Broccoli Salad


I’ve never really been a big fan of traditional broccoli salad. I have this weird thing where I don’t like cheddar cheese in pre-dressed salads, especially ones with mayonnaise-based dressings. I also am not super keen on the mayonnaise-and-sugar dressing; many recipes I’ve seen call for nearly equal parts mayo and sugar. And then I have this thing about raisins and how I feel like they never, ever belong with vegetables. Even ants on a log is a little iffy (cute and fun, but I’m cool with just the peanut butter and celery–the raisins are welcome to join up with some oatmeal in some cookies.)

I realize this could be seen as heresy–people tend to take their traditional recipes very seriously. But I never grew up eating broccoli salad; I grew up with the ’80s-chic layered salad with iceberg lettuce, bacon, peas, Miracle Whip mixed with sugar (yeah, that was me gasping), and Swiss cheese. So I don’t have any particular loyalty to traditional broccoli salad recipes. If you have a recipe you love, that’s awesome. But if you’ve always been a little iffy on broccoli salad, today is your day.

For the salad, you’ll need 12 ounces of broccoli florets (fresh, just in case there was any question) and 12 ounces of broccoli slaw. You’ll also need a cup of salted sunflower seeds, a cup of Craisins, 6 ounces of cooked, crumbled bacon, and a small red onion. For the dressing, you’ll need mayonnaise, quite a bit less sugar than traditional recipes call for, red wine vinegar, mild coarse grain mustard (I used Creole mustard), salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a couple tablespoons of grated red onion (I just grated some of the red onion I chopped up for the salad.)

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl…

and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Break the broccoli florets into small pieces and toss with the broccoli slaw. Add the bacon.

Add the Craisins, chopped onion, and sunflower seeds…

and toss until combined.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad…

and combine thoroughly.

If possible, chill for at least an hour before serving. Serves 12-14.



  1. This looks really yum. I love to use a mix of pepitas, sunflowers and pinenuts for my salads. We can get it easily in Australia, not sure about anywhere else but they are great toasted or fresh with breakfast or salads.
    Thanks so much for all the yummy salads you keep adding.

  2. Is broccoli salad really a thing? I have only ever seen it at Soupplantation. Really. (And I love it.)

    Perhaps I will have to try this–though neither of my kids will eat any mayo-based dressing! They have only been exposed to Miracle Whip at grandma’s–and wouldn’t try it.

  3. This looks tasty. I haven’t had broccoli salad for a long time so I don’t know how it differs, but craisins win over raisins any day in any recipe.

  4. I love the glass bowl. Where did you buy it? I’m really hoping you say something like “Ikea” or “Kohls” or “JCPenny” and not “Oh, this cute little store downtown, so there’s no way you can get one unless you live in LA.” The salad look gorgeous in that bowl.

  5. In my neck of the woods it’s usually just broccoli, cauliflower, and bacon with some miracle whip and a touch of sugar. I love it that way, but I think I might mix it up a little bit now.

  6. I’m not a fan of lots of raw onion, so when I make this salad I only include the small amount that is grated into the dressing. To me, that small amount of onion provides just the right onion-aftertaste…it doesn’t leave my breath smelling like I’ve just eaten an entire onion. Also good with cashews.

  7. Fot a bit of a fresher taste, we substitute slice red grapes or the Craisins. The juicy texture is amazing!

  8. I’m looking forward to trying this salad. It looks like something I would love, even if it does do bad things to my breath.

  9. I am SO with you on broccoli salads, especially because of the overdose of sugar (and while I’m on the subject, don’t even get me started on pasta or macaroni salads that have a dressing with sweetened condensed milk in it – GAG!). This one sounds good though. How far in advance could you make this salad? I’m all about things that can be done a day in advance – would it get soggy or does broccoli hold up well?

    1. You could always make the salad and the dressing in advance and then toss them together closer to serving time–it cuts way down on prep time (I say “way down” like this is an all-day recipe…it’s pretty easy, haha!), but then you avoid any potential sogginess.

  10. I am not usually a fan of broccoli salads either because it has a ton of mayonaise and/or cups of sugar. I am excited to try this one. Thanks for the remake! 🙂

  11. I actually love broccoli salad, and this one looks so good. It reminds me of one I ate at a party, it came from Costco. This is a way better version, so thank you!

  12. Very close to my version. I use pine nuts instead of sunflower seeds and Splenda instead of sugar. Every little calorie counts, no?

  13. Wow, Kate, again with the mind-reading?!? Impressive. First, the house ranch, and now this…chalk up another one for OBB!! THANKS a TON! I’m sick of paying 5.99 a pound at the deli for this stuff!!

  14. You have a lot of food issues! Broccoli salad is a favorite at our house. I’m pretty sure that if I made a different version, I would hear LOTS of protesting. It does look good though!

  15. I love this and have always wanted to recipe. Now, thank you, I have it! Thanks for sharing. Adding to this week’s menu for sure!

  16. That’s so funny that all of your issues with broccoli salad are my issues too, and we solved them about the same way! I like the idea of adding some broccoli slaw to it, I feel bad wasting the stems when I buy broccoli. But yeah, inifitely better with about HALF the amount of dressing normally on this type of salad, and that with about half the sugar, and I agree raisins don’t belong anywhere in a salad. Craisins are a perfect substitute. I use slivered almonds in place of sesame seeds, and they work well, too, though they’re better toasted and at least you don’t have to toast sunflower seeds.

    To the poster who asked about storing this – it’s good overnight, but any more than 1 day and it gets kinda soggy. Even overnight the dressing pools in the bottom of the bowl and needs a good mix, it gets a little watery. I keep the dressing and the ingredients in the fridge separately and then mix after I get where I’m going, or shortly before dinner.

