Broccoli raisin salad has it all! It’s crunchy, creamy, and smoky with so much texture.
And pockets of raisins add a pop of sweetness.
This salad is the perfect side dish to add a green element to the dinner table everyone will love.
Serve it at your next potluck or over the holidays. There’s no wrong time for this flavorful salad.
It may not be the healthiest salad in the world. But it’s a great way to sneak in some greens.
Let’s take a quick look at how to create the most fantastic broccoli raisin salad.
Broccoli Raisin Salad
There’s so much to love in this crunchy broccoli raisin salad.
It pairs crisp broccoli with smoky bacon, bold red onion, sunflower seeds, and sweet raisins.
Bacon and raisins provide contrasting sweet and smoky flavors that marry with creamy mayo dressing.
And the best part? It’s so effortless to whip together.
You can even make it ahead of time. The longer the ingredients hang out in the fridge, the better it tastes!
This broccoli raisin salad is a must-try for giant BBQs or simple weeknight meals.
- Bacon- Ultra-crispy bacon is a must in this recipe. It provides a wonderfully crisp texture with loads of smokey flavors that make this salad sing.
- Broccoli- Always use fresh broccoli for that delicious crunchy finish. Cut your broccoli into small pieces so every bite delivers a little of everything.
- Red Onion- Red onions are potent and add a spicy element to this dish. White or yellow onions work in a pinch. But red onions have a perfect flavor in this fresh salad.
- Raisins- Any raisin will do in this recipe to add a hint of sweetness. Golden raisins work best in this dish because they add sweetness and a tart kick.
- Mayonnaise- Always opt for the real deal in this simple recipe. Use a good quality mayonnaise (like Duke’s), and leave the Miracle Whip for another day!
- White Sugar- Adding white sugar helps calm those savory and smokey flavors. You can use granulated or raw sugar in this recipe.
- White Vinegar- An acidic kick, like vinegar, lifts all those heavy flavors. If you don’t have white vinegar, substitute it with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
- Sunflower Seeds- Sunflower seeds add a nutty finish to this salad, taking the flavors over the top. You can also use pepitas, cashews, pumpkin seeds, or anything with a crunchy, nutty finish.
How to Make Broccoli Raisin Salad
Here’s a quick rundown on whipping up this fantastic salad.
1. Cook the bacon. Cook the bacon in a large skillet for 10 minutes under medium-high heat. Flip halfway through, and cook on the other side.
Transfer to paper towels, and drain excess grease. When cooled, chop into small pieces. Set aside.
2. Mix the key components. Combine chopped broccoli, red onion, raisins, and bacon in a large mixing bowl.
3. Make the dressing. Mix the mayonnaise, white sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl until combined.
4. Combine salad and salad dressing. Stir into salad mixture until everything coats evenly.
5. Refrigerate. Cover the bowl with a lid, and store in the fridge for at least one hour. Before serving, garnish with sunflower seeds. Enjoy!
Tips for the Best Broccoli Salad
- Make your broccoli al dente. Blanching raw broccoli makes it soft and a little easier to chew. Give your broccoli a quick blanch for 3 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Then, transfer it to an ice bath. It should be perfect!
- Be sure that your broccoli is dry! Your salad will be soggy and soupy if that broccoli is wet. Spin in a salad spinner before adding it to the salad.
- Always use ultra-crispy bacon. Even if you don’t like crispy bacon, it’s a must in this recipe. Crispy bacon won’t become soggy when combined with mayo and has more smoky flavors.
- Transform it into an entire meal. While this recipe makes a great side dish, there’s an easy way to make it a complete meal. Just add protein! Anything works in this salad, like grilled chicken, pulled pork, or leftover steak.
- Make it nutty. Sunflower seeds add a delicate crunch, but you can use whatever nuts you have. Opt for nuts like cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pepitas, or hazelnuts.
- Cheese, anyone? Cheese makes everything better, and that includes this broccoli raisin salad. Adding shredded cheese (like cheddar) adds another creamy layer that pairs well with this salad.
Making this salad ahead of time is so easy and tastes better the next day! So, getting a jump start on meal prep benefits you.
Separate the crunchy components and salad dressing to ensure your salad stays crisp and creamy.
Keep everything covered in the fridge until mealtime. When ready to serve, stir salad dressing into the salad mixture and serve.
How to Store
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They will stay fresh for up to 3 days.
After 3 days, the salad will become a little mushy and watery. So, jump on those leftovers as soon as possible!
Always ensure you stir before serving (to distribute all the ingredients evenly).
Sadly, this salad isn’t a suitable candidate for freezing. But this salad tastes so good you’ll eat it before the three days are up.
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