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Easy Broccoli Bacon Salad

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Broccoli bacon salad is full of fresh ingredients like broccoli florets, red onions, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and bacon and tossed with homemade dressing.

When most people hear the word “salad,” they probably think of a big bowl of lettuce, some shredded carrots, maybe some diced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, croutons, and a drizzle of salad dressing.

That’s the kind of salad I grew up eating. Lettuce, carrots, toss in some white onions, and a healthy does of ranch dressing.

It wasn’t until I got older that I grew to love a good Caesar salad complete with crisp romaine lettuce, shaved Parmesan cheese, homemade croutons, and homemade Caesar dressing.

From there I started to branch out to shaved brussel sprouts salad, crunchy Asian salad, and this broccoli bacon salad.

This salad is full of broccoli florets, crunchy walnuts and sunflower seeds, salty bacon, red onions, and sweet dried cranberries. Then it’s tossed in a tangy sweet mayonnaise dressing.

It’s easy to prepare, and makes a great side dish or full meal.

Broccoli bacon salad in a gray bowl.
Broccoli bacon salad makes an easy side dish.

How to make broccoli bacon salad:

First, start by prepping your ingredients. I can’t emphasize enough the importance prepping everything in advance.

It makes the cooking process so much smoother and cuts down the likelihood of mistakes in the kitchen, and it makes the recipe move much more quickly.

If you don’t have bacon cooked, go head and do that, too. Otherwise, jump right in.

Next, begin making your salad dressing. Start with a medium bowl, and combine the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Collage style photo showing how to make dressing for broccoli salad.
Make the dressing ahead of time, and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Set the dressing in the refrigerator until you’re ready to dress the salad.

Place the broccoli florets in a large mixing bowl. Then add the walnuts, onions, sunflower seeds, cranberries, and bacon.

When you’re ready to serve the salad, pour the dressing over the ingredients, and toss to combine. Make sure to stir well, because the dressing has a tendency to sink to the bottom of the bowl.

Serve the broccoli bacon salad immediately, or store it in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Collage style photo showing how to mix broccoli salad.
Toss all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and dress just before serving.

Do you need to cook broccoli for broccoli bacon salad?

We don’t cook the broccoli for this salad. However, if you’d prefer to eat it cooked rather than raw, we recommend blanching the broccoli for 1 to 2 minutes. This will soften the broccoli slightly, bring out a bright green color, and still leave it with some crunch, which is what you’re looking for in this dish.

Do you need to cook the bacon from scratch?

You can use pre-cooked, microwave bacon or bacon bits if you’d prefer. To shorten the cook time on bacon, try cutting it into small chunks then frying it. Another option is to make Air Fryer Bacon while you prep the other ingredients.

Can this salad be made ahead of time?

Yes, but I wouldn’t add the bacon or the dressing until you’re ready to serve the salad. The bacon will begin to get soggy after it comes into contact with the dressing.

How big should the broccoli florets be?

The broccoli florets should be cut into bite-sized pieces. This may be different depending on the person, but I aim for about 1-inch to 1 1/2-inches in diameter.

What are some add-ins or substitutions for broccoli bacon salad?

Raisins
Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)
Cheddar Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Diced Ham
Pecans
White Onion
Cauliflower
Pomegranate Seeds

Broccoli in a bowl with seeds, nuts, and dressing.

Other broccoli side dishes you may enjoy:

Don’t forget to check out our Broccoli Bacon Salad web story!

Top down view of broccoli salad in a gray serving dish.

Broccoli Bacon Salad

Yield: 6 Cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Broccoli bacon salad is full of fresh ingredients like broccoli florets, red onions, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and bacon and tossed with homemade dressing.

Ingredients

Homemade Dressing:

  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoons Black Pepper

Salad:

  • 4 Cups Broccoli Florets
  • 6 Slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 Cup Walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, diced
  • 1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a separate large bowl, combine the broccoli florets, bacon, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cranberries, and onion.
  3. Pour the mayonnaise dressing over the broccoli salad, and stir to coat. 
  4. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of ½ cup of salad. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 0.5 Cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 240Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 484mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 5g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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