Broccoli Salad: The Ultimate Summer BBQ Side Dish

everybody's favorite chopped broccoli salad with bacon
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Get ready to kick your summer BBQ game up a notch with a side dish that is sure to steal the show – Broccoli Salad! Packed with vibrant colors, fresh flavors, and a crave-worthy crunch, this ultimate summer salad perfectly accompanies grilled meats, burgers, and more.

This salad is a true crowd-pleaser, featuring a medley of crisp broccoli florets, crunchy bacon bits, tangy red onions, and a creamy dressing. Not only does it satisfy even the pickiest eaters, but it also packs a nutritious punch.

Best of all, it comes together in just a few simple steps, making it an effortless addition to any summer gathering. So, get ready to wow your guests with this delicious and healthy side dish that will have everyone coming back for seconds and asking for the recipe. Let’s dive into this easy broccoli salad recipe and elevate your next BBQ!

chopped broccoli salad with raisins, bacon, sunflower seeds and a sweet and tangy creamy vinaigrette dressing

broccoli salad Ingredients

To create the classic broccoli salad, you’ll need a few key ingredients that complement the flavors and textures of the broccoli. Here are the essential components:

ingredients needed for chopped broccoli salad and broccoli salad dressing
  • Broccoli Florets: Start with a fresh head of broccoli, ensuring they are tender yet firm. These bite-sized gems will be the star of your salad.
  • Bacon Bits: Crispy bacon adds a savory and smoky element to the salad. Opt for thick-cut bacon for maximum flavor.
  • Red Onions: Tangy red onions provide a subtle bite and add a pop of color to the salad. Thinly slice them to distribute their flavor evenly.
  • Sunflower Seeds: Add texture and crunch to this to this salad.
  • Raisins: Raisins or dried cranberries can be added to add sweetness. The combo might sound interesting, but trust us. The sweet, tangy, savory vibe of this salad is incredible.
  • Creamy Dressing: A creamy dressing brings all the ingredients together and adds a luscious texture to the salad. Choose from classic options like mayonnaise-based dressings or explore healthier alternatives like Greek yogurt-based dressings.

These four ingredients form the foundation of a delicious broccoli salad. However, feel free to get creative and add other elements like nuts, dried fruits, or cheese to enhance your salad’s flavor profile and texture.

Variations and add-ins to customize your broccoli salad

While the classic combination of broccoli, bacon, and red onions is undeniably delicious, there are endless possibilities to customize your broccoli salad. Here are a few variations and add-ins to consider:

  • Cheese: Goat cheese, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or grated Parmesan can add a creamy and savory element to your salad.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds can provide a delightful crunch and nutty flavor.
  • Dried Fruits: Sweeten your salad with dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots.
  • Fresh Fruits: Add a burst of freshness by including diced apples, juicy grapes, or tangy mandarin oranges.
side crispy broccoli salad with bacon and red onions.

Dressing options for broccoli salad

The dressing is the secret to a perfectly balanced and flavorful broccoli salad with bacon. Here are a few dressing options to consider:

  • Classic Creamy Dressing: Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper to create a rich and tangy dressing that complements the crispness of the broccoli.
  • Light and Tangy Dressing: Opt for a Greek yogurt-based dressing to reduce the calorie content while enjoying a creamy and tangy flavor. Combine Greek yogurt, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper for a refreshing twist.
  • Asian-inspired Dressing: Infuse your salad with Asian flavors by whisking together soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, garlic, and ginger. This dressing adds a delightful umami taste to the salad.

Experiment with different dressings to find the one that suits your taste preferences. Remember to adjust the seasoning and sweetness levels according to your liking.

close up of the ingredients in broccoli salad recipe

Step-by-step guide on how to make broccoli salad

Now that you have all the ingredients and dressing options, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making a delicious broccoli salad:

  1. Prepare the Broccoli: Wash the broccoli florets under cold water and pat them dry. Cut the raw broccoli into bite-sized pieces, ensuring they are evenly sized for a consistent texture.
  2. Cook the Bacon: In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Once done, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess grease. Once cooled, crumble the bacon into small bits.
  3. Slice the Red Onions: Thinly slice the red onions to add a punch of flavor and color to the salad.
  4. Make the Dressing: Choose your preferred dressing option and prepare it according to the recipe. Ensure that all the ingredients are well combined and the broccoli salad dressing has a smooth consistency.
  5. Combine the Ingredients: In a large bowl, toss the broccoli florets, bacon bits, and sliced red onions together. Pour the dressing over the mixture and gently fold everything together, ensuring all the ingredients are evenly coated.
  6. Chill and Serve: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together. When ready to serve, give the salad a final toss and garnish with additional toppings like nuts or cheese, if desired.

