Broccoli Slaw with Cranberry Orange Dressing


Don't toss your broccoli stems! They're sweet and tender, and fantastic tossed with cabbage, carrots, and a tangy cranberry orange dressing for this delicious slaw.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Have you ever had broccoli slaw? Years ago, I made a stupendous discovery (practically every cooking discovery was to me then, as is still now, a revelation).

Broccoli stems, which I usually cut away and discarded when preparing broccoli florets, were perfectly delicious raw.

Broccoli florets, I can’t stand raw, neither the texture nor the taste (why do people insist on putting raw broccoli florets in salads? Shudder).

But the stems? All you have to do is cut away the tough, outer peel. Slice up the peeled stems and they are wonderfully cool and crunchy. Like carrots or celery, great for dipping.

Or, in this case, a broccoli slaw.


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How to Use Broccoli Stems for Slaw

Broccoli stems taste a bit like cabbage, which is unsurprising given that they are both of the brassica family of vegetables. So naturally, the shredded stems work well in a slaw, especially tossed with grated cabbage and carrots.

Someone at the grocery head office must have figured this out too, because these days it’s pretty easy to find pre-grated “broccoli slaw” mixes in the bagged lettuce aisle. Though it’s easy enough to grate your own, just like carrots—you peel and grate.

Cut the stalks away from the broccoli crowns. Peel the tough outer layer with a vegetable peeler. Either use the grater blade of a food processor or the large holes of a box grater to grate the broccoli stalks.


What’s in the dressing for broccoli slaw?

The dressing is wonderfully tangy and slightly sweet with the dried cranberries, balsamic, honey, orange juice, and orange zest. The slaw is perfect for serving alongside pulled pork or with seafood.

The following recipe scales up easily, if you are feeding a crowd.

Make-Ahead and Storage Instructions

You can prep the dressing and the dry salad ingredients for this slaw a day or so ahead of time, just keep it refrigerated. Wait to toss them together until you’re ready to serve.

Any leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge, but keep in mind the cabbage will star to get wilty after a few days.


Updated March 22, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Broccoli Slaw with Cranberry Orange Dressing Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


For the dressing (makes about 1 cup):

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dried sweetened cranberries, plumped up in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes, then drained
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

For the salad:

  • About 6 stalks broccoli (about 4 cups grated; can substitute pre-grated packaged broccoli)
  • 2 cups grated carrots (from 4 to 6 carrots)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (Napa cabbage, green, or red cabbage)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) Kosher salt


1 Prep the broccoli: If using fresh broccoli stalks, cut them away from the broccoli crowns. Peel the tough outer layer with a vegetable peeler. Either use the grater blade of a food processor or the large holes of a box grater to grate the broccoli stalks. You should have about 4 cups of grated broccoli.

peeling broccoli stems for the best broccoli slaw Shredding broccoli stems for easy broccoli slaw

2 Make the dressing: Put the balsamic and red wine vinegars, plumped dried cranberries, mustard, honey, garlic, orange juice, orange zest, and salt into a blender or a mini food processor and pulse until puréed smooth.

Slowly add the olive oil, while pulsing or blending, to form a good emulsion. Then add the mayonnaise and pulse until blended.

3 Assemble the salad: Place grated broccoli stalks, carrots, cabbage, the onions, dried cranberries, orange zest, and Kosher salt into a bowl.

Add the dressing and toss to combine, until the dressing is evenly distributed.

You can make this several hours ahead of time before serving. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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19 Comments / Reviews

No ImageBroccoli Slaw with Cranberry Orange Dressing

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Trisha

    I’m trying to eat healthier. Is there a substitute for the Mayo?

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Paula

    I’ve made this a few times, and it’s easy, tasty, and popular. I use the pre-cut broccoli slaw, and sometimes I vary the vinegars slightly, like a white balsamic or red apple cider, depending on what I’m serving it with. Also great with toasted sunflower seeds on top. I don’t like traditional cole slaw, so I’m really happy to have found this alternative!


  3. Elizabeth

    I made this with pre packaged broccoli slaw mix. It was lovely. I used a bit more orange juice and zest since we were begifted a box of oranges. Yummy and refreshing.


  4. Carolyn Miller

    I have been eating Broc. Slaw for 12 plus years. I must confess to only ever buying the pre-packaged Slaw which is also organic nowadays . I love it raw, steamed and stir fried.

  5. Susan

    I feel the same way about broccoli florets. Those little buds get stuck in your teeth..drives me crazy! I especially like broccoli slaw (the kind you find prepared in the bag, though I could make it myself!) used for stir fry. It retains the crunch yet cooks through quickly. Of course, nothing beats using those stems for slaw!

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Broccoli Slaw with Cranberry Orange Dressing in a white bowlBroccoli Slaw with Cranberry Orange Dressing