Broccoli Bacon Salad

This broccoli salad recipe will be your go-to salad for summer potlucks, picnics and cookouts and can be prepped in under 20 minutes!

This Broccoli Salad is the salad of your crunchy, creamy, sweet, savory, refreshing, tangy dreams.  It’s easy, make ahead friendly, stays super fresh, doesn’t wilt, is utterly addicting and always disappears in a flash. This Broccoli Salad recipe is packed with vibrant, fresh broccoli, salty, crispy bacon, creamy Gouda cheese, crunchy Fuji apples, sweet craisins, tangy red onions, crunchy almonds, and roasted sunflower seeds all doused in the BEST light, creamy, herb laced dressing. So, if you’re looking for the best Broccoli Salad recipe to have in your back pocket, this is the ONE!

Summer cookout season is officially here which means it’s time to brings all of your favorite make-ahead salad recipes to potlucks!  If you love make-ahead dishes, you’ll love these warm weather favs:  Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad, Strawberry Broccoli Salad, Creamy Bacon Pea Pasta Salad, Corn Salad, Perfect Fruit Salad, Grape Salad and on and on!

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up close of scooping up broccoli baconn salad

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BROCCOLI SALAD

If there’s one recipe you’ll make again and again this summer and all year long – it’s this unassuming, unexpectedly irresistible Broccoli Salad.  Even my skeptical husband LOVED this salad and kept coming back for the leftovers until every last sunflower seed was gone. The sweet-and-savory, crunchy-creamy combo is utterly divine.

Why You’ll love this BROCCOLI SALAD RECIPE

  • Delicious.  The explosion of flavors and textures will make your taste buds giddy!  What especially sets this easy Broccoli Salad recipe apart from its retro cousins is the use of creamy, buttery Gouda instead of cheddar, sweet, plump craisins instead of raisins and roasted, salted sunflower seeds in addition to sliced almonds. And did I say bacon already?
  • Always a hit!  Everyone will love this Broccoli Bacon Salad and I guarantee multiple people will ask you for the recipe wherever you serve it.  It’s tasty as a casual dinner side or the star at picnics, potlucks, pool parties and barbecues and knock your-socks-off fabulous enough for special occasions like Easter, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day.  Wherever food is served, this Broccoli Salad recipe is the answer!
  • The best Broccoli Salad Dressing.  The light yet creamy mayonnaise-based dressing is made with part Greek yogurt for added tanginess and a healthier spin. It’s infused with parsley, chives, dill and garlic which laces the entire salad with amped up herb flavor to compliment the salty, savory bacon.
  • Quick and easy. Who says quick and easy can’t be spectacular?!  I challenge you to make anything as tasty as this easy Broccoli Salad in under 20 minutes!   
  • Make ahead.  Broccoli Salad can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for days until you’re ready to serve it, which makes it perfect for potlucks and barbecues without any last-minute stress!  In fact, it tastes even better chilled and won’t wilt, weep or get soggy.  This also means it makes great leftovers should you be so lucky.
  • Versatile.  This Broccoli Salad recipe is incredibly versatile as long as you keep the balance of crunchy, creamy, sweet and savory.  Feel free to add your favorite veggies, fruit or nuts. I’ve detailed all sorts of recipe variations below.

WHAT DO YOU PUT IN easy BROCCOLI SALAD Recipe?

This Broccoli Salad recipe is made with broccoli, bacon, Gouda cheese, apples, craisins, red onions, almonds, and roasted sunflower seeds. Here are a few helpful notes about the ingredients (you’ll find recipe with full measurements at the bottom of the post):

