by Olena

Broccoli Salad

by Olena

4.8 from 11 reviews

The Best Broccoli Salad combines fresh broccoli, crispy bacon, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, shredded cheese and creamy dressing. This easy salad is the best of both worlds – healthier and flavorful.

We served this broccoli salad recipe with honey garlic chicken. Kids loved it!

broccoli salad

Broccoli Salad Recipe

It took me 20 years of living in Canada to love a broccoli salad. But don’t you kinda agree that deli and bottled dressing versions are less than even OK? Now not this broccoli salad recipe. It is fresh and vibrant, perfect summer or any time salad, or an Easter side dish that comes together in less than 30 minutes.

We now added this salad to our regular rotation because our family just loves it. Even my husband, Alex, who doesn’t generally eat just any creamy soup or salad. Unless it is made by me because he knows it is lighter. 🙂

So, this broccoli salad has everything it should have. It is the best of both worlds – healthy veggies and seeds combined with everyone’s favorite bacon and creamy dressing. I always say that moderation is key when living a healthy lifestyle, at least for us. And this salad is a proof of that. Pinky promise, it is the best!

closeup of broccoli salad

Ingredients You Will Need

Everyone loves broccoli salad with their own twist. And good news is that it is highly customizable.

  • Broccoli for broccoli salad is usually raw. You can blanch broccoli in a pot with boiling water for 1 minute. Then transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking process and drain really well before adding to a salad. You can buy pre-chopped broccoli but I find a head of broccoli chopped at home way more fresh.
  • Yogurt + mayo make creamy and balanced dressing. On its own, yogurt is too tart. And 3/4 cup mayo is too much.
  • Dried cranberries: I try to buy unsweetened, doesn’t always work out haha. Raisins or grapes would also work well.
  • Sunflower seeds: I try to buy sunflower seeds in bulk so I can smell how fresh they are haha. Don’t laugh but stale seeds have ruined my food in the past.
  • Red onion is more mild than yellow or white onion and looks pretty.
  • Bacon: Let’s just agree that if a little bit of  crumbled bacon makes us eat more broccoli, we should add it.
  • Cheese: The thicker the shred, the better for a broccoli salad. Do not use pre-shredded store bought thin cheese. Grate your own into thickers pieces.

broccoli, craisins, sunflower seeds, cheese and bacon drizzled with dressing

How to Make Broccoli Salad

Broccoli salad is quite sturdy and tastes even better in a few hours and can be made ahead.

  • Bake bacon in 400 degrees F preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until crispy. I line baking sheet with silicone mat for easy clean up and drain fat into a jar to use for cooking. Transfer bacon on triple folded paper towel to drain.
  • While bacon is baking, chop broccoli florets into bite size pieces. I prefer to cut a floret into 4 quarters. You can also peel and chop the stem, a heck of a nutrition power house. I do it, especially with organic broccoli. Or save for spiralizing one day.
  • Add red onion, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries to a large salad bowl.
  • Make dressing by combining mayo and yogurt in a medium bowl. I usually add oil based dressing ingredients straight to a salad bowl. But with creamy dressing I find mixed separately is better.
  • Crumble bacon, drizzle dressing, stir and let salad sit. While you can serve broccoli salad right away, I prefer to let flavors “marry each other” in the fridge for about 30 minutes – 2 hours.

baking tray of baconglass measuring cup full of broccoli florets

container of greek yogurt and jar of avocado mayonnaisecooked bacon in a dish

broccoli, red onion, sunflower seeds, bacon, craisins and cheese in bowl; unmixed

How to Make Ahead and Store

To make ahead, combine all broccoli salad ingredients, except seeds, and do not stir. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Store seeds separately in a container in a pantry or on a counter, otherwise they will become soggy in the fridge. Stir broccoli salad 30 mins – 2 hours before serving.

Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days. Broccoli is a firm vegetable and doesn’t become soggy quickly.

broccoli salad in a white bowl beside linen towel

Serving Suggestions

If you do not serve broccoli salad during Easter, potluck or BBQ here are a few dinner ideas for it:

More Healthy Salad Recipes

broccoli salad served in white bowl

Print

Broccoli Salad

broccoli salad

4.8 from 11 reviews

The Best Broccoli Salad combines fresh broccoli, crispy bacon, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, shredded cheese and creamy dressing. This easy salad is the best of both worlds – healthier and flavorful. We served this broccoli salad recipe with honey garlic chicken. Kids loved it!

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Cook + Oven
  • Cuisine: North American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of raw broccoli (5 cups), chopped
  • 5 bacon strips, low sodium
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (2%+ fat)
  • 1/4 cup quality mayo (I use avocado oil one)
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line large baking sheet with silicone mat or unbleached parchment paper. Place bacon strips on it and bake for about 20 minutes or until crispy. After transfer bacon on triple folded paper towel to drain.
  2. While bacon is baking, chop broccoli florets into bite size pieces and place in a large salad bowl.
  3. Add red onion, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and cheese.
  4. Make dressing by combining mayo and yogurt in a medium bowl.
  5. Crumble bacon, drizzle dressing, stir and let salad sit.
  6. While you can serve broccoli salad right away, I prefer to let flavors “marry each other” in the fridge for about 30 minutes – 2 hours.
  7. We served salad with honey garlic chicken. In summer, grilled chicken breast and corn on the cob would be so appropriate.

Make ahead: Combine all broccoli salad ingredients, except seeds, and do not stir. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Add seeds before serving otherwise they will become soggy in the fridge. Stir broccoli salad 30 mins – 2 hours before serving.

Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days. Broccoli is sturdy and doesn’t become soggy.

Notes

  • I line baking sheet with silicone mat for easy clean up and drain fat into a jar to use for cooking.
  • Usually broccoli salad is made with raw broccoli. But you can blanch it in a pot with boiling water for 1 minute. Then cool in ice bath, drain well and add to salad.
  • I prefer taste of freshly chopped broccoli but you can use chopped in bags.
  • Raisins or grapes would go well instead of cranberries.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

25 comments on “Broccoli Salad

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  1. Made it this evening absolutely yummy and it’s true there was not a strong broccoli taste at all? Will defo be doing again and the cauliflower potato salad too ❤️❤️

  2. Another great recipe! Thanks Olena! I had fat free yogurt so I added a small box of raisins to sweeten it up a little. I like that the recipes have whole foods. My husband love this! I finally found healthy recipes that are fun and easy to make!

  3. I was missing dried cranberries but it still tasted sooooo good. As a bachelor who’s disastrous in the kitchen this has become my go to dish. My family also were in disbelief that I was taking Broccoli.

    So thank you !!!!

  4. This is a delicious salad!! I highly recommend. We had it on it’s own as a meal and it was extremely satisfying.

  5. We really enjoyed this recipe. In fact after giving the recipe to my daughter-in-law she made it for her family a few days later, and sent me a picture of it. Hers looked equally delicious, as when I made it.
    Really enjoyed the lower calorie version of the dressing, in comparison to the way we usually make it, for Broccoli Salad.

  6. I gave this 4 stars. I found the yogurt dressing a smart substitution but not as rich as the traditional mayo which left me wanting more. With additional tweaking extra vinegar and nutritional yeast- I made this recipe work. I doubled the recipe for thanksgiving so likely quadrupled the vinegar in the original recipe and adding 1/4 c nutritional yeast

  7. Elena, thanks for the delicious recipe. I had all the ingredients on hand! I have 3 Ukrainians staying with us for a week. Do you have any soup recipe they might enjoy?

    1. That’s wonderful! I’m on my phone so can’t link recipes. Please search my website for Ukrainian borscht, chicken noodle soup or split pea soup.

  8. Used Greek yogurt and it was a tad on the tart side so did end up using a small amount of raw local honey in the dressing. Everyone at the potluck expected bacon, haha. Too bad! There was plenty of unhealthy stuff to be had, this salad stayed reasonably healthy.

    I enjoyed this so much I’ll make just for myself.

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