This scrumptious and super easy broccoli salad recipe is one of my go-to recipes for a side dish for camping, a summer BBQ, and for a weekday lunch. Kids and adults alike devour it. It’s not only a fantastic option for a potluck salad but it is possibly the best veggie cookout dish around!
I can assure you it is one of the best broccoli salad recipes out there!
Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheese
This classic broccoli salad is chock full of fresh crisp broccoli, crunchy onion, cheddar, cheese, and bacon. The red onion adds the perfect contrast to the creamy dressing. It’s 100% a mouthful of delicious flavor!
Not only is this the perfect no-cook recipe for those warm summer nights when you don’t want to hang out in the kitchen, but it’s also so incredibly easy to make. In fact, it can be made in a flash right before you have a gathering without any stress.
Even dreamier is that your kids may choose to eat all their broccoli first and even ask for seconds! Kids will eat this creamy broccoli salad with delight! Truly, everyone raves over this recipe and will be asking you how to make it. It’s a crowd-pleaser for sure at summer parties and is one of my family’s favorite salads.
So let’s be honest, this crunchy broccoli salad with bacon certainly isn’t considered “health food” but do all salads have to be so perfect? It is, however, made with raw, crisp, fresh, and nutritious broccoli that is delicious anytime and certainly gets points for that.
Are you ready to try the best broccoli salad recipe ever? Let’s get started!
How to Make Broccoli Salad
There is such little prep time involved in this recipe. It’s a no-brainer to make this broccoli bacon salad once you have the ingredients in your fridge!
Fresh broccoli florets, rather than frozen or pre-cooked, are the best and only option for this salad. The crunch factor is perfection when raw broccoli is used! For a tasty variation, why not mix things up by using a combination of vegetables? Try creating a delicious broccoli and cauliflower salad by using equal parts of both veggies.
Use real bacon for this and it can be turkey are pork-based. Pre-cook your bacon any way you choose. Crumble or chop it up in advance for an easy mix in before serving.
I recommend using a block of cheddar cheese and shredding the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheese in a bag doesn’t have the same flavor profile or stickiness that you want in this ingredient! Cracker Barrel and Cabot are both good choices and you can pick mild or sharp cheddar.
Red onion, rather than white onion, is preferred for flavor and sweetness. Red onion adds a nice color to the salad but I also prefer the less intense bite of the red onion compared to other options.
Real mayonnaise is the best option for this salad. I do not recommend low-fat or Miracle Whip because the flavor is simply not the same.
Basic cane sugar is used in this recipe. There is only a small amount in the salad and I find it brings out the flavors in the ingredients nicely. I would not substitute honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Apple cider vinegar has a delicious taste in dressings I use it for this reason as well as its health benefits. You can try using white vinegar, white wine vinegar, or another specialty vinegar, even red wine vinegar. It is all about the flavor you prefer.
1. Start by mixing together the following ingredients, prepared as described, in a large mixing bowl:
- 8 cups broccoli: Cut the broccoli into small florets, bite size pieces. Picture pieces a tad smaller than a typical salad floret. You want to make sure there is room on your fork for all the tasty bits, not just one chunk of broccoli!
- 1.5 cups cheese: You can use mild or extra sharp cheddar cheese. Use freshly shredded cheddar cheese. It’s just not the same at all if you use bagged pre-shredded cheese. The freshly shredded cheese sticks to things and blends in better than the latter. The pre-shredded cheese, though convenient, is drier and stays a bit separated from the other ingredients due to the anti-caking agent.
- 1 lb bacon: Pre-cook the bacon in advance (if you like), but if you are not crunched for time, it’s just as easy to bake it in the oven while cutting up ingredients. Add the bacon bits (bite sized pieces) at the last minute for the ultimate crunch.
- 1 cup red onion: Chop the red onion into 1/4″ dice so it is not overwhelming in each bite. You can choose to add more or less onion depending on your personal preference.
2. Then, mix together the following broccoli salad dressing ingredients separately in a small bowl
- The dressing is made with mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Whisk the dressing ingredients together well.
3. Add the dressing for broccoli salad to the large mixing bowl of ingredients. Toss it well and chill for a bit or serve immediately. Toss it well and chill for a bit or serve immediately.
