As you search through salad ideas, many “specialty” salads are more seasonal. Then you get lucky and find that one “specialty” salad that just seems to be good for all seasons and all holidays. THIS is that salad! Have you tried classic broccoli salad? If not, let me tell you that this is one of the MOST requested salads at our friends and family get togethers.
This salad can be made ahead….BONUS! I remember going to end of season sports banquets and I always looked forward to this side. Yes, I have loved it for a very long time! It is a delicious mixture of only a few ingredients that is topped with a creamy dressing that completes it perfectly. I just described to you an easy salad that is also yummy…it’s perfect!
With the holidays right around the corner, it is the perfect addition to your Christmas Eve or Christmas Day menu. As mentioned earlier, it can be made ahead and these are the best recipes when there is so many other things going on as well that makes it hard to spend all day in the kitchen.
For Salad ~
2 large bunches broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup to 1 cup raisins (I go with the larger amount)
12-18 strips bacon, cooked crisp
1 small onion, diced
1 cup or more of sunflower seeds
For Dressing ~
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. vinegar
* I double the dressing recipe because we like it covered in dressing.
* You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar…both work fine!
Break or cut broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces. You can chop stems and add them in as well.
Fry bacon until crisp. Crumble when cooled. *You can buy the premade bacon and toss in microwave for 1 to 2 minutes for a quick prep on the bacon.
Mix broccoli, raisins and finely-chopped onion and toss.
In separate bowl, mix mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until well combined and sugar crystals have dissolved. Pour over broccoli mixture and refrigerate. It is best if it marinates at least 2 hours.
*** I add the bacon when serving. This keeps the bacon from getting soft. This is not a necessary step, it is just how we prefer it.
Occasions for Classic Broccoli Salad ~
As mentioned earlier, this is the perfect salad for Christmas. The green color adds to the festive look on your table. Also, since it can be made ahead, it makes meal prep that much easier for the busy Christmas season.
It’s a perfect salad for Valentine’s Day by switching up the raisins for dried cranberries. I like to bring in the color of the holiday into foods that I serve for that extra fun touch.
Definitely a great dish for Easter…just because salads are always good with Easter ham and all the other yummy sides that go with your Easter meal.
For all of the summer holidays….again it is a big hit. It is crowd approved and nice that you can make ahead, throw it in a cooler to keep it chilled and have it ready to serve! Seriously, it is a PERFECT salad for any time of the year! This Iced sald serving bowl is perfect for all of the occasions too! The stainless steel serving bowl sits in a larger acrylic bowl that holds the ice and keeps your salad chilled for hours!
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Do I Need to Blanch the Broccoli? ~
No! Cut the broccoli pieces from fresh broccoli…no extra work needed here! The broccoli will soften a bit on its own as it marinates in the dressing. Of course, you can blanch it if you wish, but there is really no need.
Healthier Substitutions ~
You can substitute greek yogurt for mayonnaise to make the salad a bit healthier. You can also use mayonnaise with olive oil in it to save a few calories without changing the creaminess of the dressing.
Using pre-cooked bacon has less fat and calories than pan-fried bacon. As mentioned above, I use this a lot and it does not alter the tast. DO NOT use the little bacon bits that you find in a jar….please!
As many salads go, this is one that is not necessarily high on the “healthy” list. However, it is an easy way to get broccoli and raisins (or dried cranberries) in your diet for those more finicky!
Other Salad Recipes Using Same Dressing ~
This dressing is a common dressing for many of what I call the “old-time salad recipes.” Another family favorite of ours is made by mixing bite-sized pieces of Longhorn Colby Cheese, bacon pieces, diced onion, broccoli florets, cauliflower pieces and diced green onion topped with this creamy dressing! Give it a try too!
This Classic Pea Salad by Bellyfull.net is another delcious salad recipe that uses the same dressing. As Amy from BellyFull states in her post linked here, it is another old fashioned recipe that receives great accolades every time she serves it!
Do you already make this salad and maybe have some variations? I would love to hear about them! If you haven’t made it, be sure to make it soon….your family will be thankful you did!
Year ‘Round Meals to Pair with Classic Broccoli Salad ~
Have you tried making the hamburger bowls yet? If not, check out this fun way and unique way to serve hamburgers…Hamburger Bowls!
This salad would also complement these amazing Poor Man Smoked Burnt Ends!
Happy Cooking ~