Healthy Broccoli Salad

Healthy Broccoli Salad

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The first time I made this broccoli salad, I was on a mission to create a refreshing, healthy dish to brighten up a family barbecue. I remember the sun shining and the grill sizzling, while everyone eagerly awaited something different from the usual potato or pasta salad. The moment I set the bowl down, the vibrant colors and inviting aroma captured everyone’s attention. From that day forward, this broccoli salad became a staple at our gatherings and a favorite among friends.

What is this Broccoli Salad?

Broccoli salad is a delightful mix of fresh broccoli florets, crunchy nuts, tangy dried fruit, and crisp bacon, all tossed in a creamy, slightly sweet dressing. It is a versatile dish, as it can be easily adapted to accommodate various taste preferences and dietary restrictions.

The origins of broccoli salad can be traced back to North America, where it has grown in popularity since the 1970s, likely due to the increased interest in healthful eating and the use of fresh produce.

Why Should You Try This Recipe?

Here are a few compelling reasons to try this delicious broccoli salad recipe:

  • Nutrient-rich: Broccoli is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote good health.
  • Satisfying and balanced: The combination of crunchy broccoli, savory bacon, sweet cranberries, and creamy goat cheese creates a delightful balance of flavors and textures.
  • Customizable: You can easily swap out ingredients or adjust the quantities to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.
  • Quick and easy to prepare: This recipe requires minimal cooking, making it perfect for busy days or last-minute gatherings.
  • Perfect for any occasion: Its eye-catching appearance and versatile taste make it a fitting choice for everything from casual picnics to elegant dinner parties.

Recipe Ingredients

To make this enticing broccoli salad, gather the following ingredients:

Broccoli Salad:

  • 8 slices bacon
  • 5 cups broccoli florets (from 1 large head of broccoli)
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Broccoli Salad Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

Ingredient Notes:

As a passionate food writer and chef, I’ve learned that selecting the right ingredients can truly elevate a dish. Here are some of my personal insights and recommendations to ensure your broccoli salad is as flavorful, healthy, and satisfying as possible.

  1. Broccoli: Opt for fresh, organic broccoli with firm florets and a vibrant green color. Avoid yellowing or wilted florets, as they tend to be less flavorful and nutritious. To save time, you can also use pre-cut broccoli florets, but be sure to rinse them thoroughly before using.
  2. Bacon: Choose high-quality, thick-cut bacon for a smoky, savory crunch. For a healthier alternative, you can use turkey bacon or even vegetarian bacon substitutes. You can also omit the bacon entirely for a lighter, vegetarian-friendly salad.
  3. Red Onion: Pick a firm, fresh red onion for the best flavor and crunch. If you find raw onions too strong, try soaking the diced onion in cold water for 10-15 minutes to mellow the taste.
  4. Dried Cranberries: Unsweetened cranberries add a natural, tangy sweetness to the salad. Feel free to substitute with raisins, dried cherries, or even chopped dates if you prefer.
  5. Sunflower Seeds: Toast the sunflower seeds lightly to enhance their nutty flavor. If you’re not a fan of sunflower seeds, try using slivered almonds, chopped pecans, or pumpkin seeds instead.
  6. Goat Cheese: Creamy, tangy goat cheese adds a lovely contrast to the other ingredients. For a different twist, consider substituting with crumbled feta, blue cheese, or even a dairy-free alternative for a vegan-friendly option.
  7. Mayonnaise: Use a good-quality, full-fat mayonnaise for a rich, creamy dressing. If you’re looking for a lighter option, you can substitute with Greek yogurt or even a vegan mayonnaise.
  8. Plain Yogurt: Opt for plain, unsweetened yogurt to balance the dressing’s tanginess. Greek yogurt works exceptionally well due to its thick and creamy texture. If you prefer a dairy-free alternative, try using a plain, unsweetened coconut or almond milk yogurt.

Remember, the key to a successful dish is to experiment with different ingredients and find the combinations that best suit your taste buds and dietary needs. Be creative and don’t be afraid to make this broccoli salad your own!

How to Make Broccoli Salad?

Here, I’ve broken down the detailed steps to help you create a delicious and visually appealing broccoli salad. By following these instructions, you’ll have a tasty, satisfying dish that’s sure to impress.

Prepare the Ingredients

Baked bacon slices for Broccoli Salad
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the bacon slices evenly.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool and drain.Once cooled, crumble the bacon and set aside.
  • Rinse the broccoli florets under cold water and pat dry. Trim any excess stems and cut the florets into bite-sized pieces.
  • Peel and finely dice the red onion. If desired, soak the diced onion in cold water for 10-15 minutes to reduce its sharpness, then drain.

Assemble the Salad

Mixing Broccoli Salad ingredients
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the broccoli florets, crumbled bacon, diced red onion, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and crumbled goat cheese. Toss gently to combine.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and plain yogurt until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently until all ingredients are evenly coated.