FAQS: Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheese
You can also make this into a cauliflower and broccoli salad. Use a mix of half broccoli and half cauliflower. Play around with brightly-colored cauliflower options such as graffiti (magenta) or cheddar (yellow-orange) for a striking mix of contrasting colors! Broccoli cauliflower salad is equally as delicious as the original broccoli salad recipe.
You can change up the ingredients in this salad if you desire! Some people like to add dried cranberries or some like to sub in goat cheese rather than cheddar! Don’t care for mayonnaise? Try using greek yogurt instead! Broccoli salad without mayo needs olive oil added to it as well.
Do you have to blanch broccoli before eating?
No, you don’t have to blanch broccoli before eating. Blanching is a cooking process that briefly submerges vegetables in boiling water, followed by an ice bath. This technique helps to preserve the color, flavor, and nutrient content of vegetables and also softens them significantly.
The broccoli in this broccoli salad is not blanched before serving because the crunch factor is perfect when raw. However, if you wish, you can blanch it for 60 seconds in boiling water. Rinse under cold running water immediately, follow with an ice bath, and dry well.
Blanching the broccoli florets will change the texture of the salad and add more moisture so it may need less dressing if you choose this route.
Can I eat broccoli raw in a salad?
Yes, you can eat broccoli raw in a salad. Raw broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium, iron and calcium. It also has one of the highest concentrations of fiber among vegetables. Eating raw broccoli also helps keep its nutritional value intact.
Can I make broccoli salad with bacon dairy-free?
Yes! You can omit the cheese entirely from this broccoli salad or alternatively, you can use a vegan cheese option. In addition, you can play around with using other ingredients such as roasted sunflower seeds or shredded beets or carrots.
Can I use miracle whip instead of mayonnaise in the dressing?
I haven’t tried this but if you are a fan of Miracle Whip go ahead and try it. I can’t recommend something I don’t use personally. Consider omitting the sugar in the recipe if you choose to make this salad with Miracle Whip.
How do you store broccoli salad?
The best way to store broccoli salad is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure that any vegetables or dressings are cold before adding them to the container and place it in the coldest part of your fridge.
How long can you keep broccoli salad in the refrigerator?
Leftovers from this salad are best eaten within three days. You can make this night before serving and it will be delicious. For camp food purposes, be sure to make it as close to eating as possible and store it well-sealed in your cooler.
It lasts a few days in the refrigerator before the flavor and texture are not as fresh-tasting. A squeeze of lemon and a handful of chopped fresh herbs (parsley or basil) can help brighten the flavor after a couple of days in the fridge.
Is Broccoli Salad Keto?
Broccoli is a good keto-friendly vegetable because it’s high in fiber making its net carbs low. Broccoli has about 2 net carbs per 1/2 cup serving so it qualifies as a low carb broccoli salad. One tablespoon of sugar, which is the amount in this salad that serves 8 people, has about 15 grams of carbohydrates, and 60 calories. Omit the sugar for a 100% keto broccoli salad option.
What to serve with broccoli salad?
This raw broccoli salad can almost stand on its own as a meal for a broccoli lover. Seriously, it’s that satisfying! However, some of the best main dishes to serve this with are grilled chicken, grilled steaks, or on the side next to a vegetarian dish such as a big delicious bean salad.
Wrap-Up: Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheese
I hope you give this easy recipe a try! Cold broccoli salad is a lifesaver on hot summer nights and when you need a last-minute option to serve with hot dogs, grilled chicken, or burgers. It may become your new family favorite that everyone requests!
Every potluck needs a good Broccoli Salad. In addition, every camping trip needs a good easy side dish that can be mixed up on-site. It’s truly the perfect way to add a bowl of green crunchy vegetables to your next meal on the go. Go ahead and give this classic perfect side dish a try. I think you will really enjoy it!
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15 Minute Broccoli Salad for Camping
- 2 lbs chopped fresh broccoli florets (8 cups)
- 1 small red onion, chopped fine (1 cup)
- 2 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbs sugar
- 12-15 slices cooked and chopped bacon (or approx 1 pound)
- 3 tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- In a large bowl combine the broccoli, bacon, onion, and cheese.
- Using a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients for the dressing: mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Serve immediately or chill for 1 hour.