No Mayo Broccoli Salad Recipe (Paleo, AIP, Vegan Option)
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I am thrilled with how this no mayo broccoli salad recipe turned out! It's so easy, quick, healthy and completely AIP compliant, not to mention really tasty. I’ve been making the classic broccoli salad with bacon, mayo, raisins, vinegar, sugar, etc. since my husband and I got married over a decade ago. It’s one of his favorite dishes, so I was bummed to stop making it when I started doing AIP. I just wasn’t sure how to make it turn out right while on the AIP diet.
I’m pleased to say this salad tastes as good as the real thing. It is so delicious. I literally ate the leftovers for breakfast this morning.
This is the perfect type of dish to take to potlucks and barbecues. It’s got a couple of extra veggies making it a little different than the classic broccoli salad but I think they work perfectly with it and add some color.
How to Make a Broccoli Salad Without Mayonnaise
There are quite a few ways to make a mayo-free broccoli salad but a lot of them aren't dairy-free nut/seed-free, or AIP compliant.
For example, if you search "no mayo broccoli salad" on Google, many of the recipes use some sort of yogurt base, some use mustard (made from a seed, so not compliant), others use tahini (made from seeds, so also not compliant).
The key to making this salad AIP compliant is finding a sauce base that is thick and creamy. It also needs to have a neutral enough flavor that you can add most of the typical broccoli salad dressing ingredients and get a comparable end result.
I thought about using coconut milk or coconut cream but I was worried it would be too thin. Enter the avocado. This makes a perfect creamy base for this dressing while keeping it dairy-free and nut/seed-free.
So here’s what’s in this no mayo broccoli salad:
- Broccoli Florets- Make sure these are fairly small and bite-sized.
- Bacon- Make sure your bacon is chopped/crumbled. See other notes about the bacon below.
- Red Onion- Chop this really small so it doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the dish.
- Purple Cabbage- Slice this really thinly so you don't have huge pieces of cabbage taking over your salad. This adds some great color.
- Brussels Sprouts- slice these thinly, again so they don’t overwhelm the salad.
- Apple- I used a Gala apple but pretty much any apple works.
- Avocados- These will be mashed for the dressing. Mash the avocados first, then add the other dressing ingredients.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Garlic Powder
- Sea Salt
- Maple Syrup
How to Choose an AIP Compliant Bacon
Bacon is tricky when it comes to the AIP diet. Try to find nitrate-free, uncured/naturally cured bacon, with no spices other than salt.
If you always don't feel like having to cook bacon for every recipe that calls for it, you're in luck. Epic actually makes uncured bacon bits that are AIP compliant! I was so excited when I found these. You can get them on ShopAIP or check out the store locator here.
If you'd like to learn more about what to look for in AIP compliant Bacon, you can check my Guide to Paleo/AIP Bacon. I also include a bunch more product options.
- If you’re making this for a potluck or BBQ or just want to make it ahead of time in general: You can make most of it ahead of time but wait to add the apples and make the sauce, since avocados and apples brown pretty quickly.
- I will say the apples didn’t brown as quickly as I thought they would in this salad probably because of the vinegar in the dressing. When I ate this the day after I made it, the apples had a touch of brown but not nearly as much as I would’ve expected. The dressing also had changed color a little bit but not too bad and it still tasted great.
- Make sure the avocados are ripe so they are easy to mash when you make the dressing.
- Make sure everything is bite-sized so the dressing coats the salad evenly.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe. If you made it, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought. I'd love to hear from you!
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- 12 oz bacon, (uncooked weight), chopped omit for vegan version
- 2 cups small broccoli florets
- 1 cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 cup brussels sprouts
- 1/3 cup red onion, diced
- 1 apple, cubed
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 medium sized, ripe avocados, mashed
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tsp maple syrup
- Cook bacon according to package instructions, drain off extra grease, and dice or crumble. Allow the bacon to cool.
- Add the bacon along with broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, red onion, apple, and raisins to a large bowl.
- Make the dressing- In a small bowl, mash the avocados first then add the other sauce ingredients.
- Add the dressing to the salad and stir until well combined. Serve.