This chopped broccoli salad is tossed in a sweet sauce full of balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and a bit of almond butter.  It is finished with toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds for a healthy, gluten-free side dish recipe!

A wooden bowl filled with gluten-free Chopped Broccoli Salad ready for a healthy lunch.

Are you super excited for the cooler weather, too?  I feel as if each and each day I watch the weather forecast in anticipation for the first day’s high to dip below 80 degrees.  Not quite in our 10-day forecast yet, for Austin, but starting to get pretty close!

An overhead picture of a healthy broccoli salad made with walnuts and cranberries.

This chopped broccoli salad is full of Fall flavors.  Crunchy pumpkin seeds, sweet dried cranberries and toasted walnuts are in each and every bite.  Drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar and almond butter sauce over the top and you have yourself a healthy, gluten-free side dish perfect for the Autumn season.

Two bowls filled with a gluten-free broccoli salad recipe for a healthy dinner.

How is the broccoli prepared in this chopped broccoli salad recipe?

The broccoli used in this recipe is cooked in a method called “blanching.”  If you have ever seen a vegetable tray at a party, this is how they all have their vibrant colors… by blanching!

So how exactly do you blanch vegetables?

Blanching is very simple and can be done with carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

  1. The first step in the process is to bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Enough water should be in the pot to cover the vegetables completely.
  2. Next, the vegetables (broccoli in our case) is submerged in the water and left there for 2-5 minutes, or until your desired level of “cooked” has been reached.  (I left my broccoli in the water for 3 minutes in this recipe.)
  3. Lastly, the warm vegetables are dipped into a large bowl of ice water for 30 seconds to stop the cooking process.
  4. Voila!  Eat and enjoy your perfectly crisp veggies!

A bowl filled with broccoli cranberry salad with pumpkin seeds and walnuts for a healthy lunch.

Heads Up in the Recipe!

Make sure you do not pour the balsamic sauce on top of the broccoli BEFORE refrigerating.  You will get a very brown, instead of a very green, chopped broccoli salad.  Instead, if you would like to eat your broccoli salad at a cooler temperature, refrigerate the broccoli until cooled and then add the balsamic sauce and toppings right before serving.

What are you making this salad for?  Weeknight dinner?  Family get-together?

I would love to hear in the comments section below 🙂 Happy munching!


Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Chopped Broccoli Salad with Balsamic, Walnuts and Cranberries

This chopped broccoli salad is tossed in a sweet sauce full of balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and a bit of almond butter.  It is finished with toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds for a healthy, gluten-free side dish recipe!
Yield 8 servings
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 5 minutes
Total 30 minutes
An image of an envelope sealed shut with the Evolving Table logo.

Email this recipe!

Enter your email and we'll send it directly to you.


  • 2 bunches broccoli about 1.25 lbs.
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. pure maple syrup
  • 2 T. almond or peanut butter smooth
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • ½ t. salt
  • 3 T. dry roasted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ c. dried cranberries*
  • ¾ c. walnuts coarsely chopped


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Place walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 4-6 minutes.

For the Broccoli:

  • Fill a large pot with enough water to completely immerse both heads of broccoli. Bring water to a boil.
  • Fill a separate, large bowl with water and ice.
  • Place both bunches of broccoli into boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Remove broccoli, (Carefully! It will be hot!) and blanch it by immersing each bunch into ice water for 30 seconds.
  • Set broccoli aside to let cool. Once it has cooled enough for you to safely handle, coarsely chop broccoli and remove stems.
  • Place chopped broccoli into a large serving bowl.

For the Balsamic Sauce:

  • Combine balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, nut butter, olive oil and salt in a small bowl.
  • Microwave ingredients for 20-30 seconds or until nut butter becomes smooth. Whisk to combine.

For the Assembly:

  • Just before serving, pour balsamic sauce over chopped broccoli and sprinkle with walnuts, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries.
  • Salad tastes great served warm or cold!
  • Important Note: If you would like to serve your salad cold, refrigerate broccoli (without balsamic sauce) until it is to your desired temperature. Make balsamic sauce just before serving. If sauce is poured over broccoli and then refrigerated, the broccoli will become very mushy and no longer crisp!
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes


*Leave cranberries out if you would like to have fewer carbs.


Calories: 195kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 43mg, Potassium: 276mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 355IU, Vitamin C: 50.9mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 1.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!


5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

You May Also Like

Thanks for
Stopping By!

I’m London! Join me as we cook up nourishing meals for you and your loved ones and learn a few healthy cooking tips and tricks!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Very good salad. I’ve made it several times and everyone enjoys it. Easy to make tasty dressing. I usually substitute peanut butter for the almond butter.

    1. Yay, Mindy! So happy to hear you enjoy it so much. I bet the PB tastes delicious, too. Thanks for your comment and rating!

  2. Delicious!!!! The Balsamic sauce is great and silky smooth!! I loves everything about this salad!!! Than you!!! It was a party pleaser!!

  3. I found the dressing to be very vinegary. Couldn’t taste the other flavours at all. Just vinegar. Is it supposed to be like that? Thank you

    1. Hi Kathryn! I am so sorry to hear yours tasted so vinegary. I used a rather good, aged balsamic that is naturally somewhat sweet. I will update the recipe to reflect this to help others. Thank you for your feedback!

    1. It is in the sauce. I just adjusted the recipe to reflect this. Thanks for the heads up, Karen! Sorry for any confusion.