Tips for serving and storing broccoli salad

To ensure that your broccoli salad remains fresh and flavorful, here are a few tips for serving and storing:

  • Serve Chilled: Broccoli salad is best served chilled, allowing the flavors to meld together. Keep it refrigerated until ready to serve, and place the bowl on ice or in a cool spot during your BBQ to maintain its freshness.
  • Serve in Individual Portions: Consider serving the salad in individual portions to prevent it from becoming soggy. This way, guests can easily help themselves without compromising the overall quality of the salad.
  • Store Properly: If there are any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Consume within 2-3 days for optimal taste and texture.
  • Reserve Dressing: If you plan to store the salad overnight or for an extended period, consider reserving a portion of the dressing. Add the dressing just before serving to prevent the salad from becoming overly saturated.

Following these tips ensures that your broccoli salad remains fresh, vibrant, and delicious from the first bite to the last.

the classic broccoli salad in a white serving bowl. Zoomed into see all the ingredients closer.

Pairing suggestions for broccoli salad at summer BBQs

Broccoli salad pairs well with a wide range of dishes, making it a versatile addition to your summer BBQ spread. Here are a few pairing suggestions to elevate your BBQ experience:

  • Grilled Meats: Serve broccoli salad alongside grilled chicken, steak, or pork chops for a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
  • Burgers and Hot Dogs: Add a refreshing touch to your burgers and hot dogs by serving them with a side of broccoli salad. The salad’s crispness and tangy flavors complement the heartiness of the grilled meats.
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Frequently asked questions about broccoli salad

Can I make the salad in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the salad in advance. However, it is best to add the dressing no more than a few hours before you plan on serving to prevent the salad from becoming soggy.

Can I use frozen broccoli instead of fresh?

Fresh broccoli is recommended for its crisp texture and vibrant flavor. However, if fresh broccoli is unavailable, you can use frozen broccoli. Thaw and drain it well before incorporating it into the salad.

Can I make the salad vegan?

Absolutely! Opt for vegan mayonnaise or substitute it with mashed avocado for a creamy dressing. Omit the bacon or replace it with vegan bacon bits or smoky tempeh.

Can I use other vegetables in the salad?

While broccoli is the star of the show, you can add other vegetables like cauliflower, shredded carrots, or cherry tomatoes to enhance the salad’s color and flavor.

Can I make the salad gluten-free?

Yes, you can make the salad gluten-free by using gluten-free versions of ingredients like bacon, mayonnaise, and dressings.

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So, next time you fire up the grill for a summer BBQ, don’t forget to include broccoli salad as the ultimate side dish. Your guests will be impressed by the burst of flavors and textures, and you’ll enjoy the satisfaction of serving a delicious and nutritious dish. Get ready to take your BBQ game to new heights with the ultimate summer BBQ side dish – Broccoli Salad!

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everybody's favorite chopped broccoli salad with bacon

Broccoli Salad Recipe

Get ready to elevate your salad game with our delectable broccoli salad recipe. Crisp broccoli florets, colorful veggies, and a zesty dressing come together in perfect harmony to create a dish that's not only delicious but also nutritious. Whether it's a family dinner or a potluck, this broccoli salad is sure to steal the show. Try it today and experience a burst of flavor and freshness in every bite!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 232 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 5 to 6 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • cup red onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup crumbled bacon
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds

Dressing

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (affiliate link)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (affiliate link)
  • teaspoon pepper

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the Broccoli: Wash the broccoli florets under cold water and pat them dry. Cut them into bite-sized pieces, ensuring they are evenly sized for a consistent texture.
    5 to 6 cups broccoli florets
  • Cook the Bacon: In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Once done, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess grease. Once cooled, crumble the bacon into small bits.
    ½ cup crumbled bacon
  • Slice the Red Onions: Thinly slice the red onions to add a punch of flavor and color to the salad.
    ⅓ cup red onion
  • Make the Dressing: Ensure that all the ingredients are well combined and the dressing has a smooth consistency.
    ½ cup mayonnaise, ⅓ cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, ⅕ teaspoon pepper
  • Combine the Ingredients: In a large bowl, toss the broccoli florets, bacon bits, raisins, sunflower seeds, and sliced red onions together. Pour the dressing over the mixture and gently fold everything together, ensuring all the ingredients are evenly coated.
    ½ cup raisins, ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • Chill and Serve: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together. When ready to serve, give the salad a final toss and garnish with additional toppings like nuts or cheese, if desired.

Laura’s Tips + Notes

Recipe Variations: 
  • Cheese: Crumbled feta, shredded cheddar, or grated Parmesan can add a creamy and savory element to your salad.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds can provide a delightful crunch and nutty flavor.
  • Dried Fruits: Sweeten your salad with dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots.
  • Fresh Fruits: Add a burst of freshness by including diced apples, juicy grapes, or tangy mandarin oranges.

YOUR OWN NOTES

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Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cupCalories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 7gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 469mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gCalcium: 39mgIron: 1mg
Keyword bbq sides, broccoli salad
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