  • Broccoli: you will need 6 cups fresh broccoli florets, about 2-3 heads of broccoli.  Make sure the broccoli is fresh.  It should be firm, never soft or slimy; green, not yellow or even a slight yellow hue; and smell fresh, never bitter or sour.  After you select your fresh broccoli, it should stay fresh in the fridge for 4-5 days. You can chop the broccoli yourself or pick up some pre-chopped broccoli florets at the grocery store.  The pre-chopped florets will likely need to be chopped smaller for the salad.
  • Bacon: makes this Broccoli BACON Salad and will convert even the toughest critics – because who doesn’t love bacon?  You will need 8 ounces, about 8-9 slices of thick-cut bacon. Please use only thick cut bacon because it holds up better when tossed in the creamy dressing and doesn’t get lost.  Make sure to fry it up until it’s super crispy! If you’re looking to save calories you can use turkey bacon or vegan bacon.
  • Apple: you will need one sweet apple such as Fuji or Honeycrisp.  Their bright, sweet crunchiness beautifully complements the salty, savory bacon. If you prep the salad ahead of time, don’t worry, the apples won’t turn brown due to the vinegar in the dressing.
  • Nuts: sliced almonds add rich flavor and crunch and are the perfect size to not overwhelm the salad. If you have the option, purchase toasted sliced almonds, otherwise consider briefly toasting them in a skillet or the oven to enhance their flavor, be careful though, they can burn quickly!
  • Dried cranberries:  also known as craisins, are plump, sweet, juicy gems in the salad – you will crave them in every bite!  I definitely don’t recommend skipping the craisins, they are a key, balancing component.  Craisins are often located next to the salad condiments/toppers at the end of the produce aisle or they’re sold in the bulk bins at Sprouts. 
  • Red onion:  adds a zippy tangy freshness.  Make sure to finely dice the red onions so they aren’t too strong. If you prefer a milder onion flavor, soak the diced onions in cold water for 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
  • Cheese: I am obsessed with Gouda cheese to make the best Broccoli Salad recipe.  It classes up the salad and tastes divine with its mild, buttery sweetness.  I suggest young Gouda for its milder flavor and softer texter as opposed to aged/smoked Gouda, but it’s totally up to you!   Chop the Gouda into small cubes, about ¼-inch so it’s evenly dispersed throughout the salad.
  • Sunflower seeds:  are a secret ingredient that I add to every salad.  They are addicting on their own which translates into addictive salad!  Make sure to purchase roasted and salted sunflower seeds for the best flavor.
top view showing how to make best broccoli salad by tossing all of the ingredients together in a white bowl

BROCCOLI SALAD dressing

This Broccoli Salad Dressing is a nod to the retro dressing we all know and love but a few touches make it way better. It’s a creamy, mayonnaise-based dressing made with both mayo and nonfat Greek yogurt so it’s lighter and healthier. You can even use fat free, low-fat or olive oil mayonnaise. The resulting Broccoli Salad Dressing is wonderfully silky and just creamy enough to cradle all your Broccoli Salad ingredients.

The creaminess of the dressing is balanced by tangy red wine vinegar and sweetened with a touch of sugar so it’s perfectly tangy with a kiss of sweetness. To finish it off, the dressing is laced with fresh herbs you find in ranch dressing so it’s fantastically flavorful without being overpowering.

I think the dressing is perfect as is, but feel free to adjust the ingredient amounts, to make the dressing just how you like it with bit more sugar for sweeter or a bit more vinegar for tangier.

The Broccoli Salad Dressing is made with: 

  • Mayonnaise:  provides the creamy base of the dressing and binds all of the ingredients together.  Even if you don’t like mayo, I don’t suggest skipping because it prevents the dressing ingredients from separating – and your dressing will not taste like mayo!  Please use real mayonnaise and not miracle whip.  
  • Plain Greek Yogurt: adds a delightful tanginess to the dressing. I used nonfat and it was wonderfully creamy. Greek yogurt varies widely in tanginess, so if you find the dressing is too tangy just add a little more sugar.  You may use nonfat or regular Greek yogurt but don’t use regular yogurt because it is not nearly as thick as Greek yogurt.  You may also use sour cream in place of the sugar.
  • Red wine vinegar: adds a fruity tanginess to the dressing.  Please don’t substitute with apple cider vinegar or white vinegar or the flavor profile won’t be the same.    
  • Sugar: just 2 tablespoons sweetens the dressing and complements the vinegar.  Use more or less to taste.
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper and garlic powder round out the flavor profile.
  • Herbs: Fresh chives, dill and parsley add herbalicious notes and a whisper of ranch dressing.  If you don’t have fresh herbs, you may substitute with ⅓ the amount of dried.   

