This Asian Broccoli Salad is a side dish the whole family will love. And with no cooking required, it might become your new favorite.
This no-cook, quick and easy broccoli salad is perfect for when you need to change up your side dish game. It’s great with so many different meals. The Asian inspired dressing has delicious ingredients like sweet chili sauce, sesame oil, and ginger.
Most broccoli salad recipes, like this one from Spend with Pennies, use mayonnaise along with a sweet, dried fruit like cranberries, and usually sunflower seeds or something similar for crunch. This combination has always felt a little heavy to me. It also tends to become “watery” after a day in the fridge as the salt draws moisture from the broccoli and mixes with the mayonnaise.
Instead, I’ve used an oil and vinegar-based dressing which adds more flavor. It also holds up well in the refrigerator if there are any leftovers to be stored. I use both regular sesame oil and toasted sesame oil in mine. The toasted oil adds a lot of flavor and shouldn’t be skipped, but if you don’t keep regular sesame oil on hand, another neutral-flavored cooking oil can be used.
Although the broccoli is raw, the salt, rice vinegar, and sweet chili sauce in the Asian inspired dressing soften the florets during a quick 15-minute resting time. So once the salad is mixed, it’s completely hands-off until ready to serve.
I’ve used fresh heads of broccoli for this recipe so that I can use the stalks as well, but the bagged florets can be used instead. They’ll just need to be broken into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
Finally, for the crunch component, my broccoli salad has roasted cashews and water chestnuts.
How To Make Asian Broccoli Salad
First, make the Asian dressing in a large serving bowl by whisking together the chili sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, ginger, and salt until well combined, and then set aside.
Remove broccoli florets from the stalks and break them into bite-sized pieces. Add these directly to the bowl with the dressing.
Don’t throw the broccoli stalks away though. Under the tough, woody outer stem is a soft, sweet, edible part that is perfect for this salad. Using a vegetable peeler, peel away the exterior of broccoli stalks until you see the pale green or white part of the stalks. Slice this part into ¼-inch rounds and toss them into the bowl with broccoli florets.
Add the cashews, green onion, and water chestnuts and mix everything together until the broccoli is well coated in the dressing. Let this stand for about 15 minutes before serving, allowing the salt and other ingredients to soften the broccoli florets and infuse them with flavor.
That’s it! Your delicious side dish is ready to enjoy.
Serving Broccoli Salad
This can be served at room temperature immediately after resting. Or it can be made in advance, stored in the refrigerator, and served cold at a later time. It also keeps well covered in the refrigerator up to five days.
This side dish pairs well with steak, chicken, pork, and fish entrees. It can even be mixed into rice noodles or soba noodles.Print
This delicious no-cook side dish is the perfect compliment to many meat entrees or can be tossed with rice noodles.
- 3 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
- 2 Tbsp. sesame oil*
- 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- ¼ tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 large heads fresh broccoli, about 24 oz.
- ½ cup chopped roasted, salted cashews
- ½ cup thinly sliced green onion
- 1 (8 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained well, roughly chopped
- In a large serving bowl whisk together chili sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, ginger, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- Remove broccoli florets from stalks, break into bite-sized pieces. Transfer to bowl with chili sauce mixture.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel away tough, woody exterior of broccoli stalks. Slice stalks into ¼-inch rounds and transfer to bowl with broccoli florets.
- Add cashews, green onion, and water chestnuts. Toss until broccoli is well coated in dressing.
- Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
*You can use a neutral-tasting oil like vegetable or grapeseed oil in place of the regular sesame oil. The toasted sesame oil adds lot of flavor and should not be skipped.