Asian-style broccoli salad tossed in creamy sesame dressing is a quick side dish ideal for spring and summer BBQs. Quick-blanching the broccoli florets removes a raw taste and makes it a popular Korean broccoli side dish.

Asian style sesame broccoli salad as a side dish.

I love broccoli and am always searching for new ways to enjoy it. What better way than as a light salad, especially in spring and summer?

While I enjoy broccoli salad, I’m not a fan of its raw taste. I really like the Asian-style of cold broccoli salad.

If you’re like me, this quick blanched broccoli salad recipe is a must-try. It’s easy to make with ingredients you likely have on hand.

The blanched broccoli florets are mixed with a nutty sesame dressing made of mayonnaise, toasted crushed sesame seeds, and peanut butter. Cold and refreshing, it’s a tasty side dish that’s great for various meals, and perfect for summer BBQs or potlucks.

A bowl of sesame broccoli salad.

How to Blanch Broccoli for Salad

Blanching broccoli florets makes them tasty for those who don’t like raw broccoli. This quick method makes the broccoli tender yet crisp and keeps the green color bright and appealing.

To blanch the broccoli, start by boiling water in a pan with a generous pinch of salt. Have a bowl of iced water and kitchen paper ready. Cook the broccoli for 1 minute until it’s bright green and crisp-tender. Afterward, strain the broccoli and immediately immerse it in the iced water.

Serving as a Korean Broccoli Side Dish

Are you a fan of Korean BBQ? Then this cold broccoli salad is a perfect Korean side dish. In fact, its ease of preparation and transportability make it an ideal side salad for any BBQ or potluck gatherings.

If you enjoy broccoli, try my tofu broccoli salad for another great recipe idea. It’s vegan, low carb, and keto-friendly. Plus, it’s gluten-free!

Recipe Ingredients and Preparation Tips

Ingredients for making sesame broccoli salad.
  • Fresh Broccoli – The main ingredient for its fresh and crisp broccoli texture. Use both florets and stems.
    • To preserve their crispness and bright green color, blanch the florets briefly and then plunge them into ice water.
    • Make sure they are thoroughly drained; any residual moisture can water down the dressing, affecting the salad’s overall flavor and texture.
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds – Available pre-toasted in most Asian stores, either whole or crushed.
    • I recommend using whole sesame seeds and grinding them yourself to capture the freshest nutty aroma.
    • If pre-toasted seeds are unavailable, toast plain sesame seeds in a skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown for the same effect.

For Creamy Sesame Dressing

  • Mayonnaise – Provides creaminess to the dressing. If you prefer, Greek yogurt is a healthier substitute that still maintains the creamy texture.
  • Soy Sauce – Introduces a subtle umami flavor to the dressing.
  • Honey – Sweetens the dressing. Adjust according to taste, or substitute with sugar if preferred.
  • Lemon Juice or Citron Juice – I use citron juice, but lemon juice works just as well. In the absence of these, rice vinegar or cider vinegar are excellent alternatives.
  • Peanut Butter – For those who adore a deeper nuttiness, adding a bit of peanut butter to the dressing enhances the flavor beautifully. If you are allergic to peanut butter, you can omit this.

How to make Asian Broccoli Salad with Sesame Dressing

Cut Broccoli: Slice a head of broccoli into small bite-sized florets. Don’t throw away the stem. Instead, trim off the tough outer layer and cut the tender inner core into thin slices.

Blanch Broccoli:

  • Begin by heating a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, sprinkle in a generous pinch of salt. Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and let them cook for just 1 minute.
    • This quick boil helps keep their bright green color and crunchy texture, while softening the raw broccoli taste a bit.
  • After boiling, immediately transfer the broccoli to a bowl of ice water or rinse under cold running water to halt the cooking process. Thoroughly drain the broccoli once cooled.
  • Pat dry with a kitchen towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Excess moisture can dilute your salad dressing.

Make Sesame Dressing:

  • Lightly crush the toasted sesame seeds using a mortar and pestle or a suribachi. Alternatively, you can crush them with your hands. You want to keep about half of them coarsely crushed to add texture.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the crushed sesame seeds with mayonnaise, soy sauce, honey, your choice of citrus juice, and peanut butter.

Toss and Serve:

  • Mix the dressing and add the well-drained broccoli to the bowl with the dressing. Toss everything together until the broccoli is evenly coated.
  • This salad can be served chilled or at room temperature, according to your preference.
Nutty Asian broccoli salad with sesame dressing.
Asian sesame broccoli salad as a Korean side dish.

Asian-Style Broccoli Salad with Sesame Dressing

Asian-style broccoli salad tossed in creamy sesame dressing is ideal for spring and summer BBQs. Quick-blanching the broccoli florets removes a raw taste and makes it a popular Korean broccoli side dish.
5 from 2 ratings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head fresh broccoli
  • generous pinches salt

Creamy Sesame Dressing:

Instructions 

  • Cut the Broccoli: Slice a head of broccoli into small florets. Don't throw away the stem. Instead, trim off the tough outer layer and cut the tender inner core into thin slices.
  • Blanch the Broccoli: Begin by heating a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, sprinkle in a generous pinch of salt. Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and let them cook for just 1 minute. This quick boil helps keep their bright green color and crunch, while softening the raw edge a bit.
    After boiling, immediately transfer the broccoli to a bowl of ice water or rinse under cold running water to halt the cooking process. Thoroughly drain the broccoli once cooled; pat dry with a kitchen towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Excess moisture can dilute your salad dressing.
  • Crush the Sesame Seeds: Lightly crush the toasted sesame seeds using a mortar and pestle or a suribachi. Alternatively, you can crush them with your hands. You want to keep about half of them coarsely crushed to add texture.
  • Mix the Dressing: In a big bowl, combine the crushed sesame seeds with mayonnaise, soy sauce, honey, lemon juice, and peanut butter. Season with a pinch of salt and stir everything together well.
  • Combine and Serve: Add the well-drained broccoli to the bowl with the dressing. Toss everything together until the broccoli is evenly coated. This salad can be served chilled or at room temperature, according to your preference.
Calories: 183kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 302mg, Potassium: 532mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 954IU, Vitamin C: 137mg, Calcium: 105mg, Iron: 2mg
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