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broccoli salad with pepitas, red onion and crumbled cheese in a square white bowl

Healthy Broccoli Salad with Pepitas & Cheddar

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Simple, healthy and delicious, this broccoli salad is nothing like the creamy sugar-filled potluck salad you’re used to. Featuring steamed broccoli, a simple dressing, and some red onion, pepitas and aged Cheddar. Light and delicious with no unnecessary ingredients. 


  • 2 pounds broccoli (2 large heads, about 8 cups florets)
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 dried bay leaf, optional 
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons raw pepitas, toasted
  • 24 tablespoons crumbled aged Cheddar, optional 


Cut broccoli into medium-sized florets (about 1½ to 2 inches large). 

Stove-top steaming:

Bring about 1-inch water to boil in a deep, wide pot. Lower insert or basket with broccoli into pot so it rests above water. Add garlic and bay leaf, cover and simmer until just tender, 4–5 minutes. 

Instant Pot Steaming: 

Add florets to Instant Pot along with ½ cup water, garlic, and bay leaf. Close and lock lid, close pressure release valve and cook at high pressure for 0 minutes (press Pressure Cook button, set to “High Pressure,” and set cook time to 0 minutes. 

Once Instant Pot is pressurized and beeps, turn off Instant Pot and quick-release pressure. Carefully remove lid, allowing for steam to escape away from you. 


Transfer broccoli to a large bowl; leaving any cooking liquid behind. Reserve garlic clove and discard bay leaf

Chop/mash steamed garlic into a paste. Whisk together mashed garlic, olive oil, mustard, and maple syrup; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add dressing, onion, pepitas, and Cheddar, if using, to broccoli and toss to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. 


This salad can be served warm or chilled. If you’d like to serve warm, toss the salad together while the broccoli is still warm and serve immediately. If you’d like to serve it chilled, prepare the salad as written, then cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.

Broccoli: If you would rather use raw chopped broccoli, go ahead. Use 1 minced clove garlic in the dressing.

This salad can easily be doubled or tripled to serve more or be used as meal prep.

For a little tang, add some apple cider vinegar.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
  • Calories: 182
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 102mg
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 18g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Protein: 11g
  • Cholesterol: 1mg

Keywords: healthy broccoli salad, keto broccoli salad

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