BROCCOLI SALAD recipe VARIATIONS:

Broccoli Salad is extremely flexible and can be made with a variety of ingredients, as long as you maintain the balance of sweet, savory, creamy and crunchy in the form of fruit, dried berries, nuts and seeds.  So, feel free to swap in your favs or whatever you have on hand.   Here are a few ideas:

  • Cheese: I love Bacon Broccoli Salad with Gouda but it would still be delicious with sharp cheddar. If using cheddar, you can it cube small or grate on the largest holes of your grater. You can also use crumbled feta cheese, crumbled goat cheese or crumbled gorgonzola.
  • Fruit:  you may swap the apples for another sweet fruit such as pears, seedless grapes, strawberries, blueberries, chopped pineapple, clementine oranges, chopped peaches, etc.  You can even add chopped avocados like in my Strawberry Avocado Broccoli Salad.
  • Nuts: choose your favorite nuts such as pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, or macadamia nuts.  In addition, try some toasted coconut possibly with pineapple and cashews or macadamia nuts for a tropical flair.
  • Seeds:  any crunchy, roasted, salted seeds will taste great like pepitas, pumpkin seeds or pine nuts.
  • Dried fruit: try swapping the craisins for about any dried fruit such as raisins, dried apricots or dried cherries.
  • Vegetables: you can add practically any vegetable such as shredded carrots, chopped kale, red bell peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, etc. 
  • Protein:  swap some of the broccoli for protein such as shredded rotisserie chicken, grilled shrimp, or hard-boiled eggs.
  • Dressing: you can swap the red wine vinegar with lemon juice for a lemon dressing.
  • Poppy seeds:  add 1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds to the dressing.
  • Make it vegan/vegetarian:   For vegetarian, use vegan bacon. For vegan or plant-based, omit the cheese or use dairy-free cheese, use vegan mayo, dairy free yogurt and vegan bacon. 
  • Make it dairy free:  similar to above, omit the cheese or use dairy-free cheese and use dairy free yogurt.
  • Gluten free: this Broccoli Salad is already gluten free!
top view showing how to make easy broccoli salad by adding broccoli, bacon cheese, apples, nuts, sunflower seeds and craisins to a white bowl

Do you steam broccoli for broccoli salad?

Nope!  Raw broccoli is the standard in Broccoli Salad and gives the broccoli salad its wonderful signature texture. If you’ve never had broccoli salad before, the fresh texture is swoon worthy – and it stays crunchy for days!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tossed a salad (because I have to add dressing to my salads for photo shoots) and can’t eat all of it because it gets soggy – but not this easy Broccoli Salad – it is a texture lover’s dream. Additionally,  we’re cutting the broccoli into small pieces so it’s not a crunch overload and the broccoli softens slightly after marinating in the dressing.

HOW TO blanch broccoli

If you absolutely cringe at the thought of raw broccoli, then I have the perfect solution for you so you can still enjoy this Broccoli Salad!  Simply blanch the broccoli for 1-2 minute– no more.  The broccoli will remain firm so it won’t fall apart in your salad but will taste a little less raw.

To blanch broccoli:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. While you’re waiting for your water to boil, prepare a bowl of ice water large enough to accommodate your broccoli.
  3. Add broccoli florets to boiling water and cook 1-2 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the broccoli.
  4. Drain broccoli and immediately transfer to prepared ice bath to stop the cooking.
  5. Allow broccoli to cool completely.
  6. Drain broccoli well before adding to the salad bowl.

