Broccoli Salad

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This classic broccoli salad will delight you time and again! Just toss broccoli, bacon, red onion, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and goat cheese with a creamy mayonnaise yogurt dressing for the best year-round salad.

A close up of broccoli salad in a bowl

If ever there was a salad recipe that consistently knocked my socks off, it’s this one – a broccoli salad. It’s super easy to make, but don’t let easy fool you, because this salad is loaded with flavor. It’s simultaneously crispy, creamy, sweet, and savory. And did I mention bacon is involved?

When it comes to salad recipes most of us gravitate towards leafy greens. But if you’re looking for a little salad shakeup and want something that’s perfect for potlucks, picnics, and barbecues (because yes, this salad is durable), give broccoli salad a whirl.

Ingredients for broccoli salad in a bowl

Broccoli Salad Ingredients

The great thing about this salad is how easy it is to customize. So feel free to tweak the ingredients your personal preference. Here’s what’s in mine:

  • Broccoli: raw broccoli florets form the bulk of the salad. Make sure to chop them into bite-sized pieces.
  • Red Onion: I love diced red onion, but you could also use sliced green onion.
  • Bacon: crispy bacon adds protein to the salad and that unmistakable savory flavor. Want another broccoli salad with protein? Try my broccoli tuna salad.
  • Dried Cranberries: I use unsweetened dried cranberries, but you could also use raisins or dried cherries.
  • Sunflower Seeds: for a little crunch, I love sunflower seeds. But feel free to use slivered almonds or your favorite seeds or nuts.
  • Goat Cheese: just a sprinkle adds amazing creaminess. But crumbled feta or grated cheddar cheese works too.

Helpful tip: You can easily make this salad dairy-free! Just omit the goat cheese or use dairy-free cheese and swap in dairy-free yogurt in the dressing. It’ll still be delicious!

Broccoli Salad Dressing

The typical dressing for a broccoli salad is a creamy, mayonnaise-based dressing. I don’t add any extra sugar to my dressing, but I do “up” the creaminess by adding a little homemade yogurt to the dressing. It adds just the right sweetness and tang!

Find the printable recipe with measurements below

A large bowl of broccoli salad

How to Make Broccoli Salad

The only thing that requires cooking in this salad is the bacon. The rest comes together easy! Here’s how you make it:

  • Cook the bacon in the oven (it’s way easier) and when that’s done, blot it dry with a paper towel.
  • While the bacon is cooking, slice the florets off a large head of broccoli and add them to a mixing bowl.
  • Dice up some red onion and add that to the bowl along with the sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and goat cheese.
  • Once the bacon is cooked and cooled, crumble the bacon in the bowl and mix it all together.
  • In a separate small bowl make the dressing by stirring together the mayonnaise and yogurt. Then add that to the salad and stir everything together for the most delicious, flavorful, highly addictive, healthy broccoli salad recipe.
Broccoli salad in a bowl with salad servers

Storage Tips

This is one of those super durable salads that’s perfect for meal prep! It will keep for 4 to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container. And if you’re making this for a holiday party, you can easily prep this the day before (with or without the dressing).

Broccoli Salad Recipe Video

While this is an easy recipe to make, it always helps to watch a quick tutorial video. Give it a watch below!

More Healthy Salad Recipes You’ll Love

Want more easy, healthy salad recipes? Check out some of these classics – they’re favorites for a reason!

This is the ideal salad for weeknights and dinner parties. Trust me, it’ll get devoured quickly! Once you make it, let me know your thoughts on it in the comment box below.

A large serving bowl of broccoli salad

Classic Broccoli Salad

4.98 from 124 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This classic broccoli salad will delight you time and again! It's a durable salad that's perfect for meal prep or any holiday party. Watch the video above to see how quickly it comes together!

Video

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

Instructions 

  • Cook the bacon. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Add the bacon slices to a parchment-lined baking tray and cook for 15 to 18 minutes, or until crispy. Remove the bacon from the oven and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to dry and cool.
    Baking bacon for broccoli salad
  • Add everything to a bowl. Add the broccoli, red onion, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and goat cheese to a large mixing bowl. When the bacon is cool to the touch, crumble it on top.
    Broccoli salad ingredients in a large bowl
  • To make the dressing, add the mayonnaise and yogurt to a small bowl and stir together.
    Making broccoli salad dressing in a bowl
  • Pour the dressing on top of the broccoli salad and toss to combine.
    A white bowl of broccoli salad

Lisa’s Tips

  • Make sure you’ve sliced the broccoli florets into small, bite-sized pieces. It makes it far easier to eat that way.
  • If you’re wondering what to do with the broccoli stem, spiralize it! Yes, you can totally spiralize a broccoli stem, just as you would a zucchini. It’s delicious! And while I don’t show you how to spiralize a broccoli stem in my Spiralizer Beginner’s Guide video, you can still get a little inspiration from the video.

Nutrition

Calories: 406kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 379mg | Potassium: 410mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 609IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: broccoli salad
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted June 2018, but updated to include new information. 

