Broccoli salad is a quick and easy summer salad that’s nutritious, delicious, and stunning to look at. It’s got a combination of gorgeous flavors, textures, and colors from the broccoli, cheese, raisins, and bacon.
Plus, that creamy and tangy dressing made of mayo, sugar, and vinegar brings all the flavors together to make one incredibly mouthwatering dish. It’s the ultimate crowd-pleaser and a guaranteed hit for your next potluck.
How to Make Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad
Here is how to make this phenomenal salad, a la Paula Deen:
1 head broccoli
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes (or grapes cut in half)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese (cut into very small chunks)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup red onion (chopped)
6 to 8 slices cooked bacon (crumbled)
1. Start by prepping the head of broccoli. Trim off the large leaves and cut out the tough stalks of the broccoli. Rinse the vegetable well. Slice the broccoli florets and stems into small bite-sized pieces.
2. Transfer the broccoli pieces into a large bowl. Add bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, onion, and raisins and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, cherry tomatoes (or grapes), white vinegar, and mayonnaise. Mix well until combined.
4. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and coat evenly.
Tips & Tricks
- The star of this dish is obviously the broccoli, so be sure to get the freshest head possible. Older broccoli will yield a dry salad, and that’s definitely not what you want.
- Got some extra vegetables in the fridge? You can add them to the mix for more flavor and health benefits! Veggies that work well with the salad include zucchini, celery, cauliflower, mushroom and bell pepper.
- Give the salad an extra crunch by adding some nuts. Sunflower seeds, pine nuts, toasted almonds, cashews, pistachios, or pecans work great. Or, how about adding a sweet and juicy surprise into the mix? Some ripe seedless grapes will taste delightful.
- Refrigerate the salad for at least an hour before serving. That way, the broccoli gets ample time to soak in all the flavors from the dressing, cheese, and bacon.
- Not a fan of raisins? No problem, dried cranberries can be a tasty alternative.
- This is not required, but if you want to blanch the broccoli beforehand, you certainly can. It’s simple: place the broccoli florets and stems in a pot of boiling salted water. Let it stay there for a minute, then drain the veggies and transfer them into an ice bath. Let them sit for 5 minutes, then drain.
- If you want a sweet and smoky addition to this refreshing salad, throw in some shredded barbeque chicken. Insanely delicious!
- If you are not a fan of the sharp flavor and aroma of red onions, you can dial it down by soaking them in vinegar or ice water. Leave it covered for 10 minutes, drain, and voilà! You’ve got perfect tasting onion that’s a lot less pungent than normal.
- Broccoli salad will keep fresh in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container to preserve its freshness.
- If you are making this salad ahead of time, leave out the nuts until you are ready to serve. You want the nuts extra crunchy – if you add them early on, they won’t be crisp anymore.
- Instead of just cheddar cheese, you could experiment with other cheeses as well. Some smoked gouda, provolone, Gruyere, or Swiss cheese will surely taste fantastic with the salad.
- Want a lighter version of this salad? Instead of regular mayonnaise, you can use light mayo. Or, skip on the mayo entirely and use Greek yogurt instead.
- Care to try a different dressing for this salad? How about a tangy honey-mustard dressing? All you need is some extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and sea salt. Try it too and tell us which dressing you prefer!
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