How to Make Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad is one of the easiest summer salads you will ever make!   Here’s how:

  • Make dressing: add all of the dressing ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. 
top view showing how to make broccoli salad dressing by adding mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, sugar and spices to a glass bowl,
  • Prep salad ingredients: wash the broccoli and cut it into bite-sized pieces; drain very well. Chop the apples, red onion and Gouda. That’s all the chopping there is! 
  • Toss:  add the broccoli, apples, red onions, craisins, cheese and almonds to a large bowl.  Drizzle with all of the dressing and toss until evenly combined.
  • Chill: refrigerate the Broccoli Salad for about an hour if you have time.  Chilling the salad gives the broccoli a chance to soak up the dressing and for the sweet, savory, creamy flavors to mingle resulting in an even more flavorful salad. 
  • Cook bacon: anytime while the salad is chilling, cook the bacon. Working in batches, place the strips of bacon in a single layer in a large, cold/unheated cast iron skillet without any oil.  Increase heat to medium and cook until browned and crispy, flipping occasionally.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and let drain. Crumble and add to the salad just before serving along with the sunflower seeds.
top view showing how to make broccoli  salad recipe by drizzling broccoli, bacon cheese, apples with dressing in  white bowl

Tips for the best broccoli salad recipe

This Broccoli Salad recipe is super simple to make, but here are a few tips for the best Broccoli Salad:

  • How do you cut broccoli florets for broccoli salad?  When cutting your broccoli, cut it into small florets, which usually means cutting your florets in half.  You want small pieces of broccoli because the broccoli remains raw.  Small pieces will allow the broccoli to soften a bit when marinated in the dressing.  Additionally, small pieces of broccoli means more of the surface of the broccoli gets coated in dressing and ensures every bite is full of goodies. 
  • Why is my broccoli salad watery?  Be sure the broccoli is dried well with clean kitchen towels after washing, otherwise it will make your dressing, and consequently your salad watery.   
  • Can I use raw sunflower seeds and almonds?  Please use salted, roasted sunflower seeds and toasted almonds because they are much more flavorful.  You can toast the sliced almonds yourself in a skillet without any oil for just a couple minutes. Watch them carefully because they burn easily!
  • How do I keep the bacon crispy?  Thick cut bacon retains its meaty texture better than classic bacon, but it still loses its crunch – delish, just not crunchy.  For the ultimate crunch experience, add the bacon just before serving.  
  • How do I make the dressing less sweet/tangy?   Some people like tangier dressing, some people prefer sweeter dressing so I recommend starting with the recipe as written and adjusting to taste, adding additional sugar for sweeter or vinegar for tangier one teaspoon at a time.
  • Can I add different ingredients?  The salad ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions.  You can add/swap any ingredients for your favorite veggies and fruits as long as you maintain a balance of sweet, tangy, and crunchy; if you swap out an ingredient, replace it with something with a similar flavor profile and texture. 
  • What if I don’t like red onions?  I recommend soaking the sliced red onions in water first to remove some of the bite if you tend to find red onions too strong. To do this, place the chopped red onion in a fine mesh sieve and submerge the sieve in a large bowl of water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the sieve and thoroughly dry onions with a paper towel.
  • Can I scale this recipe? This recipe is easy to scale up for large crowds/potlucks or down in half for lunches by using the up and down arrow in the recipe card next to the servings.  Before you consider halving the recipe, remember Broccoli Salad keeps super well and I think you’ll want all the leftovers you can get!

Do you have to chill broccoli salad?

Broccoli salad is tasty if eaten right away but is exponentially more delicious if allowed to chill for at least one hour.  Here’s why:

  • Chilling makes the broccoli more tender.  Just one hour will slightly soften the broccoli into the perfect texture.  This also makes the broccoli more flavorful as it soaks up some of the dressing.   
  • Chilling makes the salad more flavorful. As with all dressings, chilling deepens, melds and marries all of the flavors so it tastes more complex and more flavorful than freshly made.

How long does broccoli salad last? 

Broccoli salad can be stored for 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Even on day 3, the salad will still taste fresh, crunchy and fabulous. The bacon will soften but still taste salty, savory and meaty.  The apples won’t brown due to the yogurt and vinegar in the dressing.  Leftover broccoli salad is delicious for lunch, snacks and anytime the cravings strike.

CAN YOU MAKE BROCCOLI SALAD IN advance?

Broccoli Salad can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  If chilling to make ahead, reserve the bacon and sunflower seeds and add just before serving.  If you don’t have time to make the whole salad in advance, then you can still make the dressing. Store the dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in advance.

