get the job – just be sure to mince the garlic before whisking, instead of simply smashing it.
Toss the sunflower seed butter, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes into the bowl of a food processor and then give it a few good pulses to incorporate the ingredients. It’ll be thick at this point, so flip the motor to continuous and then pour in the water through the feed tube, about a tablespoon at a time, until it emulsifies into a smooth, creamy, pourable dressing. I used about 2 tablespoons to achieve a medium-thick texture.
The red pepper flakes are optional and definitely add a kick. Skip or reduce the amount if you’re not a big fan of heat. Be sure to check for seasoning after you’ve finished processing. Is it a little bland? Add a bit more salt. Too spicy? Adjust the heat by adding a teaspoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of sunflower seed butter. You want it to taste WOW to YOU.
Who needs mayo? No you!
Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad Recipe Notes
Make this salad your own with any number of substitutions or additions based on the season and your palette.
- Diced red onion are fare game in place of green onion.
- Toss in a cup of shredded red or green cabbage.
- Op for slivered almonds in place of sunflower seeds.
- Use all cranberries for more tart-sweet, or all cherries for more sweet-sweet. Or skip ’em both and use raisins or diced dried apricots.
For a more carnivorous combination, add half a cup of cooked and chopped sugar-free bacon, or a cup or two of diced roasted chicken.
Broccoli and cauliflower salad was basically made for meal prep. It’s super portable, is delicious cold or room temperature, and keeps well in the fridge for at least three days (it didn’t last any longer in my fridge cuz, um, I ate it all).
Divide this into individual lunch containers (I’m a big fan of these guys) and you’ll have a grab-and-go flavor bomb for lunch every day of the week.
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Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Sunbutter Sauce
Ditch the mayo and embrace this paleo, whole30, and vegan broccoli and cauliflower salad! It's a flavor bomb packed with crunchy vegetables and a creamy sunbutter sauce. Perfect for lunch prep, picnic prep, or a simple side dish.
Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad
- 1 head broccoli chopped into dime-sized florets
- 1 head cauliflower chopped into dime-sized florets
- 1 c carrot julienned or grated
- 1 c radishes julienned or grated
- 1/2 c roasted and salted sunflower seeds
- 1/4 c scallions chopped (about 4 scallions)
- 1/4 c dried cherries chopped
- 1/2 c dried cranberries
Chop a head of broccoli into florets, then chop the florets into small pieces (no larger than the size of a dime). To do so, slice each floret lengthwise into several pieces, then chop those pieces widthwise into tiny florets. (See section "How to Prep Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad" for photos.)
Chop a head of cauliflower into florets, then chop the florets into dime-sized pieces. To do so, cut each cauliflower floret lengthwise into several slices. Slice those pieces a second time lengthwise to create long shreds, then chop those long shreds up into tiny pieces.
Add the broccoli and cauliflower florets to a large bowl, along with the grated carrots and radishes, sunflower seeds, chopped scallions, and dried fruit. Toss to combine.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the sunflower seed butter, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Pulse several times to incorporate the ingredients. The sauce will still be very thick. Flip the motor to continuous and pour water, 1 tablespoon at a time, through the feed tube until the sauce thins and is completely smooth and emulsified. Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt, pepper, or acid as needed (see section "How to Make Sunbutter Sauce").
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or transfer to the fridge to chill. Store this salad in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for at least 3 days. Serve warm or a room temperature.
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