Spanish Broccoli & Prawn Salad

Spanish Broccoli & Prawn Salad

Whenever I get an opportunity to bring a dish to a casual gathering (such as a Labor Day picnic), I choose the salad. Or, to be more precise, the salad chooses me.

Invariably the host or hostess says, please bring that strawberry salad you do, or that creamy macaroni salad, or that potato vegetable salad, or that pea and smoked almond salad, or that marinated mushroom salad, or that Chinese noodle salad, or that salad with the tropical vinaigrette, and so forth. The list goes on and on. A girl just can’t have too many salads in her culinary repertoire, now can she?
Sauteing Prawns I created a version of this salad for Cooking Light magazine many moons ago. I remember being so relieved to have salads to work on for awhile, as the editors too often threw me the dessert assignments. Trying to craft hundreds of memorable and satisfying desserts (over a few years), each with such a low calorie ceiling was making me crazy.

This salad has so much color, flavor, and textural contrast, no one will ever notice it is actually low in calories. It’s an explosion on the palate. Perfect for the last official picnic of the summer.

Mise-en-Place for Spanish Broccoli & Prawn Salad

Spanish Broccoli and Prawn Salad

This is a gorgeous, buffet-style salad, suitable for family picnics and other large gatherings. It also makes a colorful addition to a Spanish-style tapas buffet.

INGREDIENT NOTE The prawns really put this salad over the top, flavor-wise, but it is also excellent without them, if you have a need for an all-vegetable salad.


3 pounds broccoli flowerets, trimmed

1½ pounds medium-size prawns, cooked

½ cup Calamata olives, pitted and quartered lengthwise

½ cup diced red onion

½ cup diced yellow bell pepper

½ cup diced red bell pepper

½ cup minced dill pickle

¼ cup thinly sliced green onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil


3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

fine sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil and add the broccoli. Simmer for only a minute or two, tasting periodically to obtain crisp-tender, vivid green broccoli. (The water may not return to the boil before the broccoli is done. That’s fine.)
  2. Immediately drain the broccoli in a large colander and refresh under cold running water until cool. Drain well and pat dry carefully with paper towels.
  3. Combine the broccoli, prawns, olives, red onion, yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, dill pickle, green onion, and garlic in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Toss gently with 2 tablespoons olive oil, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste in a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Keep cool until ready to use.
  6. Just before serving the salad, toss it carefully with the dressing and season to taste with additional salt and pepper as necessary.
  7. Arrange on a large platter, and serve immediately.

Makes 5 quarts; Serves a crowd.

NOTE The salad cannot be dressed in advance because the broccoli darkens with prolonged contact with the acid in the dressing.


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  1. Picnic Ideas And Recipes says

    I visit a lot of sites and blogs and normally they fail to deliver, but this one is different. It’s the real deal! Thank you, I am very grateful to you and it has helped me, particularly the post – Spanish Broccoli & Prawn Salad | LunaCafe. Mary Jane

  2. says

    Hey Susan!

    Thought I’d pop over for a visit and see what the master was doing, and I can see you are up to your old tricks. Making beautiful and delicious foods for all of us to ohh and ahhh. This salad had me at hello. I’m like you, I simple LOVE salads. I think they are one of my favorite foods outside of chocolate.;o)
    Have a delicious evening!
    .-= Dana Zia´s last blog ..The ice cream solution =-.

    • sms bradley says

      Hey Dana! I was just thinking about you. If only chocolate and ice cream were as guilt free as a lovely salad, eh? Love your fruit smoothie ideas. Left a note for you on your blog. …Susan

    • sms bradley says

      Hi Simon and thank you! It’s crazy-wierd how many times Australia has presented itself to my consciousness lately! And here YOU are from Sydney. In the recent issue of Gourmet Traveller, they included a little guidebook called 2010 Australian Restaurant Guide. Do you think it’s a sign? :-) I left a note on your blog. That savory crepe looks incredible! Where’s my plane ticket. :-)

    • sms bradley says

      Thank you Carmen! :-) Love your recent post on the Lemon Lime Cookies. (Would havre left a glowing comment but that didn’t seem to be an option.) The photo is awesome! I too love Sherry Yard’s books.

    • sms bradley says

      Thank you, Catalina! you picture of the sauteing onions on your sie made me drool. I swear I can smell those onions from here. :-) Your cheese strudel looks fabulous as well. I must try that!

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