Can you eat broccoli salad right away?

Yes, this Broccoli Salad can be served right away, although I prefer to let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to let all of the flavors really meld together.

 showing how to make best broccoli  salad recipe by tossing the broccoli bacon, cheese and apples with the dressing

Broccoli Salad Serving Suggestions

Broccoli Salad is wonderfully versatile – it goes with practically everything!  The more appropriate question is, what doesn’t broccoli salad go with?  It’s fabulous at potlucks, picnics and barbecues alongside all of your favorite cookout foods but it’s equally delicious alongside comforting dinner dishes and it holds its own as part of your holiday spread.  Here are just a few recipes Broccoli Salad goes with, but the possibilities are endless!   

IS BROCCOLI SALAD GOOD FOR YOU?

Your body LOVES broccoli!   Broccoli is low in calories but a great source of vitamins B, K and C, a good source of folic acid, beta-carotene.   It also provides  B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, fiber, potassium, and zinc.  Another fun fact, one cup of broccoli contains as much vitamin C as an orange!   Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which offer potent anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer health benefits. 

How to make healthy Broccoli Salad

Broccoli salad is meant to be an indulgent, crowd pleasing side dish that’s so worth the occasional calorie splurge. If you would like Broccoli Salad to make more of a regular appearance (I get you), then there are a few modifications you can try to make it a little healthier:

  • Use olive oil mayo.  Instead of using regular mayo, try using mayonnaise made with olive oil (it will say right on the label).  Olive oil mayo traditionally has half the fat of regular mayonnaise but is still super creamy and tastes better than reduced fat mayo in my opinion. Of course, you can also use traditional nonfat and reduced fat mayo.
  • Use nonfat Greek yogurt.  This is what I used in this recipe and it was super creamy! 
  • Use less cheese or swap cheese.  By using half of the cheese, you save half of the calories!  You can also choose a lower calorie cheese such as feta with 75 calories per ounce verses Gouda’s 100 calories per ounce.
  • Use turkey bacon.   Turkey bacon has about ⅓ less fat than regular bacon, including less “bad’ fats.”  It also has a lower glycemic index. Alternatively, use vegan bacon.
  • Use vegan bacon. Vegan bacon or vegan bacon bits might sound odd, but when done right can be crispy, smoky and work great as a bacon alternative to make a healthier Broccoli Salad. There are several vegan bacon options out there made from either tofu (soy), tempeh, eggplant, coconut, or mushrooms. A 2 ounce serving of vegan bacon ranges from .5 grams of fat to 4.5 grams of fat compared to real bacons 22 grams.  If you’re looking to make your own vegan bacon, check out this post by Love and Lemons – it almost has me converted, almost.
top view showing how to serve broccoli salad recipe by adding to a serving bowl

Broccoli salad facts/Commonly Asked Questions

Should broccoli be washed?

Yes, especially if eaten raw like in this Broccoli Salad. Broccoli needs to be washed to remove dirt, pesticides, and even bugs.

How do you wash broccoli? 

To enjoy raw broccoli, first clean the head of broccoli by running it under cold water. Use your fingers to rub clean any noticeably dirty spots.  You can also immerse the head of broccoli into water and rinse or into a water/vinegar bath.  Gently but thoroughly pat the broccoli with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels until it’s completely dry. Wet broccoli will result in a watery Broccoli Salad.

How do you cut broccoli for Broccoli Salad?

Lay a head of broccoli on its side on a cutting board.  Slice off the head of broccoli, close to the crown to cut the broccoli florets away from the main stem. Slice each floret into pieces, about ½-inch wide, cutting off any excess stem as needed.

When should you cut broccoli?

Look for broccoli whose florets are deep green with small, tightly packed buds, this means its ready to harvest and cut and will boast the best flavor and texture.

Do you steam broccoli for Broccoli Salad?

No, you don’t need to steam broccoli for Broccoli Salad, otherwise it can be too soft and fall apart.  If you’d like to make it slightly more tender but still retain the crunch, blanch the broccoli for 1 minute then transfer it to an ice bath.  The broccoli will still be firm enough for the salad but taste less raw.

