Broccoli Salad Recipe – Dinner at the Zoo

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This broccoli salad recipe is a blend of fresh broccoli florets, apples, bacon, red onion and sunflower seeds, all tossed in a creamy dressing. A classic salad that feeds a crowd and is perfect for potlucks and family gatherings.

You can never go wrong with a cool salad on a warm day, my family goes crazy for creamy cucumber salad and chickpea avocado salad. You can also never go wrong with broccoli salad, because bacon makes everything taste better!

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Broccoli salad in a creamy dressing topped with sunflower seeds and bacon.

Broccoli salad is a classic dish that’s enjoyed year round at picnics and parties. It’s easy to make, feeds a large group and is totally irresistible. In my opinion, this version of broccoli salad is the best one around – it’s got plenty of bacon, a hint of sweetness from the apples and cranberries, and a nice crunch from the sunflower seeds. I get rave reviews every time I serve this dish!

How do you make broccoli salad?

This recipe starts with broccoli florets. You can either buy a few heads of broccoli and chop it yourself, or buy a bag of pre-cut florets to save a little time. The broccoli is combined with bacon, apples, dried cranberries, red onion and sunflower seeds, then tossed in a creamy dressing.

Broccoli florets, bacon, apples, dried cranberries, red onion and sunflower seeds in a bowl.

Tips for broccoli salad

  • This recipe calls for 4 cups of broccoli florets, which is the equivalent of 1 and 1/2 medium sized heads, or 1 large head.
  • I use Pink Lady apples in this recipe, other great choices are Braeburn or Honeycrisp.
  • Make sure you dice your onion very fine so that you don’t end up with large pieces in each bite.
  • Broccoli salad can be made up to 8 hours before you plan to serve it. If you’re making your salad in advance, omit the bacon and apple and stir those ingredients in right before serving.

Can broccoli be eaten raw?

Broccoli can absolutely be eaten raw and is traditionally served raw in broccoli salad. If you prefer, you can use lightly steamed or blanched broccoli instead.

Creamy dressing being poured over a bowl of broccoli salad ingredients.

How long can you keep broccoli salad in the fridge?

Broccoli salad will last approximately 3-4 days in the fridge. I find that this salad is best enjoyed within 24 hours of when it’s made.

A bowl of broccoli salad made with dried cranberries, apples, bacon and sunflower seeds in a creamy dressing.

Broccoli Salad Variations

While I love this recipe as written, sometimes I change up the ingredients a bit depending on what I have on hand.

  • Fruit: Try using raisins instead of cranberries, or pears instead of apples.
  • Cheese: Small cubes of cheddar cheese is a nice addition to this salad.
  • Nuts: Sunflower seeds are traditional, but I’ve also used sliced almonds or chopped pecans with great results.
  • Cauliflower: Try using 1/2 broccoli and 1/2 cauliflower florets for a different flavor. Or you can use all cauliflower florets if you’re a fan!
  • Dressing: Not a fan of mayonnaise? Try plain Greek yogurt instead!

A serving spoon in a bowl of bacon broccoli salad.

I have to say, this salad is irresistible – it’s the perfect combination of sweet, savory, crunchy and creamy. Give it a try and you’ll find that everyone will be asking you for the recipe!

More salad recipes you’ll enjoy

Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad recipe is a blend of fresh broccoli florets, apples, bacon, red onion and sunflower seeds, all tossed in a creamy dressing. A classic salad that feeds a crowd and is perfect for potlucks and family gatherings.

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 4 cups broccoli florets cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1 apple diced
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

For the dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Place the broccoli, red onion, bacon, apple, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper.

  • Pour the dressing over the broccoli and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  • Place the salad in a serving bowl. Top with parsley and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 206mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 6.3% | Vitamin C: 51.1% | Calcium: 3.2% | Iron: 5.1%

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