Broccoli Salad With Pesto, Apples & Walnuts

December 20, 2018
Photo by Ty Mecham
Author Notes

Since the moment I discovered that raw broccoli is absolutely delicious, I've riffed on this raw slaw so many times that I probably couldn't pick the original out of a line-up. Thin slices of broccoli go with literally every other salad-friendly ingredient—from citrus, to dried fruit, to hearty, cooked grains, to pickles, to breadcrumbs, to canned or fresh legumes, to cheese. And best of all, broccoli stands up well to time. Meaning a salad made from broccoli is a make-ahead-lunch (or dinner) dream. This version, which pairs broccoli simply with sliced apple, chopped walnuts, and a flavorful pesto dressing, is my favorite of the bunch. I eat it year-round, on its own for a meal, or as a side. —Ella Quittner

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Serves about 3 (or more as a small side)
  • 1 1/3 cups tightly packed, cleaned and dried basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled (the newer/fresher, the better)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts, divided into 2/3 cup and 1/3 cup (raw)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 large Honeycrisp apple (or similar), rinsed but not peeled
In This Recipe
  1. Make the pesto: In a food processor, combine basil, garlic, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and 2/3 cup walnuts. Pulse until everything is the size of small grains, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Then, run the motor as you stream in the oil until a smooth, creamy pesto forms. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed with more salt and lemon juice to balance—it should be very flavorful and zingy. Add to a large bowl.
  2. Take your head of broccoli and cut off the florets with about 2-inches of stem attached to each, then slice them as thinly as you can until you have about 3 heaping cups of thinly sliced broccoli and pieces. It’s fine if some stalk gets in there, but it should be mostly floret/stem (and the stuff that falls off the florets as you’re slicing). Add the 3 heaping cups of broccoli to the bowl with the pesto, and give it a stir to coat.
  3. Slice the apple into 1/4-inch thick half-moon pieces (avoiding the seeds and stem), as if you’re making apple slices for a snack (but much thinner). Then, cut those in half horizontally so you have twice as many, half-as-tall slices. Add those to the bowl, along with the remaining 1/3 cup crushed walnuts. Stir all to combine and serve immediately, or cover and keep in fridge up to 3 days.

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Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.