How to Serve

Healthy Broccoli Salad recipe
  • Allow the broccoli salad to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving to ensure the flavors meld together.
  • Give the salad a quick stir before transferring it to a serving bowl or platter.
  • Garnish with additional crumbled goat cheese, sunflower seeds, or a sprinkle of freshly chopped herbs (such as parsley or chives) for added color and flavor.
  • Serve the salad alongside grilled meats, sandwiches, or as a light and refreshing meal on its own.

Storage and Freezing Instructions

  • Storage: Store any leftover broccoli salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Be sure to give it a quick stir before serving, as the dressing may settle at the bottom.
  • Freezing: I do not recommend freezing this salad, as the creamy dressing and fresh broccoli may lose their texture and become soggy when thawed.

Pro Tips to Make Broccoli Salad

  1. Use fresh, crisp broccoli for the best texture and flavor.
  2. Toast sunflower seeds or other nuts to enhance their nutty flavor.
  3. Allow the salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to improve flavor and texture.
  4. Adjust ingredient quantities to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.
  5. Experiment with different ingredients to create your own unique version of this salad.

Alternative Recipes

If this broccoli salad recipe isn’t quite what you’re looking for, here are some alternative salad recipes to consider:

  1. Broccoli And Cauliflower Casserole: Best casserole that you can make even with leftover broccoli.
  2. Beef and Broccoli: Easy dinner recipe to enjoy the aroma of broccoli.
  3. Greek Feta Salad: A refreshing Greek salad featuring crisp vegetables, avocados, olives, and feta cheese.
  4. French Carrot Salad: A perfect crunchy and savory salad that is best for skin acne.
  5. Roasted Cauliflower Salad: A warm, comforting salad with roasted cauliflower, lentils, and a tangy tahini dressing.
  6. Caprese Salad: A classic Italian salad with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
  7. Bombay Carrot Salad: A colorful, crunchy salad with shredded carrots, and a flavorful dressing.
  8. The best Greek pasta salad
  9. Napa cabbage salad

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make broccoli salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare broccoli salad ahead of time. In fact, chilling the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving allows the flavors to meld together. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Can I use frozen broccoli for this salad?

While fresh broccoli is recommended for the best texture and flavor, you can use frozen broccoli in a pinch. Thaw the broccoli completely, pat dry, and ensure there’s no excess moisture before adding it to the salad.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

To make this recipe vegan, substitute the bacon with a vegan alternative, use dairy-free cheese or omit it altogether, and replace the mayonnaise and yogurt with vegan versions.

What can I use instead of goat cheese?

You can substitute goat cheese with crumbled feta, blue cheese, or even a dairy-free alternative for a vegan-friendly option.

Is this broccoli salad keto-friendly?

To make this recipe keto-friendly, omit the dried cranberries or replace them with a lower-carb option like chopped nuts. Additionally, use full-fat mayonnaise and yogurt for the dressing.

Healthy Broccoli Salad

Healthy Broccoli Salad

Adalynn Ward
Broccoli salad is a delightful mix of fresh broccoli florets, crunchy nuts, tangy dried fruit, and crisp bacon, all tossed in a creamy, slightly sweet dressing.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chilling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Salad
Servings 7 persons

Ingredients

Broccoli Salad:

  • 8 slices bacon
  • 5 cups  broccoli florets (from 1 large head of broccoli)
  • cup diced red onion
  • ½ cup dried unsweetened cranberries
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

Broccoli Salad Dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup plain yogurt

How to Make?

  • Cook bacon in the oven at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, then crumble once cooled.
  • Wash and cut broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces.
  • Finely dice red onion, and soak in cold water for 10-15 minutes if desired.
  • In a large bowl, mix broccoli, bacon, onion, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and goat cheese.
  • Whisk together mayonnaise and yogurt to make the dressing.
  • Pour dressing over the salad and toss until evenly coated.
  • Chill the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 271kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 13.7gFat: 19.6gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 677mgFiber: 2.2gSugar: 3.5gCalcium: 128mgIron: 1mg
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Second Version

  1. Cook bacon in the oven at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, then crumble once cooled.
  2. Wash and cut broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Finely dice red onion, and soak in cold water for 10-15 minutes if desired.
  4. In a large bowl, mix broccoli, bacon, onion, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and goat cheese.
  5. Whisk together mayonnaise and yogurt to make the dressing.
  6. Pour dressing over the salad and toss until evenly coated.
  7. Chill the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.

11: Serving Information

  • Number of servings: 6-8
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking/Baking Time: 20 minutes (for bacon)
  • Additional Time: 30 minutes (chilling)
  • Cuisine: American
  • Amount per serving: 1 cup (approximately)

Keywords

  • Broccoli Salad Recipe
  • Healthy Broccoli Salad
  • Easy Broccoli Salad
  • Vegetarian Broccoli Salad
  • Broccoli Salad with Goat Cheese
Hello!! My name is Adalynn I love to eat, travel, and eat some more! I am married to the man of my dreams and have a beautiful little girl whose smiles can brighten anyone’s day!