Easy Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheese
When I was dating my husband, he surprised me one night with an amazing home cooked meal. He picked me up after I had attended a bridal shower and took me back to his apartment so that we could work on our Anatomy and Physiology lab. When I walked in, he had made steak, rolls, loaded baked potatoes, and Broccoli and Cheese Sauce. I thought, “Oh no!! he has no idea how much I hate broccoli.”
I was so impressed with everything that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I dug in. IT. WAS. DELICIOUS. Oh, I still can taste it. That was the first food he had ever cooked for me and he blew me away. Everything was fantastic, including the broccoli.
This man has changed my life in many ways, but definitely in the food department that night. From that night onwards, I started trying all sorts of new things that Cade loved (but never Sushi. I still don’t eat that even though he loves it and continually tries to convince me).
What’s Needed for Cold Broccoli Salad?
To make the broccoli bacon salad itself, you’ll need:
- Broccoli florets
- Golden raisins
- Sunflower seeds
- Cooked bacon
- Frozen peas
- Red onion
And to make the simple broccoli salad dressing, you’ll need:
- Granulated sugar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Shredded Colby Jack cheese
How to Make Broccoli Salad
This cold broccoli salad comes together quickly! Here are the basic steps to making this recipe:
- In a large bowl, mix together the broccoli, onion, raisins, craisins, and frozen peas.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the broccoli salad dressing.
- Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss well to coat.
- Just before serving, add the crumbled bacon and sunflower seeds and toss to evenly distribute
Do You Cook Broccoli for Broccoli Salad?
The answer is yes or no. The truth is, it’s entirely up to you! In this broccoli salad recipe, we like the crunch of the raw broccoli and the dressing does help to soften things up a bit.
But if you want to give it a quick blanch, add a little water to a pot with broccoli and place the lid on. Steam for a couple of minutes, just until it turns bright green and then quickly drain and toss in a bowl of ice water. Just be sure you drain it well before tossing it in the bowl with the ingredients.
Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?
No, even if you only thawed the frozen broccoli but didn’t cook it, I’m afraid it’d be far too soft for this broccoli salad recipe. Fresh broccoli florets are the way to go here!
How to Store Broccoli Salad
Store any leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days, but make sure you cover it or it will dry out.
Tips for Making the Best Broccoli Salad
Something I love about this broccoli salad with bacon and cheese is that it’s really easy to add whatever extra additions you like: peas, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, olives, anything goes!
Also note that in a pinch you could actually use coleslaw dressing instead of our homemade broccoli salad dressing.
Lastly, we like to chill our broccoli bacon salad for a bit and then toss in the bacon right before serving, but sometimes life happens and we need to make it and serve it immediately so it all gets stirred together.
More POTLUCK SIDE DISHES:
Our BEST Broccoli Salad
Our BEST Broccoli Salad
For the Salad:
- 4 Heads Broccoli, , chopped (8 cups chopped)
- 1/2 Cup Golden Raisins
- 1/2 Cup Craisins
- 1 Cup Roasted Salted Sunflower Seeds
- 8 Slices Applewood Smoked Bacon, , cooked and chopped
- 1/2 Cup Frozen Peas
- 1/2 Cup Diced Red Onion
For the Dressing:
- 1 Cup Mayonnaise
- 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Cup Shredded Colby Jack Cheese
- In a large salad bowl, mix together the vegetables, raisins, and craisins. Leave the bacon and sunflower seeds for right before serving.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dressing and pour over the vegetables.
- Toss well to evenly coat everything.
- Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Right before serving, add the crumbled bacon and sunflower seeds. Toss to evenly distribute.
- Recipe adapted from The Shills
This recipe is AMAZING! I made it for the first time tonight, and I will definitely be making this again over and over! Thank you SO much!
Yay!! Thank you so much Angela!
Oh my God. So so good. I made this recipe last night (half) and brought some to work for lunch today. I used a 12 oz bag of (Trader Joe’s) broccoli florets which to me is about half the recipe so I halved all the other ingredients. Wow. This is so so delicious. I did not blanch the broccoli and nor did I defrost the frozen peas. I just used the peas as is since I knew the salad would sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. Also, I realized I did not have bacon so the portion I ate today was without it, yet it was yummy. But I have some leftover salad at home which I will make sure to use with bacon.
Yay! We are so glad you loved it! It really is so delicious! We get asked for this recipe anytime we take this salad anywhere!
How come 2 different nutritious charts 1 says 223 calories in 1 cup other says over 400 in 1/2 cup. Which one is the correct one?
I’m not sure where the other is coming from but the 223 is correct
You have frozen peas listed in the ingredients but neither the video nor the recipe instruction include this. Do the frozen peas go directly in this or do you need to defrost them?
Ahhh, I’m sorry about that. We occasionally throw them in, I’ll make note. You can put them in a bowl and run cool water over them, drain and add.
do you have the nutritional values for this salad?
Sorry about that, it’s showing now. 🙂
hey girl- this salad looks so good!
I didn’t see cheese and purple onion on the recipe. How much of each?
Sorry about that, I accidentally deleted when I was editing the recipe I guess. It’s back in there!
the broccoli salad video has shredded cheese but this is not listed in recipe, how much cheese did you use?
I like broccoli salad
sounds good have totry
In the dressing I use lemon juice instead of vinegar and a dash of celery seed
love that idea!
Hi , this sounds delicious . Could you possibly use frozen broccoli ? I was thinking if you steamed it & then cooled it .
I was dissapointed you didn’t add Cade’s cheesy broccoli recipes from the first dinner he prepared for you. Jo
oh! I should do that recipe!
I love broccoli salad. I do add chopped red onions, as well as finely chopped cauliflower and chopped toasted almonds. Never tried the frozen peas but, will do so next time I make this delicious salad. Also, I plump my raisins before adding to the salad.
I like that idea of plumping the raisins!!
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Very nice salad, you can add some corn and other veggies chopped, it all tastes great.
I would have left out the onions also. I put peas in everything too. They give that little sweet crisp pop…mmmm frozen baby peas are so good. My daughter will eat them frozen.
=P Onions are the only thing you left out for him, and peas are great easy extra nutrients to add. =) It was the best broccoli salad I've every had! Thanks Sis!