Crunchy broccoli bacon salad might just get the vegetable non-eaters in your house to enjoy their vegetables. Crisp broccoli, savory bacon, sweet dried cranberries, crunchy walnuts and pumpkin seeds, plus a creamy dressing. Great for summer lunches and dinners. For tips on making this work for your family, see my notes at the end.
Crunchy Broccoli Bacon Salad
I love broccoli and eat it multiple times a week at lunch and dinner. If it’s prepped and ready in the fridge, it’s an easy way to get more veggies into my day. Lately my schedule has been really whacked and I’ve realized I’m not getting enough veggies in, so I turned to a summer favorite salad to help fix that.
How to Make Crunchy Broccoli Bacon Salad
You’ll need two good sized bunches of broccoli crowns. Trim the bunches into small florets. Discard the stems or keep for another use. In the end you should have 8 cups of florets, about a pound. Lightly steam the florets for 2 minutes, then shock in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process and keep the florets bright green and crisp. Drain and dry on a clean kitchen towel.
While you’re getting the broccoli ready, cook the bacon crisp then drain on paper towels and chop.
Bacon – Choose organic and nitrate-free or skip for keeping it plant-based.
Dried fruit – Dried fruit is high in sugar. If you are looking for a lower-sugar option to cranberries or raisins, try Golden Berries. They are much lower in sugar with a pleasant sweet-tart taste. If they are too chewy for you, soak them in hot water to soften for a minute, then dry and use in the salad.
On cranberries, I prefer the apple-juice sweetened organic brands. The brands sweetened with sugar taste, well, too sugary for me. A new one I’ve found is made by this company.
Mayonnaise – Many off-the-shelf brands contain not-so-good ingredients like GMO soy oil. I use Vegenaise for it’s clean recipe and light taste. I prefer the soy-free version. It’s egg-free too. Find it in the refrigerated dairy area of your market. Or use your favorite brand.
Nuts and Seeds – I like chopped walnuts but you could use cashews or slivered almonds instead. If you have histamine intolerance, use macadamia nuts as they are generally safe. Many recipes choose sunflower seeds but I prefer pumpkin seeds. They’re packed with nutrition. Read about their health benefits here.
Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is what I use but if you’re histamine intolerant, use organic white vinegar.
Make it Work for Your Family
- For vegans – skip the bacon and use a plant-based mayo such as Vegenaise and add hemp seeds
- For nut sensitivities – skip the walnuts; pumpkin seeds should be okay
- For vegetarians – skip the bacon and add diced or grated hard boiled egg and try a tablespoon of hemp seeds
Looking for another cool broccoli salad recipe? Try this broccoli cabbage slaw.
Crunchy Broccoli Bacon Salad
- 3/4 cup Vegenaise or mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1-2 teaspoons apple cider or white vinegar to taste
- 4-6 slices bacon preferably nitrate-free
- 2 heads broccoli crowns about 1 1/2 pounds
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries raisin or goldenberries
- 1/4 small red onion chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together until smooth in a medium bowl and set aside to toss the salad.
- Fry the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels and chop. While the bacon is cooking, start on the broccoli.
- Fill a large bowl half full with ice and cold water for an ice bath. Trim broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces for 8 cups florets. See post photo for help. Save broccoli stems for another use. In a medium pot add a vegetable steam basket and enough water to come to the bottom of the basket. Cover with a lid and bring to steaming over medium high heat. Add the broccoli and steam for 2 minutes. Immediately remove the broccoli to the ice bath to stop the cooking process and retain the bright green color.
- Add the bacon, broccoli, and all other ingredients to the bowl with the dressing and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate for an hour before serving. Salad is best dressed and served close to serving time to maintain crispness. Leftovers will hold up to two days well covered but the broccoli will not be as crisp.
- Trim, steam and chill broccoli, refrigerate
- Fry the bacon, drain and chop, refrigerate
- Chop the onion, refrigerate
- Make the dressing and refrigerate
- Toss before serving