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Broccoli Slaw

From the book The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by
Yield 8 cups (serving several people or 2 pregnant ones)


My husband’s cousin makes a fantastic broccoli salad. I can never remember exactly what’s in it, but I have a vague recollection of uncooked broccoli, creamy dressing, and dried cranberries. I pretty much eat the whole thing whenever she brings it over for a holiday meal. On a table piled with crêpes and caviar, potato pastries, mushroom salads, pickles, olives, garlicky roasted red peppers, smoked fish, black bread — and did I mention the caviar? — you can imagine why the broccoli doesn’t get the love it deserves. But I never ignore it. In fact, now that I think about it, she probably makes it just for me. I married well.

When I tried to re-create it a couple of years ago, I cut the broccoli into matchsticks and thin slices. I made a ranch-ish dressing with buttermilk and apple-cider vinegar. I toasted almonds. I chopped cranberries. I soaked onions in the dressing. And then I stood in the kitchen and ate nearly the entire bowl, the entire 2 pounds of broccoli salad. Sure, I was five months pregnant at the time. Apparently, pregnant women need their iron. I made fun of my broccoli habit on my website. And then, more than two years later, I decided to include the salad in this book, and when I went to retest it, the same thing happened. I inhaled it. I couldn’t have been less pregnant at the time (though the result of the first pregnancy was sitting on the floor chomping adorably on a raw floret), which led me to the conclusion that this salad might just be good.


2 heads broccoli (¾ to 1 pound, or 340 to 455 grams each)
½ cup (45 grams) thinly sliced almonds, toasted
cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
½ cup (120 milliliters) buttermilk, well shaken
½ cup (105 grams) mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. (30 milliliters) cider vinegar
1 tsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. table salt
½ small red onion, finely chopped
~ Lots of freshly ground black pepper


  1. Trim the broccoli and chop it into large chunks, then cut each chunk into thin slices. (I usually cut the stems into thin slices, then stack the slices and cut them in the other direction, into thin matchsticks; if you have a mandoline with a julienne blade, this will also do the job.) Then cut the florets vertically into thin slices, slicing from the stem up to the floret top. This helps them stay together, but keeps them lying nicely against each other in the salad.
  2. Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds and the cranberries.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, mayo, vinegar, sugar, and salt until smooth. Stir in the onion. You can let the onion marinate in the dressing for 10 minutes, to mellow it.
  4. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture, and add a generous amount of black pepper. Stir the salad until the broccoli is evenly coated with the dressing.
  5. Serve immediately, or keep covered in the fridge for 2 to 3 days; really, though, it’s never lasted that long around here.


Culinate editor’s note: If you’re not a fan of raw broccoli, try cutting the fresh broccoli into small florets and chunks, then steaming it very lightly, just until bright green but still crisp and crunchy. Toss with the rest of the salad ingredients and serve warm, or chill and serve cold.

This content is from the book The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman.

There are 7 comments on this item
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Average Rating 5
57% recommend this recipe
1. by anonymous on Jan 2, 2013 at 9:34 AM PST

looks tasty and healthy! but broccoli is not a good source of iron - at 0.64mg per cup, you’d have to eat 28 cups of broccoli to get to RDA of 18mg.

2. by Caroline Cummins on Jan 2, 2013 at 10:36 AM PST

Anonymous: Broccoli also contains vitamin C, which helps the human body absorb the iron in broccoli. You’ll absorb more iron, though, from gently cooked broccoli than you will from raw broccoli.

3. by Kathryn Grace on Jan 3, 2013 at 1:37 PM PST

Iron, schmiorn. Looks and sounds so good, I can imagine why you’d stand up and eat the whole thing! Gotta try it.

4. by anonymous on Jan 6, 2013 at 5:34 AM PST

Thank you for this amazing recipe- I too just ate a whole large! bowl full. The buttermilk is a great addition and makes it less creamy than mayonnaise alone.

5. by Mardee Sherman on Jan 6, 2013 at 3:08 PM PST

I just made it and adapted it to my vegan diet, and it was wonderful! I added some white vinegar to non-dairy milk as a buttermilk substitute and used vegan mayo. I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing. :)

6. by suzicruzi on Jan 22, 2013 at 6:37 AM PST
Rating: five

This broccoli slaw is yummy. I knew right away we’d like it as it had our favorite veggie in it and the cranberries, almonds, and red onions are always in our house too. I made it exactly as stated and we found it to be very, very nice. I think it’s much better as it sits, and on the 3rd day, we felt it was the best. I added more fresh ground pepper as we went along as I maybe didn’t add enough at first. Also, on day two, I added a few more cranberries, just because we love them. I’ve already made it twice and served it to company. Culinate never disappoints. I can’t tell you how many recipes you’ve provided over the years that we’ve made and dearly loved. I’ve printed many of them out and am compiling a “book” of your recipes that we’ve made, enjoyed, and make again, and again. Cheers!

7. by Kim Broderick on Apr 21, 2013 at 7:11 PM PDT

Excellent! I used buttermilk powder reconstituted with water and it was super. I used light mayonnaise and less sugar dried cranberries. Probably had more broccoli than it called for but it was great. Hubby and son also liked it. I do think putting the onion in dressing to marinate a but is a great idea.

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