A Favorite Broccoli Salad, Slimmed Down

Sometimes trying to slim down a beloved recipe doesn’t work. The result is disappointing, and feels like a consolation prize. Happily, that’s not the case with this take on broccoli  salad.

Broccoli salad traditionally contains broccoli (obviously) sunflower seeds, raisins or dried cranberries, bacon,  red onion and a sugar-spiked mayonnaise dressing. The result is a crunchy, sweet and salty salad that is sturdy enough to cart to a picnic or barbecue. Bonus: Broccoli salad is better when made a day ahead.

Traditional broccoli salad is full of sugary carbs

There are many recipes for broccoli salads; they typically contain a lot of carbs, sugar and fat. That’s unfortunate because two of the salad’s ingredients – broccoli and sunflower seeds – are high fiber and packed with nutrients. In addition, red onions are a good source of health-promoting antioxidants.

Since broccoli is now in season, I wanted to create a healthier version of broccoli salad that I can eat without guilt.

A few easy changes do the trick

I subbed turkey bacon for pork bacon and reduced the amount, which slashed both calories and sodium.   I also reduced the quantity of dried cranberries, and used the reduced sugar version. Despite the changes, the broccoli salad retained the addictive, salty-sweet vibe of the traditional version.

”I can’t tell the difference,” said my friend Mary, who has eaten regular broccoli salad many times.

Most recipes for broccoli salad call for at least three tablespoons of white sugar to be mixed into mayonnaise. I substituted Miracle Whip Light, which provides a sweet-tangy taste with fewer calories and carbs. Miracle Whip Light does contain corn syrup, but not very much. I don’t worry about it – I hardly ever eat products with corn syrup and besides, I’m not going to guzzle a glass of the stuff.



– Vegetarian or on a low sodium diet? Ditch the bacon.

– Can’t find/don’t want Miracle Whip?  Use the same amount of light mayonnaise, add a bit of sugar and a dash of apple cider vinegar, then taste. Continue doing this until the dressing tastes sweet and tangy, using the smallest amount of sugar possible.

– I prefer to blanch the raw broccoli before assembling the salad, but feel free to skip this step.

I hope you enjoy this slimmed-down broccoli salad as much as I do!

Tangy Broccoli Salad

A high fiber, lower carb side dish that is perfect for picnics and potlucks.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Servings 4
Calories 125 kcal


  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 large bowl


  • 4 Cups fresh broccoli, separated into florets
  • 5 Tbsp Miracle Whip Light Can sub low fat mayo mixed with small amount of sugar, vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries, reduced sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 slice turkey bacon, cooked then chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 Cup red onions, chopped into small pieces
  • Dash fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2-1 Tsp. sugar Can sub artificial sweetener


  • Boil water in large pot. Using metal strainer, dip broccoli into water then immediately remove and put the broccoli in ice cold water. (This step can be skipped.)
  • In small bowl, mix Miracle Whip, sugar (or artificial sweetener), pepper, sunflower seeds and cranberries.
  • Drain cooled broccoli; pat very well to completely dry. Put broccoli and dressing in large bowl, then mix well. Add chopped bacon and onion, mix again.
  • Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before serving.


Calories: 125kcalCarbohydrates: 10g
Keyword broccoli, high fiber
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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