Classic Broccoli Crunch Salad Recipe with Bacon

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This delicious Broccoli Crunch Salad combines fresh broccoli florets, salty bacon, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries with a creamy dressing. It is my favorite salad for the summer months and a perfect make-ahead side dish for a backyard barbecue. 

Broccoli Crunch Salad

What exactly is Broccoli Crunch Salad?

This easy broccoli salad combines the best of whole foods into a symphony of flavors and textures. I’m talking about the Broccoli Crunch Salad, a side dish that has gained immense popularity for its unique blend of crunchy broccoli, creamy dressing, and an array of other flavorful ingredients. Whether it’s a large family gathering, a cozy backyard BBQ, or just a quiet meal prep for the week, this salad fits perfectly into any scenario. 

The tang of the red wine vinegar paired with the rich creaminess of mayonnaise, the subtle bite from red onion, and the unexpected sweetness of dried cranberries all come together to create not just a salad but an experience. It’s a perfect example of how a few simple ingredients, when combined thoughtfully, can elevate the humble broccoli into a star. 

Now, let me walk you through the simple steps of creating your new favorite salad, making sure it’s packed with as much flavor as it has nutrients. 

Broccoli Crunch Salad

What you’ll love about Classic Broccoli Crunch Salad:

  • Ultimate Side Dish: Broccoli crunch salad is celebrated for its delicious blend of textures and is a great addition to any meal. 
  • Versatility at Its Best: Adaptable for various occasions, this salad recipe can feature a mix of ingredients to suit your taste. 
  • A Healthful Choice: Combining whole foods, this salad is not just a treat to the taste buds but also a nutritious option for any diet.

Broccoli Crunch Salad Recipe Essential Ingredients

Broccoli Crunch Salad Ingredients

Whenever I’m prepping for one of our family gatherings or planning a little backyard BBQ, my go-to side dish has to be this Crunchy Broccoli Salad. It’s such a delicious salad that packs so much flavor and great texture into every bite. To kick things off, you’ll need some basic yet essential ingredients: 

  • a whole head of broccoli chopped into small pieces, 
  • crispy bacon for that irresistible savory crunch, 
  • a handful of dried cranberries and sunflower seeds for a sweet and nutty contrast, and 
  • a mix of mayo, sugar, and red wine vinegar for that creamy dressing everybody raves about. 

How to Make Broccoli Crunch Salad

  1. Begin by cooking 8 pieces of bacon until crispy, then set aside on a paper towel to cool. Once cooled, chop the bacon into small pieces for that perfect salty crunch. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 8 cups of chopped broccoli florets with ½ cup dried cranberries and ½ cup sunflower seeds for a great texture. Adding ½ a diced red onion gives that sharp onion flavor that contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the cranberries. 
  3. For the creamy dressing, whisk together in a small bowl ½ cup sugar, ¾ cup mayonnaise, and 2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar until smooth. This tangy dressing is what gives the salad its unique flavor. 
  4. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture, and toss everything together until the broccoli is well-coated. This is where the flavors start to meld together. 
  5. Lastly, fold in the crispy bacon pieces for that irresistible crunch. Give it a good stir to distribute the bacon evenly throughout the salad. 

Chill the salad in an airtight container until ready to serve. This not only helps the flavors to develop but also keeps the salad fresh, making it a great make-ahead dish for family gatherings or summer picnics. 

Broccoli Crunch Salad

Maintaining Freshness & Serving Suggestions

This salad is not just for immediate consumption. Its flavors meld together as it chills making it an even more delicious salad the next day. It’s an excellent choice for meal prep. 

Once you’ve put together this delicious Broccoli Crunch Salad, the key to keeping it fresh and flavorful is all in how you store it. Scoop your salad into an airtight container. This will keep everything from the crispy bacon to the raw broccoli in prime condition. 

Serving this versatile side dish is a breeze. You can opt to serve it chilled straight from the fridge, which I find gives it a refreshing crispness perfect for summer picnics. Alternatively, letting it sit out for a little bit until it’s closer to room temperature can help meld the flavors together even more, offering a different yet equally delightful experience. Either way, it’s a great way to add some green salad to your table with so much flavor and great texture.  

Broccoli Crunch Salad

Broccoli Salad Recipe Variations

Once you’ve mastered the basic broccoli salad recipe, the real fun begins with customization. Here are some swaps and variations for you to try.

