Broccoli, bacon, sunflower seeds, craisins - all the amazing ingredients you need to make everyone's new favorite side dish or salad!
I'm not even kidding when I say it will be everyone's new favorite. I knew right away that when I made this salad, it would immediately be tucked away into our make-this-as-much-as-possible stash. The prep is super simple, and the only cooking needed is crisping up that bacon. I've learned that laying all the bacon slices on a cookie sheet, and baking them for about 10-20 minutes on 400 degrees (turning once), you get the most perfectly crisp bacon without any effort at all. But before we get too distracted by the yummy bacon, let's dive into the rest of this amazing salad.
You start off with raw broccoli, about 4 heads. I cut them small enough so the pieces aren't huge and chunky (harder to eat, really). I wanted the broccoli to be more coherent with the salad, as opposed to giant chunks of broccoli with a little whatever on the side. The broccoli is part of the salad, but not the main part of each bite.
I chopped the red onions super small because who wants to bite into a crunch of onion? It softened with time, the flavor became more sweet and mild, and I hardly noticed it at all by serving time. That's the beauty of this salad, it just gets better and better as the flavors meld together.
Instead of using raisins or regular dried cranberries (craisins), I love using cherry craisins. The flavor is everything and served as the perfect contrast to the onions, broccoli and sunflower seeds.
Oh my heavens, those sunflower seeds make this even more amazing!! I used salted & roasted, and the saltiness was enough to carry through the entire bowl. Yes, there is mayo in this dish. I don't know why mayo gets such a bad rep these days. I totally get how eating it every day isn't the greatest idea, but dang, if you want to spread some on a sandwich, go for it. Then maybe go for a run afterwards ;). This recipe uses quite a bit of it, but you can maybe cut it down to 1/2 C if you want to, or use fat free if that's your preference, or even use greek yogurt if you can handle it not tasting as good. I've used greek yogurt plenty of times instead of mayo. Yes, it's way healthier. But dang, doesn't taste nearly as good.
There can't be enough said about how incredible this salad is. I served it up at a family gathering, and then Ryan and I fought over the leftovers the next day at dinnertime. I'm sure this will be your new favorite, and the latest hit at your next family gathering. Heck, Easter is almost at our door! This would be PERFECT, just sayin'. ;)
Broccoli Bacon Salad
makes 10 servings
1 lb bacon, cooked to a crisp (see easiest method above)
4 heads broccoli, washed & cut into small pieces
1 C cherry craisins
1 C salted & roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 C minced red onion
3/4 C mayo
1/4 C sugar
2 T white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place crisped bacon in a food processor and pulse until pieces resemble that of bacon bits (very small). Place in a large bowl. Add chopped broccoli, craisins, sunflower seeds, and red onion. Stir together.
2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mayo, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over the veggies and stir to coat. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and keep cold until ready to serve. Stays good for about a day or two.
recipe source: baking with blondie