Crazy Broccoli Salad No Mayo

Crazy Broccoli Salad Lighter No Mayo Version

So a friend of mine called yesterday and asked about Broccoli Salad. Yep. Broccoli Salad. You know it, that Crazy Broccoli Salad that’s been around forever, kind of a mainstay for summer potlucks and picnics. It was my Mom who first gave me the recipe back in the 70s and I’ve been making it ever since.

Crazy Broccoli Salad No Mayo Version

Crazy Broccoli Salad No Mayo Version


I laughed and asked if she’d “googled” it, but she said, “Yours is the best.” I highly suspect she found 10,000 recipes and threw up her hands! I know she’ll read this, so flattery will get you everywhere. And here it is, my version, which is lighter and just as tasty as the original.

About Crazy Broccoli Salad:

Now, these days there are a lot of versions of this salad. The original was broccoli, either cashews or sunflower seeds (I’m not sure which came first), raisins, bacon, and onion. My preference is cashews but I’ll use sunflower seeds now and then; sunflower seeds hold up better but sink to the bottom. Over time, like if you have leftovers, the cashews can get a little soft.

There are so many tweaks that can be made to this salad. You can vary the amounts of all the good stuff, leave out the bacon for a veggie version. Some people use craisins or dried cranberries instead of raisins. You’ll see any kind of onion, white, yellow or red onion. Later versions will sometimes add halved cherry tomatoes and others add cheese.

I guess the best advice? Sub in what you like and make it how you like and you’ll like this salad! Now if you’re looking for the absolute Classic Crazy Broccoli Salad check out this post. It’s made with mayo, just like Mom told me way back when.

Classic Crazy Broccoli Salad

Classic Crazy Broccoli Salad

Making Crazy Broccoli Salad:

I gotta tell you the dressing, with the yogurt and touch of sour cream is so tasty! It’s got a little more tang, a little more richness than the standard mayo version. It also has the advantage of being just a little bit thicker. It will thin out a bit in the salad, but coats the broccoli a little better, I think.

The real thing that really sets my salad apart is the way I treat the broccoli. I’m not sure when I started with it but a couple little simple steps make such a difference. You’ll notice the stems in the dish and they are seriously the best part! You’ll also notice when you eat it that the broccoli seems so fresh and that’s because it’s steam blanched.

  • First of all, shave the stems of the broccoli with a peeler, removing the dark green, then slice the stems up to the heads thinly on the diagonal. Keep stems separate from the florets.
  • Work the florets by starting the cuts on the stem ends; just cut through and pull the heads apart into bite-sized florets. The head separate cleanly with little waste, into perfect bite-sized florets.
  • Blanch as directed, the stems go in first, then the florets, and watch the timing; you do not want to cook the broccoli just quickly blanch.
  • Drain the broccoli into a colander, place a colander a large pan (probably the one the broccoli was blanched in) and run cold water over it until it’s completely cool, then drain completely. It IS important to drain completely.

That method takes a few minutes longer than just chopping up the broccoli but the salad will be truly amazing! It also eliminates a lot of waste! And speaking of eliminating waste the peelings from the stem usually go right into the fridge for my morning smoothie. See my Big Fat Green Smoothies for more information on making them….and on a budget, too!


My Big Fat Green Smoothies made from wasted vegetable parts

My Big Fat Green Smoothies

Saving Money on Crazy Broccoli Salad:

You’ll need fresh broccoli for this recipe (but keep in mind that usually, fresh broccoli is much cheaper than frozen (which is 6 ounces of water to every 10 ounces of broccoli.) Watch for sales and pay attention to whether it’s is one of those vegetables that is priced by the head or the pound. Weigh it if you need to figure out the price per pound.

Raisins and dried fruit (and nuts like cashews or sunflower seeds) are often at a low before Christmas (and often have coupons). Stock up and if they’re boxed or the package is flimsy, repackage into sturdy bags. Check out what to buy and stock up on before any holiday on my post Win at the Grocers.

Bacon, before it’s recent popularity used to be dirt cheap but no longer. Usually, bacon will be on sale right before any holiday so watch for specials. Since it takes so little room, it’s an ideal freezer item. When pieces are needed for a recipe, slice through the bacon (I slice right through the package and all) the short way.

Both Sour Cream and Yogurt have a long shelf life unopened but once opened, make sure the seal is tight and store it upside down. There won’t be as much air displacement, it won’t get dry around the edges and will stay fresh longer. When you use either, keep it covered, even if it’s just loosely covered between “dips” and use a clean utensil and you’ll be introducing less contamination and it will last much longer. If either separates and looks watery when you open it, just stir it back together.

Crazy Broccoli Salad No Mayo

Crazy Broccoli Salad No Mayo


Crazy Broccoli Salad

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Total Time: 25 minutes plus chill
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 bunch of broccoli (about a pound) in bite-sized florets, stems shaved, thinly sliced, stems separated from florets
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (red, white or yellow, if using red, use about 1/4)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, to taste
  • salt to taste, optional
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 4 to 8 ounces bacon, crumbled or diced and cooked as directed
  • 1/2 cup cashews or sunflower kernels


Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook over medium heat just until crisp; drain on paper towels.

Prepare broccoli as directed above, shaving the stems, thinly slicing on a diagonal, then separating the florets. Keep them separate from the stems.

Bring a large saucepan with about an inch of water to a boil. Add the broccoli stems, wait about 30 seconds, and add the florets. Cover and steam for two minutes, no longer. There won’t be any noticeable difference, but trust me, this is exactly how long to steam.

Quickly drain in a strainer or colander and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain very well.

In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, sour cream, vinegar, onion, and sugar. Taste and adjust, adding a little salt if desired. Add the broccoli and toss the coat with the dressing. refrigerate for an hour. Just before serving, fold in the rest of the ingredients. Serve immediately.


Nutrition: Based on 8 servings, 3 tablespoons sugar, nonfat yogurt, 4 ounces bacon:  Calories 209; Total Fat 9 g 14 %; Saturated Fat 2 g 12 %; Monounsaturated Fat 4 g; Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 18 mg 6 %; Sodium 287 mg 12 %; Potassium 400 mg 11 %; Total Carbohydrate 26 g 9 %; Dietary Fiber 2 g 10 %; Sugars 17 g; Protein 9 g 18 %; Vitamin A 8 %; Vitamin C 86 %; Calcium 7 %; Iron 7 %

Keywords: Bacon, Broccoli, Broccoli Salad, cranberries, Dried Fruit, nuts, Nuts and Seeds, Raisins, Salad, Side, side salads, Sour cream, Yogurt

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Kitchen & Cooking Hacks:

Eliminate Waste! Shavings can be used in Green Smoothies! Cut bacon through the package, wrap and freeze!

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Crazy Broccoli Salad - Light, No Mayo Version. Everything the Classic original has but with a fun, tangy dressing and NO MAYO! #BroccoliSalad #CrazyBroccoliSalad #WackyBroccoliSalad #BroccoliRaisinSunflowerSalad #BroccoliRaisinCashewSalad

16 thoughts on “Crazy Broccoli Salad Lighter No Mayo Version

  1. Erica

    I went with craisins, no nuts, and a dozen cherry tomatoes. We LOVED it! Thank you for the great recipe without mayo. 🙂

  2. I used to think that I did not like raisins in savory foods or salads, but I always liked them; It was just everyone around me saying how much they disliked them. And I imagine the interplay with the broccoli and the bacon really makes this salad rock!

    • It does! I love raisins, although I used to be more give or take on them. I think they are consistently better than they used to be when I was a kid. Dried cherries or cranberries would be good in here, too – something to add in that bit of yielding chew.

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