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




292 Comments

  1. This is a great great recipe. I was hesitant to eat raw broccoli, but I’m so glad I just tried it to see if it works. And boy, does it work! I make a big batch and it’s a great lunch for both my husband and I.

    My only changes:
    I omit the goat cheese (not a huge fan).
    I substitute sunflower seeds for chopped almonds bc not a huge fan of sunflower seeds.5 stars

  2. Love this salad so much! I could’ve sworn the first time I read the recipe there were red grapes in this — so I added them because I was loosely remembering the recipe. And then when I came back to look for the dressing proportions I kept looking for the grapes but couldn’t find them, LOL! But they made such a tasty addition I always add them in. This salad has been a hit for any occasion I have prepped it for. Holds up SO well on the fridge! Also doctored up the mayo/yogurt with some paprika and garlic powder. I love that Lisa’s recipes are always spot on. 🙌🏼5 stars

    1. Hi Julie – Red grapes are a wonderful addition, I’m sure! But, thanks for leaving a review and happy to hear this salad has been such a hit.

  3. I often use broccoli or brocolini in a salad of tomato, onion, cucumber and black olives so I was inspired to try this recipe. I always use the broccoli stem thinly sliced on an angle. The flavour and texture is slightly different than florets and adds greater depth of flavour and texture to the final result. I also used equal quantities of Thommy Mayonnaise and Greek Yoghurt for a luscious dressing with sharpness perfectly balanced when using a rich egg Mayo and a high quality full fat Yoghurt. Using quality ingredients makes all the difference and if you are worried about the fat content you can use less because the flavour is bolder.5 stars

  4. I make this recipe at least once a week–best broccoli recipe ever! Your recipe site is my “go to” almost all the time for both everyday meals or party dishes.5 stars

    1. This has become my new favourite batch lunch for the working week. I add roasted sweet potato which goes into the oven with the bacon and comes out at the same time, so it’s still very little work overall. Delish!5 stars

  5. This broccoli salad is so simple yet so complex & delicious in flavor! A must have for a simple throw together side dish or a summer salad to bring to a picnic. Salad dressing today are filled with such harmful and unnecessary ingredients; I love that Lisa shows us that making them is easy, flavorful & healthy.5 stars

  6. Hi Lisa, I made this recipe last night for dinner. My picky eater little sister has two servings of it. She said “OMG this is sooooo good!” Salad was a hit. I’m trying to get her to try new things and incorporate veggies into her meals. Thank you for another great recipe.5 stars

  7. Hi Lisa, I made this last evening ! what a hit!! delicious. We had a friend over, I served it with Salmon, Roasted caramelized Carrots, and rice… so delicious. Our friend kept saying the broccoli is so good! I didn’t add the. bacon. and had to substitute feta for goat cheese.. no goat cheese in the house.Added a lot of crushed almonds at the end. Yummy! thank you for sharing!!!5 stars

  8. Such a great tasting summer salad! So easy to put together. Will def be on repeat for the rest of the summer and probably into the fall.5 stars

  9. i really liked this recipe. i didn’t have any goat cheese(bummer) and didn’t want feta to over power, but i may sprinkle a little on top at meal time. i used the low carb vanilla yogurt that i had on hand and added a splash of cider vinegar for some tang. so good5 stars

  10. Yum this is so good! 
    I used kewpie mayonnaise and used more yoghurt than Mayo, and added a tablespoon of tahini for some extra bite. So good! 5 stars

  11. I do most of the cooking and often use & love many recipes from the website. But after I bought your book, my wife found this one and took it over, as it were. High praise indeed. Last night was at least the 4th time, each of which is better than the last!

    As for your mention that bacon is “involved,” it reminded me of the rule articulated some years ago by the then-food columnist at The Atlantic, Corby Kummer: the best way to improve any recipe is “double the chocolate and add bacon.”  (Arithmetic reminder: 2 x 0 is still zero.) 5 stars

  12. This salad is amazing! My husband and I enjoyed it three nights in a row with different entrees. It stayed totally fresh and we liked that it wasn’t “goopy” like other similar recipes! This will definitely be a staple in our house. 5 stars

    1. Ive eaten this for years however it has a slightly sweet creamy dressing. At first I thought how does this work with stuff like onions, bacon, sun seeds? lol. I am thinking its just a tbls. sugar added. Its delicious and the bowl is emptied at parties.5 stars

  13. I made this recipe tonight and it was wonderful! I “ketoized” it, since I eat low carb, by substituting pomegranate seeds for dried fruit, and it was delicious. I did blanch the broccoli for one minute and then shocked it in ice water but that’s just because I don’t like raw broccoli. 5 stars

      1. Does anybody blanch the broccoli before putting it in the salad( I get too much gas with raw broccoli)

  14. Hi Lisa :-)

    This recipe sounds wonderful. Can raisins be substituted for the cranberries?

    Thank you and take care.

