This easy Broccoli Salad recipe is loaded with bacon, grapes, cranberries, and cheddar all tossed in an amazing homemade sweet orange dressing that will totally rock your taste buds!!! Say hello to your new favorite salad 🙂
My friends and family will tell you, I’m not a huge veggie eater.
I blame it on my Dad. He doesn’t love them so much either. It’s a rare occasion that I actually ever see him eat them. He tries to fool everyone by putting them on his plate and moving them around a bunch, but seldom do they ever get onto his fork and actually pass his lips. Clearly, deflecting makes me feel a little better!
So, because I know how important vegetables are to have in my diet, I’m always looking for different recipes that make eating them a pleasure, rather than a chore!
Enter this Broccoli Salad Recipe.
I have to admit, this recipe took me totally by surprise. Not only is the main ingredient fresh broccoli, it also raw. To my abject shock, I fell head over heels in love with this healthy broccoli salad.
No exaggeration, IN LOVE!
This delicious cold broccoli salad is loaded with lots of super delicious ingredients like grapes, bacon, cheese, pecan, dates and of course, broccoli. Then the salad is tossed with a sweet, creamy orange dressing. The combination is utterly delicious.
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Not only are these ingredients, yummy, most of them have tremendous health benefits.
Take the broccoli alone, it’s like the rock star of health foods and is considered by many health experts to be one of the world’s healthiest foods.
Yes, we’re talking about the main ingredient in this delicious salad, my friends!
It’s totally loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, flavonoids, and everyone’s friend, fiber. Here are just a few things this nutritional powerhouse is thought to do for your body by leading scientists:
- Decrease the risk of obesity
- Fight many types of cancers,
- Contain anti-inflammatory benefits,
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Protect the body from chronic disease
And, btw, the red grapes and pecans are no slouch either when we’re talking about health benefits. They both have a whole slew of different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients than the broccoli does, so your body gets some unbelievable nutrition all from one scrumptious salad!
Gosh, maybe I should change the name of this post too, “Natures Most Delicious Natural Multivitamin Salad That Just Might Reduce Your Risk To Dang Near Every Health Issue Know To Humanity!”
Do ya think it might be too long??????
This makes a wonderful side dish all year round. All the ingredients are readily available throughout the year, but my most favorite time to serve this is, during the summer. It’s great at bbq’s, potlucks, picnics, and even family dinners. Frankly, there isn’t a time when this salad isn’t a darn near perfect side dish.
With all the health benefits and the yum factor in this salad, I think you’re going to want to serve it often!
Recipe Notes For Broccoli Salad:
Not only is this salad refreshing and delicious, it’s really versatile.
I make the salad 2-4 hours before I want to serve it, then toss all the salad ingredients, except the bacon and pecans, with about 1/2 the dressing, then cover it with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge.
This allows the broccoli to absorb some of the salad dressing and soften just a little. Even more important, all the flavors get to mingle.
Right before I serve the salad I check the dressing, add more as needed, add the bacon and pecans and toss well.
The broccoli is, of course, the star of the show here, so make sure to use broccoli that’s very fresh and crisp.
For me, one, of the most important factor in making this salad so delicious, is that the broccoli is cut in slender, small pieces.
I generally leave a bit of the stem on, probably about 1/2 an inch. This is totally optional and the stems can be removed.
The Fresh Fruit- Grapes or Apples
This recipe is equally delicious with either sliced seedless grapes or chopped apples.
I’ve photographed the salad in this post with red seedless grapes. I actually think the salad is prettier made with the red grapes. The color pops nicely against all the green broccoli and I have to say I prefer the taste of my broccoli salad with grapes a bit more than with apples.
When I make this for my family, I use whichever fruit I have on hand. My son seems to like it best with grapes, but my daughter is in the apple camp. So there you have it!
I’m on a crazy kick for dates right now. I can’t seem to get enough of these little gems! Super sweet and chewy with a unique flavor all their own.
