Crisp, fresh broccoli is the star of this salad and shines alongside fruit, nuts and bacon.
My friends, it is time for one of those salads that are kind of not really a salad in the traditional sense, but so tasty that you wont be wondering where the lettuce is.
I first had this dish a few years ago when my brother's girlfriend, Jen, and her parents came over for Easter dinner. (Though now that I've done a little broccoli salad research, I'm a little surprised that I hadn't come across it before! It seems to be a bit of a summer staple.) Jen's mom, Bella, brought this salad and I kept sneaking bites of it before dinner, and when I say "bites" I mean like...well over a serving's worth of bites - I seriously could not stop eating it. The broccoli is crunchy and flavorful, the grapes give it a fruity burst, you get a nice tartness from the dried cranberries, and really...I challenge you to find one food that does NOT taste better with bacon. It's easy to see why I could not get enough. So naturally, I HAD to get the recipe, and I'm so glad I did. Thanks, Bella!
It's a perfect party dish because as opposed to an average green salad, this just tastes even better the longer the dressing is on it. You actually want to let it sit for a while after you dress it (preferably overnight) so the broccoli has a chance to soften just a little bit and soak up the sweet and tangy flavor of the dressing, but make sure to wait until just before you serve it to add the walnuts and bacon to keep them nice and crunchy. So many yummy flavors and textures!
Enough talk, let us gather our ingredients - shall we?
Combine the broccoli, grapes, green onions, and dried cranberries in a large mixing bowl (if you have one with a lid I'd go with that one since we're going to pop this in the fridge for a while...but you can use plastic wrap no problem).
In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, add the mayo, sugar, apple cider vinegar and pepper and whisk to combine.
Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture...
...and stir to combine!
Now...this step is very important! You HAVE to let it sit in the fridge for a while, at least 4 hours but overnight is best. I'm not the hugest fan of raw broccoli (definitely avoid it on the veggie trays) but letting it mix & mingle with the dressing softens it just a little bit and really improves the flavor and texture.
Just before you're ready to serve it, add the walnuts and the bacon.
Stir gently to mix it all together and ta daaaa!
Yummy noises await you!
Makes about 10 half cup servings
- 1 lb fresh broccoli florets (about 6 stalks worth), cut into small bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup red grapes , halved
- 4 green onions , thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2/3 cup light mayo
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 4 slices bacon , crisply cooked and chopped
- 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
In a large mixing bowl, combine the broccoli, grapes, green onions and cranberries.
In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, add the mayo, sugar, apple cider vinegar and pepper and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and stir until all ingredients are evenly coated with dressing. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Just before serving, stir well to evenly redistribute the dressing. Add the bacon and walnuts and mix gently.
Per serving (1/2 cup): 152 calories, 9g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 67mg sodium, 18g total carbs, 2g fiber, 12g sugar, 3g protein
Adapted from Bella Taylor's recipe