Can I eat broccoli raw?

Yes, please do! Broccoli is a delicious, nutrient-packed vegetable that can be eaten safely raw or cooked.  Both the florets and stems are completely safe to eat, however, the stems may be stringy and tougher to chew. If you’re looking for the healthiest way to consume broccoli, however, raw is the way to go. Different cooking methods i.e., sautéing, steaming, boiling, or roasting can affect its nutritional value.  For example, broccoli is rich in vitamin C and chlorophyll, which is highly heat sensitive, and can be depleted based on the cooking method. Stir frying broccoli can reduce the Vitamin C as much as 38%. Broccoli is also rich in the natural plant compound sulforaphane which has been linked to various health benefits and may help protect against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and digestive issues.  Recent research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that cooking broccoli locks sulforaphane in, making it unavailable to your body. Or in other words, it’s easier for your body to absorb sulforaphane from raw broccoli than cooked broccoli.

Can I make broccoli salad ahead of time? 

I’ve detailed full make ahead instructions above, so get giddy because you can make the salad 3 days ahead of time for stress free entertaining.

More broccoli recipes

Broccoli is delicious in so many forms!  Here are some favorite broccoli recipes that you should try:

  • Strawberry Avocado Broccoli Salad:  is a fun spin on traditional Broccoli Salad made with strawberries, avocados, pears, and feta in a creamy poppy seed dressing.  It’s easy, make ahead, texture packed, crunchy, fresh, sweet and savory!   
  • Roasted Parmesan Broccoli:  makes a quick and easy, irresistible side dish all made in one pan for easy cleanup.  It boasts tantalizing crispy tops and salty Parmesan that goes with practically everything!
  • Beef and Broccoli:  has been one of my most popular recipes since I posted it in 2014!  It’s literally better than any Chinese takeout and easy to make – win, win!
  • Chicken and Broccoli: a fast, flavorful stir fry loaded with juicy chicken and crisp-tender broccoli enveloped in a savory garlic, ginger stir fry sauce complimented by hot steaming rice on your table in 30 minutes!
  • Broccoli Cheese Soup:  mega flavorful, intensely creamy, comforting, easy, and on your table in just over 30 minutes AND it’s deceitfully decadent but lightened up!
  • Chicken Divan: possibly my favorite casserole of all time.  This childhood favorite is made from scratch without any condensed soups or mayo, just layers of juicy chicken and tender broccoli in the most flavorful rich, creamy cheese sauce all topped with golden crispy panko. 
  • Broccoli Onion Frittata: is creamy, soft and custardy loaded with bacon, broccoli, sweet potatoes, caramelized onions and cheese for an explosion of texture and flavor. 
  • Pasta Primavera: loaded with fresh broccoli, squash, zucchini, asparagus, bell peppers, tomatoes and peas, tossed in a light, garlicky, lemon cream sauce, on your table in 30 minutes!
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta:  is quick, easy and simply irresistible.  It’s smothered in a lightened up cheesy ranch sauce with bacon, broccoli and bell peppers.
up close of broccoli bacon salad recipe showing howcreamy it is

Broccoli Bacon Salad

This Broccoli Salad will be your go-to salad for summer potlucks, picnics and cookouts and can be prepped in under 20 minutes! It’s easy, make ahead friendly, stays super fresh, doesn’t wilt, is utterly addicting and always disappears in a flash. This Broccoli Salad recipe is packed with vibrant, fresh broccoli, salty, crispy bacon, creamy Gouda cheese, crunchy Fuji apples, sweet craisins, tangy red onions, crunchy almonds, and roasted sunflower seeds all doused in the BEST light, creamy, herb laced dressing.
Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

BROCCOLI SALAD

  • 6 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) Gouda, cubed small (may sub sharp cheddar)
  • 1 sweet apple (like Fuji) chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled

DRESSING

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, nonfat works great
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill or 1 tsp dried
  • 1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, salt, pepper

Instructions

  • Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together in a medium bowl; set side.
  • Add all of the Salad Ingredients to a large bowl except bacon and sunflower seeds.
  • Pour dressing over the salad and toss until all of the ingredients are evenly coated in the dressing.
  • The salad can be served immediately, but for best flavor, refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Add the sunflower seeds and bacon and toss again before serving. Keep refrigerated if not consuming right away.