I change up the dried fruit in this recipe all the time.
I often use dried cranberries in this salad. They add a nice sweet-tart little bite. Raisins are also nice. I seem to always have a bag of them in my pantry so they often make an appearance in my broccoli salad.
I generally add pecans to this salad. I like the rich buttery taste and the kinda soft crunch. The broccoli provides the strong crunch in this salad. The soft and strong crunch combo is interesting.
Any type of nut would be delish in this salad. I also like sliced almonds, walnuts or pine nuts. Sunflower seed is a nice alternative as well.
Don’t add all the dressing to the salad at once. You may like the salad with only a portion of the dressing. I like a lot of dressing on all of my salads so I use most of the dressing recipe.
Also, when I make the salad a few hours ahead of the time I’m going to serve it, I like to have a little extra dressing ready in case it needs to be refreshed a bit.
Don’t worry if you end up with extra. It’s absolutely delicious and works really well on a tossed green salad. I especially like it with salads that have some peppery lettuce varieties blended in like arugula. The peppery~sweet combo is one of my favorites.
Don’t skip the fresh orange zest! The zest is an integral ingredient to creating the orange flavor of this dressing. Orange juice alone pales by comparison. I use a Microplaner to zest the orange. You don’t want to include the white part of the peel, called the pith, because it’s very bitter. Just the orange part of the skin.
Bacon and Cheese
What can I say……. Broccoli salad with bacon is totally natural. We’re talking #delish…..right?
Well, let me take you one step further, one step closer to food heaven….. How about broccoli salad with bacon and cheese!!!!
This is really all kinds of flavor yum. I used fresh mozzarella in this salad, but regular mozzarella, cheddar, feta or even bleu would be nice choices. Each of those cheese would add a little different personality and flavor to this salad, so switch it up however you like.
Healthy Broccoli Salad-
To increase the healthy aspects of this salad you can switch out the regular bacon for turkey bacon and use low-fat mayo instead of the full-fat version.
Another change I will occasionally make is to switch out the pecans for either pine nuts or almonds, to increase the protein content of the salad.
Scrumptious Salad Recipes!
Antipasto Salad– chock full of meat, cheese, olives, and pickled veggies for new textures and flavors in every bite
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad -generously dressed in a super creamy dressing that’s both a little tangy and a little sweet.
Mexican Corn Salad – The perfect mix of tangy, sweet, and savory tastes in a side dish!
Cucumber Tomato Salad – A crisp, colorful, refreshing side with salty bits of mozzarella and a rich, tangy balsamic vinaigrette!
Grape Salad -Wonderful and unique salad, topped with roasted pecans and brown sugar!
Mediterranean Salad– Our Mediterranean Salad has all the flavors of the Mediterranean in an elegant, refreshing salad that’s quick to make and tossed in a delicious vinaigrette.
7 Layer Salad – combines fresh veggies, hand mixed dressing, and delectable toppings for a fulfilling meal! Good luck keeping eyes and forks at bay
- 4 Cups Broccoli Florets Cut into Bite Sized Pieces
- 2 Cups Red Seedless Grapes Cut in Half
- 3/4 Cup Pecans Roughly Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Red Onion Chopped
- 12 Ounces Bacon Cooked and Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Cheddar or Mozzarella Cut Into Small Cubes
- 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries or Dates
- 1 Cup Mayonnaise
- 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Orange Zest
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1/4--1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, orange juice, sugar, apple cider vinegar, orange zest, Dijon, salt, and pepper until smooth and creamy.
- In a large salad bowl, toss together the broccoli, grapes, pecans, red onions, bacon, cheese, and dates. Toss the salad with half the dressing. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt and pepper and dressing as needed. Serve
LOOKING FOR DESSERTS TO TAKE TO THE POTLUCK OR PICNIC?
Pig Pickin Cake– Our crowd-pleasing Pig Pickin Cake is an incredibly moist, delicious, refreshingly fruity delight. Super easy to make, it’s sure to become a new favorite!
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