Broccoli salad is a delicious side dish tossed with a creamy yogurt dressing. Topped with sunflower seeds, red onion, cranberries, crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese for a savory and sweet combination.
This broccoli salad recipe is a combination of tender florets, tossed with a creamy yogurt dressing to make each serving irresistible. The dressing is lightened up with high protein Greek yogurt mixed with red wine vinegar and honey for a sweet and tangy combination.
Tasty toppings like sharp cheddar cheese, smoky bacon, crunchy sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries add layers of texture and flavor. This hearty salad is a flavorful side dish to complement any meal!
Often broccoli salad is made using raw florets. I like to pre-cook the broccoli similar to green beans using the blanch and shock method to make the vegetable more tender and edible.
Just a quick 1-minute plunge in hot water, followed with a soak in ice water is all that’s needed, and it makes a huge difference in texture and flavor of the broccoli. You can skip this step if you prefer the raw taste or short on time, however, I suggest to chop the broccoli into smaller pieces.
To boost the flavors of the broccoli, a mixture of different toppings are incorporated. The dried cranberries complement the savory cheddar cheese and crisp bacon.
I make a tray of oven roasted bacon each week, which can quickly be chopped up and added to the broccoli salad. Sunflower seeds are also added for a nice extra crunch to each bite.
What makes this salad shine is the sweet and tangy dressing. I use a similar dressing in my broccoli slaw recipe. However, I lightened up the recipe for this salad.
Nonfat Greek yogurt is the base, mixed with red wine vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and a small amount of homemade mayonnaise to add a touch of creaminess to the dressing. The dressing is drizzled and tossed with the broccoli mixture. It’s amazing!
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Why You Should Blanch Broccoli
Large pieces of raw broccoli can be a little difficult to eat unless chopped into smaller bite-sized pieces. To help tenderize the broccoli, blanching the florets in hot boiling water for just 1 minute brightens the color of the greens and softens the cell walls without becoming mushy. Immediately cooling the vegetables in ice water stops the cooking process to prevent overcooking.
- 3 quarts water, (2.9L) divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, (9g) divided
- 4 cups ice cubes
- 1 pound broccoli florets, (454g) cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 slices bacon, (1 ounce, 30g)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries, (50g) roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, (50g)
- 1/3 cup red onion, (48g) 1/4-inch dice
- 2 ounces sharp cheddar, (60g) cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, (120ml)
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, (30ml)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, (30ml)
- 2 tablespoons honey, (30ml)
- 1 tablespoon water, (15ml)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, (5ml)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- In a large saucepan add 2 quarts (8 cups) of water and 1 teaspoon salt, bring to a boil.
- In a medium-sized bowl add 1 quart (4 cups) cold water and 4 cups ice.
- Add broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute.
- Immediately transfer broccoli to the ice water bath until cool, 5 minutes. Drain the broccoli florets very well.
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 4 minutes on each side.
- Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined sheet pan to drain. Once cooled chop the bacon into smaller pieces.
- In a large bowl add broccoli, chopped bacon, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, red onion, and cheddar cheese.
- In a small bowl make the salad dressing by whisking together Greek yogurt, red wine vinegar, honey, 1 tablespoon water, dijon mustard, black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste and season as desired.
- Drizzle some of the salad dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve salad with additional dressing on the side.
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