  17. I’ve been looking for a good broccoli salad, and I totally get you on the raisins and cheese, not yummy. This salad looks great! I also would love to have the recipe for the 80’s chic-layered salad…I ate it a shower once, um, probably in the 80’s, and I loved it!

  18. This is pretty similar to our family’s favorite broccoli salad. I’m interested in trying this variation. I’ve never put cabbage, craisins, or mustard in it.

  19. Delicious, so much fresher and yummier than the goopy original version and delightfully gluten free, for those of us who have the added nuisance of worrying about that kind of thing! Thanks!!

  20. I agree–there is WAY too much sugar in the traditional broccoli salad. Also, there’s usually too much sugar in the spinach strawberry salads, too. Someone once brought one to a potluck, and it felt like I was eating spinach for dessert. Gag!!

  21. This sounds delicious to me. I like broccoli just about any way I can get it. My daughter is looking over my shoulder saying she doesn’t like Craisins OR raisins in salads. Her dad doesn’t either. But I have her permission to make some for myself for lunch sometime. 🙂

  22. I love this salad! I have a recipe that is very similar but I added cauliflower to stretch it for a party and it was muy delicioso!

    1. As long as you use a mild coarse mustard, it will just add another flavor dimension and it won’t be mustard-y at all. I use Creole mustard almost exclusively; surprisingly, Walmart has a very good coarse mustard. Those very strong, wine-y mustards are NOT a good option here.

  23. Wow, I might actually like this. I also have issues with raisins and veggies. And the sweet dressings. I won’t eat coleslaw unless I make it because I hate the sweet dressing/cabbage combo. Going to give this a try!

  24. I CAN NOT stand raisens. At all! I had never, ever thought to put craisens in my broccoli salad! What a fantastic idea! (Is that weird that I can’t stand raisens, but I will eat craisens?)

  25. Yum! It seems like we have a lot in common…I don’t like cheese in my green salads and always picked that part off at school AND grew up eating Sarah’s Salad from Lion House Recipes…yum! Love the idea of the cherries in this! Can’t wait to try making it myself! Thanks Kate!

  26. Well, goodness! You gave me the perfect recipe but couldn’t you also go to the grocery store for me? I don’t have all the ingredients… 🙂
    Thanks for another fantabulous dish! You lovely ladies are changing the world, one cook at a time!

  27. what’s in the liquid measuring cup in the picture? it looks like buttermilk to me. i try skimming your comments but didn’t see that anyone else has asked it.

  28. My mom made broccoli salad frequently when I was growing up and it always made me gag big time. However, this looks sooo much better. I’ll have to try it.

  29. I was skimming through your blog to figure out if it was worth bookmarking (are the posts regular enough, are the recipes doable etc) but you snagged me with raisins “never, ever” belonging with vegetables. I think they muck up a good cookie too but will accept that good people can disagree on that. Fight the good fight sister! Looking forward to trying out some of these.

  30. SOOOO funny you posted this – my dad brought some of this salad home from the deli on Sunday, and my 3 year old LOVED it! I thought it was pretty tasty, too, though I’ve always been too reluctant to try it before. I’m so glad to have another side dish that my little one will eat!

  31. Made this the other day and we really like it! I used 1/2 light and 1/2 fat-free mayo and it worked fine. Next time I’ll halve the recipe, since it’s only the two of us, but I will definitely make it again.

  32. This is almost exactly like my mom’s broccoli salad recipe except without the mustard in the dressing and we put more craisins and more bacon in it because why not and we use less onion. But wow, that’s pretty darn close. And it is delicious. Its a holiday must-have in our family.

  33. My mother makes something very close to this and it wins in our family (all grown and out of the house, less one child that should be out of the house but has returned…). She also uses uncooked ramen noodles. I, too, was skeptical. But… it’s good!

  34. I cannot find Creole mustard here in Utah. I’ve checked at several different grocery stores. Can you suggest something close to it that would work? I’ve looked for anything that says Creole or Cajun mustard and no luck. 🙁

  35. This looks like a winner. Just one quick question, though. Is the bacon weight pre-cooked or post-cooked?

    1. It’s pre-cooked weight. If it was post-cooked it would read, “6 ounces cooked and crumbled bacon” instead of “6 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled” make sense?

  36. I grew up eating broccoli salad, and it definately wasn’t the “traditional” kind. I would NEVER put any kind of cheese, bacon, or (eek!) raisins in my salad. I would pass on the red onion as well. My recipe is slightly similar to this one, although it does use the tradtional dressing. The salad includes broccoli (obviously), red grapes, sunflower seeds, green onion, and a dressing made with 1 c. Miracle Whip, 1/4 c. sugar, and 2 Tbsp white vinegar.

  37. This recipe is soo amazing. Every time I make it, people say something. I leave out the bacon and you can’t notice it missing. It is still super yummy without it.

  38. I just made this for 100th time. I like a lot of food blog/websites. But yours is the one I use the most regularly. I can’t begin to list all the recipes of yours that are in regular rotation. Happy Memorial Day!

  39. This version is so similar to my mom’s version, I love it! One thing that My mom does that I LOVE is to take about half the broccoli and pulse it in the food processor or blender till it’s coarse and still chunky- about the size of large pebbles. It’s only 3-4 pulses. It gives the salad awesome varying texture instead of just big chunks of broccoli. Another great recipe, thanks gals!

  40. I found your recipe through Pinterest and went with it, with a few minor adjustments to cut carbs even lower. I brought it to a FD family BBQ and the best compliment I got was a picky firefighter asking if he could take the leftovers home! My husband was actually dissappointed that we didn’t have any to take home, haha. We have our annual awards BBQ potluck this coming weekend and I’m making a double batch for that, might as well stick with what works!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *