When spring and summer are in full swing, this sweet broccoli apple salad with pasta makes the perfect side dish for all your BBQ’s, potlucks. This healthy but still creamy side dish is fresh and deliciously full of sweet honey crisp apple, carrots, broccoli and raisins all mixed with pasta. The whole side dish is served with a creamy yogurt dressing. This recipe is always a hit with a crowd! Plus it’s vegetarian without trying, and can be made gluten free or dairy free pretty easily.
Sweet Broccoli Apple Salad With Pasta Recipe
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Summer bbq’s are calling my name. Can you hear the grill now?
It means it’s time to feed a crowd. One of my favorite ways to prep ahead a little is to make a healthy summer salad that I can throw in the refrigerator a few hours before company comes a knocking.
I like a good creamy dish as much as the next person, but to be honest I’m not a big fan of mayo. So instead I always swap in yogurt, and nobody ever knows the difference! You can use mayo if you are a fan, or see further below how to swap if you have company that is gluten free, dairy free or vegan.
By the time you add that sweet but tangy apple cider vinegar and honey to the dressing, they honestly will just be coming back for more of this healthy pasta salad.
I’ve added lots of natural sweetness to this salad which is part of the reason it’s such a hit. Raisins, carrots, honey, and sweet honey crisp apples all give this yummy cold salad a fresh summer flavor that even the kids gobble down. They may not even notice the broccoli because the dressing is so good.
Love pasta salad? Check out another one of my favorites, this easy pesto pasta salad. It’s a crowd-pleaser!
Can I Make This Broccoli Apple Salad Ahead Of Time?
You can make this salad a few hours before company comes and it will still look and taste great. If you choose to make it the night before, simply mix everything but the apples. Chop and add the apples right before serving to keep them looking fresh.
How Do I keep The Apples From Turning Brown In This Salad
The dressing in this broccoli apple salad recipe has lemon juice in it which will help keep the apples from turning brown for a few hours, even up to a full day. If making this salad the night before, simply add the apples right before serving.
How Do I Make This Broccoli Apple Salad Gluten Free?
By swapping out the pasta for gluten-free pasta, this salad recipe becomes gluten-free. My favorite gluten-free pasta is Banza. I recommend substituting the rotini, shells or penne pasta but any shape pasta will work.
Plain yogurt is naturally gluten-free, but flavored yogurt is not. Check out this list for companies that make gluten-free yogurt.
How Do I Make This Broccoli Apple Salad Dairy Free or Vegan?
If you swap the yogurt for vegan mayo, this broccoli apple salad will then be both dairy free and vegan While I am not a huge fan of mayo, Chosen Foods makes a delicious vegan and dairy free mayo. Chosen Food’s mayo is also gluten-free.
Can I Swap Out Other Shapes Of Pasta?
Yes, go wild with the pasta! Almost any shape works, though I stick to something smaller for cold salads. When using longer pasta, break into bite-sized pieces.
What Else Could I Add To This Broccoli Apple Salad?
I’ve added bacon to this broccoli apple salad and it is delicious, and a little goes a long way. You can use a full pack of bacon, a half pack of bacon or even just a few leftover slices from breakfast.
Walnuts also are a delicious addition to this salad. A few handfuls right before you serve this salad give it an extra crunch if no one has a nut allergy.
Sweet Broccoli Apple Salad With Pasta
This creamy but healthy broccoli apple salad with pasta is a great party recipe for a summer potluck or barbeque. Use honey crisp apples to balance the tangy apple cider vinegar and creamy yogurt dressing. Kids and adults will love this fresh and light summer side dish.
- 1 head broccoli Chopped
- 16 ounce fettuccine pasta Broken into 2 inch pieces
- 1 apple We prefer honey crisp but any sweet apple
- 2 large carrots Shredded in the food processor
- 4 stalks celery Shredded in the food processor
- 1 small red onion Shredded in the food processor. Use half of a sweet onion for pickier eaters
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup green onions Diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- 1 cup plain yogurt mayonnaise can also be used
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar rice wine vinegar also works well in this recipe
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic fresh minced or garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Prepping The Salad
Thoroughly rinse your broccoli, apple, carrots, and green onion. Pat dry. Chop or grate all vegetables. Do not chop or add the apples until the end or they will turn brown.
Cooking The Pasta and Broccoli
Slice the stem from the broccoli, then slice the broccoli crown into bite-sized pieces. Slice both ends from the stem, peel and slice the rest of the stem into bite-sized pieces.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, adding a pinch of salt. Once boiling turn pot to medium heat. Break fettuccini pasta with your hands into pieces that are about two inches long. Add to the water and cook 6 minutes or until al dente (still firm but cooked through).
Remove pasta to a colander with a slotted spoon, leaving the pasta water in the pot. Rinse pasta with cold water so it stops cooking. If you find the pasta is starting to stick together, mix with a tablespoon of olive oil.
Add broccoli florets (green fluffy tops) and stem bites to the pasta water, cooking for two minutes. Drain broccoli into the colander that your pasta is in. Rinse briefly with cold water and let cool.
Mixing the Salad
In a large mixing bowl combine grated carrots, grated celery, grated red onion, raisins, and green onions, Mix all ingredients until combined.
Add cooled pasta and broccoli and continue mixing until combined.
Making The Dressing And Mixing
In a small bowl with a whisk mix the mayonnaise, honey, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper until blended.
Chop apple into small roughly half inch pieces. Add apple to the bowl and mix. Now immediately add dressing and mix until well combined.
Chill and Serve
Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of fifteen minutes. Can be prepped ahead and left for a few hours before serving. When left overnight the apples may begin to brown, though the lemon juice in the dressing helps them to keep a brighter color.
Variation: You can add bacon to this creamy broccoli apple salad with pasta recipe and it’s pretty delicious. Cook a full or even a half pack of bacon in a pan, patting off any excess grease. Dice bacon once cooked. Add to the salad at any time, can be before or after adding the dressing and will still taste delicious. Sometimes I’ll even add it later after being in the fridge, it’s still delicious.
Apples will naturally brown once chopped, but the lemon juice in this dressing will help keep them from browning for a short amount of time. Add apples in as the very last ingredient before adding the dressing to help them maintain their color.
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Did you make this yummy broccoli apple salad? Have a question about the recipe? Leave me a comment and a star rating down below!