There is a small breakfast restaurant near where I live where all the retired folk gather to tell tall tales, mix and mingle, and best of all they have a Broccoli Salad recipe that my Mom loves! This Broccoli Salad with Crispy Bacon is my attempt to duplicate their broccoli salad for my mother so that she has the recipe, ah, so sweet. Creamy and crunchy with a complex contrast of sweet and savory, the mayonnaise, coarsely ground brown mustard, and apple cider vinegar makes an amazing dressing that lightly coats all of the healthy veggies. I always use the stem of the broccoli, once the tough fibrous exterior is peeled and removed, the insides are cool, sweet, juicy, and crunchy, it may be my favorite part of the broccoli. If you like nuts and there are no nut allergies, lightly toasted chopped pecans, sunflower seeds or toasted pine nuts make an excellent addition to the recipe as well.
Raw or Cooked Broccoli?
I prefer to use raw broccoli for my broccoli salad recipe, I like the crunchy texture of raw broccoli and I feel like raw is the healthiest way to eat it. However, raw broccoli can be irritating to people with sensitive stomachs. If you’re making Broccoli Salad for a potluck or cookout I recommend quickly cooking the broccoli by either steaming or parboiling.
Parboiling is an excellent way to prepare the broccoli, for this recipe I use unsalted water, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add the broccoli for 1-minute, strain, and immediately add to an ice bath to stop the cooking process and lock in the beautiful green color.
Steaming broccoli for 4-5 minutes is the healthiest way to cook it. You only want to cook out the rawness of it, again, submerge the hot broccoli in an ice bath immediately to stop cooking.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
Definitely one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. Broccoli is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals and an impressive list of other nutrients. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, and is part of the family includes bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, mustard greens, and turnip greens. For cancer-fighting, detoxification and lowering cholesterol, between ¾-cup and 1 ½-cups per day of cruciferous vegetables are recommended.
Broccoli loves fat, but then again who doesn’t?!? Broccoli is high in Vitamins A, D, E & K, that are ‘fat-soluble’, meaning that they require a fat molecule to act as a vehicle to be absorbed by your body. This explains why broccoli is frequently served with a cheese sauce or in a creamy soup, or in the case of my Broccoli Salad recipe, crispy bacon and a mayonnaise-based dressing.
Can You Modify Broccoli Salad?
Absolutely! Here are some of my favorite additions to my Broccoli Salad recipe:
- Dried Cranberries: add a nice tartness and a little sweetness to the salad
- Nuts and Seeds: raw or toasted nuts are a great addition as well as adding a healthy source of fat and protein
- Honey Mustard Vinaigrette: a nice change from the mayonnaise dressing, it gives a little sweetness and a nice tangy flavor from the mustard
- Green Apples and Grapes: diced green apples with the skin on adds a tart crunch, same with seedless grapes, just halve them and let the sweetness do all the work
- Dried Fruit: apricots, mangos, figs, etc. the list goes on and on, I love the awesome flavors the sweet dried fruit brings this salad.
How Long will Broccoli Salad Keep?
About 3-days in the refrigerator. Broccoli Salad is a great meal prep side item for your lunch box. Frankly, I think it tastes better after a day or two in the fridge.
Here is my Broccoli Salad with Crispy Bacon recipe:
Broccoli Salad with Crispy Bacon
- 2 Heads Broccoli small bite-size florets and peeled diced stems
- 1 Cup Shredded Carrots
- 1/2 Pound Bacon ½ inch dice extra crispy
- 1/2 Red Onion Thinly Sliced
- 1/2 Cup Raisins
- 3 Stalks Celery Diced
- 1/2 Cup Flat-Leaf Parsley Chopped
- 1 Cup Mayonnaise
- 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Coarse Grain Mustard
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds No shells
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
- 1/2 Cup Pine Nuts Lightly toasted
- Dice bacon and cook until extra crispy, drain on paper towels
- Peel the stems of the broccoli and chop into ¼ inch dice
- Cut the broccoli into bite-size florets
- Combine the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, coarse grain mustard, salt, and pepper, mix well
- Reserve half of the bacon then combine all remaining ingredients and mix well
- Refrigerate for one hour before serving, stir well before serving
- Sprinkle the reserved half of the bacon on top and serve