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.
I recommend using Fage nonfat Greek yogurt because it has a neutral flavor and not too sour.
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