  15. This is my absolute favourite salad. I often make it as a side at family get togethers and it goes down a treat! Also keeps so well in the fridge as a side to other meals! 5 stars

  16. Made this today. Substituted the sunflower seeds for pecans and left the broccoli raw as per the recipe. It was divine!!! This salad – or a variation of – will be on regular rotation in our house. Perfect meal prep salad. Thank you Lisa!5 stars

  17. Did you use roasted/salted sunflower seeds or raw? Also, for the creamy goat cheese that comes in a log is there a very best way to crumble? I’ve read freeze it and use a fork but I’m interested in a potentially better way to go about it.

    1. I normally will use raw seeds in most recipes. As for the goat cheese, just crumble it with your hands!

  18. Made to for Easter to take to a friend’s house for Easter dinner. Just left out the goat cheese and swapped out the sunflower seeds for almonds. Big hit. I had looked at other recipes for Broccoli salad but your was the best.5 stars

  19. I made this salad for Easter with a couple tweaks due to what I had on hand, and it is a winner for sure!! I used plain cashew yogurt instead of greek and violife feta to keep it dairy free. Also replaced the sunflower seeds with sliced almonds and the cranberries with goji berries. I wouldn’t recommend the goji berry substitute because they got super soft after the salad sat for a while and aren’t quite as tart as I think the salad needed, but overall it was excellent and I will definitely be making it again!5 stars

  20. This salad is bomb!! The saltiness of the bacon, the sweet of the raisins (i subbed these for cranberries), the crunch of the sunflower seeds, the zing of the red onion plus the yummy dressing paired with nourishing broccoli – what can go wrong. Great combination! This will be my go-to side dish!5 stars

  21. Thankyou, made this last night and it is delish:) Question what is the serving size you are calculating the nutritional table on??5 stars

  22. Thought this recipe would turn out a bit dry, but as always, Lisas’ recipes keep surprising me! So flavourful and tasty! We all loved the crispy, and mouthwatering taste of this sallad! 
    Will definitely do it again! 5 stars

  23. Unbelievable. I have made and loved so many of your recipes but I meal-prepped this one this weekend and it absolutely slaps and feels rich and decadent and high calorie while still being relatively healthy. I thought I’d hate the yogurt in the dressing instead of going all mayo, but I used a greek yogurt and the tang adds SO much flavor. What a winner.5 stars

  24. This salad looks amazing! Can’t wait to taste it! If I want to do it through the whole food 30 period, can you tell me what will be the best substitute for the Yogourt? Thanks!5 stars

    1. If you haven’t tried it yet, using a dairy free yogurt like forager cashew yogurt works great too for Whole30!

  25. Made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious. Did not realise how nice raw broccoli taste. I used Parma ham instead of bacon as that was I had in and it needed using up. Also used half sunflower seeds and the rest chopped walnuts. My husband loved it too. Will definitely put it on our menu. Would be great when entertaining. Thank you very much. 5 stars

  26. I look forward to trying your bacon in the oven as well as the broccoli salad. It looks delicious!

    Regarding your homemade yogurt, have you ever heard of sheep milk yogurt from Bellwether Farms? It’s outstanding! It’s extremely thick and creamy and only available at Whole Foods.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!5 stars

  27. DELICIOUS, HEALTHY, EASY!!! Always looking for yummy ways to eat more veggies. Reminds me of yummy cold pasta salad I ate a kid but love that this is much healthier and just as tasty😍 The goat cheese is chefs kiss! I skipped the cranberries as personal preference but love that you can easily add/remove things in this recipe.5 stars

    1. It’s such a classic go-to recipe, isn’t it? And yes, it’s super adaptable to personal preferences. Happy you love it as much as I do Tess!

    1. I am doing the same! Made it for dinner and was raving about it to family and they asked me to bring it to thanksgiving! 5 stars

  28. I adore broccoli salad and love the textures and flavours it has; it’s so versatile too as I can make it vegetarian for me but leave in the bacon for others. Great recipe!

  29. Have you ever tried cooking the broccoli? My son hasn’t learned to eat raw broccoli. I’m wondering if it would work.

    1. You can boil a little, but I wouldn’t recommend a long time as it will change the texture of the salad.

  30. Made this for our Easter Sunday lunch and it was a hit! Will definitely add this to the favourites list. I did cheat with the dressing though and purchased a honey mustard garlic dressing.5 stars

  31. I love this recipe.  So delicious. I made homemade yogurt  and that was a fun and easy adventure. Can’t wait to  have yogurt parfait’s for breakfast tomorrow. We are serving your salad with smoked pork chops and oven rice. Thank you. 5 stars

  32. Awesome recipe thank you for sharing. I tried it for my first time and followed the directions as is, and it turned out great. I definitely recommend!5 stars

  33. Wow, so good! I did not have plain yogurt so I used part skim ricotta cheese in the dressing. I also used shredded mozzarella in the salad, which was a nice mild balance to the slightly salty sunflowers seeds. I think this would be good with many types is substitutions!