Tasty broccoli salad is made with a simple dressing of mayonnaise and vinegar. Bacon bits and sharp cheddar greatly enhance its flavor.
I'm not a big fan of raw broccoli. I prefer it roasted, lightly steamed, or microwaved. I do enjoy, on occasion, raw broccoli florets dipped in homemade ranch or in Greek yogurt dip. But for the most part, I like it cooked. 🥦
Having said that, this broccoli salad is really good. The dressing is super simple - it's mostly mayonnaise and vinegar. The secret is the addition of not just bacon bits, which are a fairly standard addition, but of shredded sharp cheddar. The combination of the creamy dressing, the salty bacon, and the savory cheese really enhances this salad.
The ingredients needed for this recipe
These are the ingredients you'll need to make this tasty salad. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below:
Mayonnaise. I prefer mayonnaise made with avocado oil over other types of mayonnaise. Sir Kensington's is a good brand.
White wine vinegar. You can also use champagne vinegar. However, I don't recommend using distilled white vinegar in this recipe. It's too harsh and acidic.
Kosher salt and black pepper. If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the salad could end up too salty.
Fresh broccoli florets. It's easiest to buy bagged pre-washed broccoli - simply chop them into smaller florets, since they tend to be quite large.
Bacon bits. I use store-bought bacon bits, but if you prefer, you can certainly cook some bacon (microwave bacon is fast and easy), chop it, and use that.
Shredded cheese. I like to use sharp cheddar, and I try to use yellow cheddar simply for aesthetic reasons.
How to make a broccoli salad
It's so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Your first step is to mix the dressing. So you whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and pepper. You can add a bit of garlic or garlic powder too.
2. Next, you place the broccoli florets in a salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat.
3. Now add the bacon bits and the cheese and gently mix to combine.
4. Refrigerate the salad for 1-2 hours, to allow the broccoli to slightly soften and the flavors to meld. Toss again and serve.
Variations on this salad
Here are a few ways you can vary the ingredients you use:
1. Add garlic. Sometimes I add a bit of minced garlic or garlic powder to the dressing. I wouldn't add more than ½ teaspoon of garlic (perhaps ¼ teaspoon of the powder), so as not to make it overwhelming.
2. Change up the vinegar. As mentioned above, you can use different types of vinegar, as long as you refrain from using distilled white vinegar which can be quite acidic.
3. Try chopped nuts. