Bright, crunchy, packed with big flavours and very healthy, this broccoli salad ticks all the boxes. Plus, it sits beautifully at room temperature (within reason) as long as you add the cheese at the last minute.

A good chopped “spoon” salad is an underrated thing—so handy when you’re standing up at a party and only have one hand free to eat with. This salad is excellent as is, but if you want to, add a few chopped hard-boiled eggs, some hot-smoked salmon or tuna, or perhaps some poached chicken. If you haven’t tried raw broccoli, trust me, it’s really good!

Prep time: 15 mins, plus softening

Cook time: 10 mins

Serves: 6 as a side, 3–4 as a main


  • ⅓ cup (55 g) whole almonds
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 6 dates, stones removed, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons (about 100 ml)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • A pinch of chilli flakes, to taste
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup (150 g) tri-colour quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to the packet instructions
  • 120 g (4¼ oz) mature cheddar, cut into small cubes


  1. Place the almonds and tamari in a dry frying pan and cook over medium heat, tossing often, for about 10 minutes or until the almonds look dry and smell aromatic. Let the nuts cool, then roughly chop and set aside.
  2. Finely chop the broccoli florets and peel and finely chop the stem. Place in a large bowl with the dates and chopped almonds.
  3. For the dressing, combine the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, honey, garlic, chilli, some salt and pepper and the mustard in a small jar and shake well. Pour it over the broccoli, add the quinoa and toss to combine. Set your salad aside for at least 30 minutes before serving so that the dressing can “soften” the broccoli.
  4. Toss through the cheddar and serve.

Travel advice

This broccoli salad travels so well and really doesn’t mind being left out at room temperature for some time. In fact, it gets better with time, within reason—just make sure you add the cheese right before serving.

Washing salads

Here are a few tips for making a simple green salad to transport on a warm day.

  1. Fill a bowl or the sink with cold water. Plunge in your greens and leave to sit for a minute or so to allow any grit to sink to the bottom.
  2. Remove and spin or shake as dry as you can.
  3. Lay a couple of tea towels on your benchtop and arrange your greens across them. Gently roll into two sausages and place in the fridge or an insulated ice box or cooler.
  4. When you’re ready to serve, simply unwrap and tip the leaves straight into your salad bowl, ready to dress.

Other recipes you may be interested in:

Images and text from What Can I Bring? By Sophie Hansen, photography by Sophie Hansen. Murdoch Books RRP $49.99.

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