Your new favorite summer broccoli salad is this simple salad with feta cheese, red onions, and cherry tomatoes. This salad is bright, easy to make ahead.
This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated with new photos and new information.
Sometimes the simplest combinations are the best. This is one of those times. This is a quick and fresh broccoli salad, packed full of simple but full flavor ingredients. Crunchy broccoli, sweet cherry tomatoes, and salty and tangy feta. Feta cheese makes this salad sing.
This recipe makes a big batch. Perfect for when its too hot to cook and you just you want something healthy to serve with BBQ'd burgers. Or maybe you are tired of the same green leafy salad.
How to steam blanch broccoli:
Blanching the broccoli before tossing it into this salad brightens the colour of the broccoli and helps it absorb the flavours of the salad dressing. Raw broccoli can be harsh tasting. Giving it a quick steam leaves you will crunchy and sweet broccoli.
I prefer to steam blanch (versus boiling the florets for just a minute in a large pot). I think steaming is just as quick (I don't have to wait for the pot of water to boil) and I feel like I lose less of the nutrients. (Which might totally be in my head, but I will keep on believing this).
To steam blanch broccoli:
- Wash the broccoli heads under cool water. Shake off any excess water then cut into florets. For this salad I like the florets to be on the large side of bite-sized.
- Add two or so inches to a large wide pot with a tight-fitting lid. You will want a pot that either has it's own steaming insert or use one of these (they are cheap!). Make sure the steaming basket sits over the water level. The water should not touch the bottom of the steaming basket.
- Salt the water generously and bring to a hearty simmer. Not boiling.
- You will also want to get a large bowl filled with ice and cold water ready.
- Once the water is simmering nicely, fit the steaming basket over top of the water and add the broccoli. Depending on the size of your basket you might need to do this in batches.
- Place the lid over the whole thing and set a timer for about 90 seconds. I like mine to be very crunchy. I actually enjoy raw broccoli, so I like to keep mine quite crunchy. Test a piece, if done to your liking remove the broccoli florets from the steamer and directly into the ice bath. Others replace the lid and steam for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Once out of the steamer toss the broccoli directly into the ice water bath and let cool completely.
- Once cool, drain and spread out on a clean kitchen towel to dry while you make the rest of the salad.
How to make this easy broccoli salad with feta cheese
Once the broccoli is steamed this salad is easy to whip together.
While the broccoli hangs out and dries on the clean kitchen towel, in the bottom of a large bowl, whip together the salad dressing, slice the onions and tomatoes and crumble the feta cheese.
Then toss it all together.
Notes about this broccoli salad:
Don't panic about the onions! Yes, we like a lot of onions. And if you take a bite when this salad is first tossed together the onions will be hot and overpowering. Let the tossed and dressed salad sit for at least 30 minutes, 60 is better. The onions will wilt in the salad dressing and release some of their heat.
This broccoli salad keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator - so go ahead and plan to nibble for a few days for lunch.
The broccoli is best if it is ever so slightly steamed. Steaming the broccoli brightens the green of the broccoli. Steaming really makes the colour pop! But it is a quick steam. You don't want to cook the broccoli. You want it still raw crunchy. Make sure you also use an ice bath to stop it from cooking. Mushy broccoli would not be good.
Broccoli and Feta Salad
- 1 bunch broccoli
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 pint grape tomatoes cut in half
- 1/2 of a small red onion thinly sliced
- Steam broccoli over a large sauce pan of simmering water using a fitted steamer basket. Do in batches if necessary - don't over crowd steamer basket. Steam broccoli for about 90 seconds (or up to 2 minutes based on your preferences). Don't over cook the broccoli!Broccoli should be bright green and still crunchy. Drain and plunge into ice water for about 1 minute, then remove broccoli to a colander and allow to drain completely on a clean kitchen towl while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- In large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add broccoli, feta cheese, tomatoes and onion; toss to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavours to meld together. Can be made upto a day ahead.