Totally rock their taste buds and rule vegetable salad recipes like a 5-star chef with this incredible broccoli salad! This isn’t one of those boring old broccoli salad recipes.
This little gem is bright and colorful and insanely delicious – not to mention there’s a truckload of nutrition in every bite. Once you try it, I just know it’s gonna’ be one of your favorite salad recipes of all time!
I hope you try some more of these vegetable warm-weather salads!: Amazing copycat KFC coleslaw, pea salad, carrot salad, and picnic classic, grape salad.
Let’s make this salad!
What I Love About This Recipe
- Bright and zesty
- Makes a wonderful side dish all year round
- Not only is this salad refreshing and delicious, but it’s also really versatile.
How To Make Broccoli Salad Recipe
- Combine all the dressing ingredients.
- Whisk until smooth and creamy.
- In a large salad bowl, toss all the salad ingredients.
- Pour half of the dressing.
- Toss and refrigerate.
- Adjust seasoning and add more dressing. Serve.
***See the full instructions below.
Broccoli Salad Recipe + Ingredient Notes
For best results, make your salad a few hours ahead of time omitting the bacon and pecans. The little broccoli florets and other ingredients will soar to new heights as they absorb the flavor of the bright zesty dressing.
Toss in the bacon and pecans just before serving so they stay crunchy adding even more texture to your veggie salad.
- Broccoli –For me, one, of the most important factors in making this salad so delicious, is that the broccoli is cut into 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.
- Fresh Fruits – This recipe is equally delicious with either sliced seedless grapes or chopped apples. I actually think the salad is prettier and made with 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.
- Dried Fruit – 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 often use dried cranberries in this salad. They add a nice sweet-tart little bite. Raisins are also nice.
- Nuts – I generally add pecans to this salad. I like the rich buttery taste and the kinda soft crunch. 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.
- Bacon and Cheese – What can I say……. broccoli salad with bacon is totally natural. This is really all kinds of flavors yum. I used fresh mozzarella in this salad, but regular mozzarella, cheddar, feta, or even bleu would be nice choices. Each of those cheeses would add a little different personality and flavor to this salad, so switch it up however you like.
- Orange Zest – When zesting the orange for your broccoli salad dressing, go gentle. A heavy hand will remove the bitter pith and you don’t want that in your dressing. A micro planer works best for this recipe.
- Don’t skip the Dijon either. It’s a great emulsifier to hold your bright spring vinaigrette together. It also helps to cook the bacon a little crispy.
- Healthy option – 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.
Storing + Freezing + Make-Ahead
- How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge? Keep your salad in a covered container in the fridge. As per FDA recommendations, it should be kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and you’ll want to reserve the 2-hour serving rule. It will last for 3-4 days.
- Can You Freeze This? Unfortunately, this salad doesn’t freeze well but it comes together so quickly there’s almost no need.
- Make-Ahead Tips: This salad will taste best when made 2-4 hours ahead of serving time. I like to add half the orange vinaigrette before the salad goes into the fridge and reserve the other half for just before serving time.
- You may have some left after freshening your salad and I use it for those who like a little extra.
- Food Safety: If you’d like more info on food safety check out this link.
I love to serve this salad alongside my barbecued smoked ribs, grilled chicken made with my delicious grilled chicken marinade, or grilled flank steak. Add some Bisquick biscuits or a chunk of Southern cornbread.
End your meal with my chocolate delight, butterscotch delight, or pineapple delight to top off a delightful meal!!
More Yummy Salads
- Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Pasta Salad With Italian Dressing
- Watergate Salad
- Frog Eye Salad
- Mexican Corn Salad
- Quinoa Salad
- 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
Fans Also Made:
Delicious and easy to make!
Janner Girl says
I think this broccoli salad. It has so many great flavors going on. The orange juice and orange zest add a very unique twist to the dressing. Every time I make this salad it is a big hit!
Janner, I’m so happy you enjoyed this salad. The orange dressing is the Bomb!!! It’s my all-time favorite <3
Kathy Kreicker says
One of the most requested dishes for a picnic or potluck . Just delicious and the dressing is so much lighter that traditional broccoli salads. Love it with the dates or dried cherries! Try this salad if we can ever get together again!
So happy you and your family enjoyed, Kathy! The dressing is one of my all-time favorites <3
Would dressing be too bland if I skip the sugar?
Hi Amelia just, I honestly think it would be.<3
Marianne Miller says
Heck, No! Skip it! or put a squirt or two of stevia/erythritol blend drops if you like sweetened dressing. PS Pomegranate seeds are good in it, too, and have that nice color. I make tangy dressing from mayo, fresh-pack dill pickle juice, lime juice, olive oil, black pepper, salt, and garlic. Plenty of “pop” to that taste!
Hi Kathleen, This salad looks delicious. I came to your page from pinterest to find out the recipe ingredients. I was bummed to see orange juice and zest in the recipe as I have a citrus allergy. Any suggestions for a substitution? I would love to try it. Thanks, Darlene
Hi Darlene. You can substitute 2 tablespoons-1/4 cup fruit puree in place of the zest and a fruit vinegar in place of the orange juice. Hopes this helps.
Luisa Liccioni says
Dear Kathleen: I write you from Venezuela. Now we have a lot of problems with the foods. I want ask you about some ingredients, Can I change pecans by nuts? apple cider vinegar by white vinegar? Thank you for posting. I love this salad and the other salads of your page. A great hug!
Hi Luisa. So happy to hear from you! Yes this salad would be delicious with any type of nut. Almost any type would work very well. I prefer the flavor apple cider vinegar, but White vinegar will work just fine!
Thanks for posting. I love this salad , and like you said, so do my non veggies loving family members. I add about 2 TBS of sour cream and 1/2 TBS of poppy seeds to the dressing. It is creamy amazing ness.
So happy you liked it Candie 🙂
I made this for my husband and I and we both really loved it. We don’t eat bacon but the salad turned out wonderful without it. Thank you for another great recipe.
You’re so welcome! I’m happy to hear you customized it and enjoyed it 🙂
Rach's Recipes says
I made this wonderful salad with apples and added some grated carrot. It is DIVINE. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’d like to try it with other nuts next time, what can you recommend?
Hi Rach, you’re so welcome. I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Walnuts, cashews, pine nuts, almost any nut would be delicious!
aimee @ like mother like daughter says
broccoli salad is one of my favorite summer side dishes! I love that you added grapes and pecans to yous! This looks amazing!
Thanks Aimee. I hope you try it 🙂
Abby (@ NO Fail recipes) says
This sounds wonderful. I think I will try adding some strawberries when I make it. Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Abby. I think strawberries would be lovely in this broccoli salad 🙂
I clicked on instructions but they did NOT pop up. The recipe printed without the instructions on the page.
Hi Donna. Thanks so much. I had a problem with the code. It’s fixed now 🙂