  • Tossing apple cider vinegar or lemon juice into your creamy dressing can add a delightful tang.
  • Substitute pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds instead of sunflower kernels to bring an extra crunch that’s so satisfying. 
  • Roasted chickpeas will add some plant-based protein to your raw broccoli salad.
  • And for those who lean towards plant-based eating, swapping mayo for plain Greek yogurt or a vegan alternative couldn’t be simpler and keeps your salad friendly for everyone at your backyard BBQ. 
  • Diced red, green, and yellow bell pepper will add some color and extra crunch.
  • Adding a sprinkle of parmesan cheese can elevate the entire salad.
  • Experiment with dried fruit like golden raisins for a touch of sweetness.
  • A drizzle of maple syrup will add some warm sweetness. 
  • Add some chopped green onions for an additional fresh layer of flavor. 

I encourage you, for your next family gathering or summer picnic, to take this Broccoli Crunch Salad recipe and make it a canvas for your favorite ingredients. Your kitchen is your playground, and with a dish as forgiving and versatile as this, there’s no end to the delicious variations you can create. 

Remember, the perfect way to enjoy your creation is with friends and family, so don’t forget to share your new recipe or better yet, inspire others to add their personal twist. 

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Broccoli Crunch Salad

More Side Dish Recipes

Broccoli Crunch Salad

Classic Broccoli Crunch Salad Recipe with Bacon

Melisha Kreppein
This delicious Broccoli Crunch Salad combines fresh broccoli florets, salty bacon, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries with a creamy dressing. It is my favorite salad for the summer months and a perfect make-ahead side dish for a backyard barbecue. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 289 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 strips bacon cooked
  • 8 cups broccoli florets
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Instructions
 

  • Cook 8 pieces of bacon until crispy, then set aside on a paper towel to cool. Once cooled, chop the bacon into small pieces. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine 8 cups of chopped broccoli florets with ½ cup dried cranberries, ½ cup sunflower seeds, and ½ cup diced red onion. 
  • For the creamy dressing, whisk together in a small bowl ½ cup sugar, ¾ cup mayonnaise, and 2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar until smooth. 
  • Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture, and toss everything together until the broccoli is well-coated.
  • Lastly, fold in the crispy bacon pieces for that irresistible crunch. Give it a good stir to distribute the bacon evenly throughout the salad. 
  • Serve immediately, or chill to allow the flavors to come together. Can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator up to 4 days.

Notes

Broccoli Salad Recipe Variations

Once you’ve mastered the basic broccoli salad recipe, the real fun begins with customization. Here are some swaps and variations for you to try.
  • Tossing apple cider vinegar or lemon juice into your creamy dressing can add a delightful tang.
  • Substitute pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds instead of sunflower kernels to bring an extra crunch that’s so satisfying. 
  • Roasted chickpeas will add some plant-based protein to your raw broccoli salad.
  • And for those who lean towards plant-based eating, swapping mayo for plain Greek yogurt or a vegan alternative couldn’t be simpler and keeps your salad friendly for everyone at your backyard BBQ. 
  • Diced red, green, and yellow bell pepper will add some color and extra crunch.
  • Adding a sprinkle of parmesan cheese can elevate the entire salad.
  • Experiment with dried fruit like golden raisins for a touch of sweetness.
  • A drizzle of maple syrup will add some warm sweetness. 
  • Add some chopped green onions for an additional fresh layer of flavor. 

Nutrition

Calories: 289kcalCarbohydrates: 25.6gProtein: 10.5gFat: 17.1gSaturated Fat: 3.8gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 626mgPotassium: 435mgFiber: 2.9gSugar: 16gCalcium: 53mgIron: 1mg
Keyword salad
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this broccoli crunch for dinner tonight. It was absolutely delicious! I printed this recipe and will definitely be making it regularly. I didn’t have enough sunflower seeds, so I added some pumpkin seeds. I also didn’t have enough dried cranberries, so I added some raisins. Again, a great, flavorful side dish.

    1. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe! I’m even happier to hear that you were able to adjust the ingredients to what you had on hand and make it your own. That’s what makes cooking fun!
      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. It makes my day to hear from people who try my recipes.

5 from 1 vote

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