Broccoli Salad With Pesto, Apples & Walnuts

December 20, 2018
21 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Serves about 3 (or more as a small side)
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Franca
  • jennifer
  • Texas Ex
    Texas Ex
  • Sarah Lacewell
    Sarah Lacewell
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim

15 Reviews

Mms512 December 5, 2023
What a delight! This made for a wonderful light lunch, and plenty for leftovers tomorrow. The honey crisp pairs well with the broccoli and pesto. Easy to make and a great twist for a broccoli dish
NHHannah June 3, 2020
What a marvelous combination! It was SO good! I made one day , following the recipe exactly, and had the remainder the next day as it's only my husband and I. The "Honeycrisp" apple called for in the recipe didn't go brown. Thank you for sharing.
Franca June 12, 2019
Wow so delicious! I used my homemade pesto and added additional lemon juice and cider vinegar for zing. My new favourite salad.
jennifer February 1, 2019
I have so much pesto in the freezer - I think I'll try using it - just zinging it up a bit with some lemon juice and red wine vinegar. I'm also trying to think of something a little chew to add...rather than the ubiquitous dried cranberries.....I wonder if some diced, marinated sun-dried tomatoes would work with this? Ideas?
Ella Q. April 1, 2019
That sounds like an excellent riff!
Sara May 12, 2019
Great idea! I would exchange the walnuts with pignoli. Not sure about the apple now........
Texas E. January 14, 2019
Absolutely delicious. A friend spent a couple of days with us, so I was looking for meals suitable for vegans. I'm glad she visited, or I may not have found this delicious salad. Great recipe!
Ella Q. January 14, 2019
Hi there,

So glad you enjoyed! Thank you for the note.

Sarah L. January 9, 2019
This salad was fabulous. All the flavors and textures worked together beautifully. I would highly recommend it.
Ella Q. January 10, 2019
Hi Sarah,

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Eric K. January 7, 2019
This is a cool salad. Can't wait to try it.
David K. January 7, 2019
Great combo of ingredients, textures and flavors. Perfect for cool winter fare. I tossed a handful of pomegranate seeds in for yet more flavor and mouth feel.. Huzzah!
Ella Q. January 7, 2019
Great, so glad to hear that you enjoyed it, David!
Chip January 4, 2019
I added a bit of lemon juice to the apple slices to keep them from browning. Excellent and tasty dish, thank you!
Ella Q. January 5, 2019
Hi Chip,

So glad to hear that you enjoyed it!