Video

Notes

  • Thoroughly dry broccoli after washing, otherwise it will make your dressing, and consequently your salad watery.   
  • Customize the dressing how YOU like it.  Greek yogurt varies wildly in tanginess. In addition, some people prefer tangier dressing, some people prefer sweeter dressing, so I recommend starting with the recipe as written and adjusting to taste, adding additional sugar for sweeter or vinegar for tangier one teaspoon at a time. 
  • Can I add different ingredients?  The salad ingredients and measurements are simply suggestions.  You can add/swap any ingredients for your favorite veggies and fruits as long as you maintain a balance of sweet, tangy, and crunchy; if you swap out an ingredient, replace it with something with a similar flavor profile and texture.   See the post for all sorts of recipe variation ideas.
  • Storage:  Broccoli Salad can be stored for 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Even on day 3, the salad will still taste fresh, crunchy and fabulous. The bacon will soften but still taste salty, savory and meaty.  The apples won’t brown due to the yogurt and vinegar in the dressing.  Leftover broccoli salad is delicious for lunch, snacks and anytime the cravings strike.
  • Make Ahead:  Broccoli Salad can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  If chilling to make ahead, reserve the bacon and sunflower seeds and add just before serving.  If you don’t have time to make the whole salad in advance, then you can still make the dressing. Store the dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in advance.

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12 Comments

  1. Senachie says

    It would be so helpful if you could post along with your recipes, some basic nutritional information like calories, sodium, and carbs per serving.

  2. Laura says

    This was delicious! I love broccoli salad and this recipe just made me love it even more. Best way to eat broccoli!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Laura, I’m so pleased you loved it as much as us!

  3. Andrea says

    Love this salad! I need to make it dairy free for a friend. Would it be OK to just replace the yogurt with more mayo?

    • Jen says

      Thanks Andrea! You can use a dairy free yogurt for a lighter option, otherwise, yes, you can swap it with additional mayo. More mayo will be a little thicker and less tangy so you may need to add a splash of red wine vinegar and/or milk. Good luck!

  4. Stephanie says

    Made this yesterday as a side to some bbq ribs and it was delicious. Unlike other regular broccoli salad recipes, this has a lot of herbs in the sweet and tangy dressing which really gave it a great flavor. So many wonderful tastes and textures with the nuts, fruit and cheese, definitely another recipe to be made again. Thank you!

    • Jen says

      Happy 4th of July Stephanie! I wanted the dressing to have a hint of ranch so I added those same herbs, I’m so pleased you appreciated it and loved the salad!

  5. Mability says

    Wow! I just made this salad for a bbq today and it is another delicious recipe that is spot on. Over the holiday weekend I made your cucumber salad and I thought it was fantastic especially for potluck bbq’s.

    This one is just as good if not better! I can’t get enough of your scrumptious salads. I’m going to try the brocolli strawberry next but it will be hard to beat this one.

    Thanks so much for the wonderful recipes, explanations and helpful tips, etc.

    :PS: I think you meant to say that you can substitue sour cream for yogurt, not use sour cream in lieu of sugar. It’s b

    Fabulous

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for the awesome review, I’m so pleased you loved this salad as well! I’ll be curious which broccoli salad you like better? Keep me posted! Thanks for making my recipes and for taking the time to comment!

  6. Rachel says

    This is a texture lover’s dream with so many different things going on with each bite. I made it as a transition between summer and fall. I scaled back the sugar to 1 T and would go down to 1 t next time I make this (really don’t like sweet dressings) with more vinegar for additional tang. I also scaled back the bacon with no regrets. This is going to be perfect for taking with lunch. Thanks for another great recipe.

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Rachel, I’m so pleased you loved it!

5 Secrets to
30 Minute Meals

Tips, tricks & recipes to get dinner on the table fast!

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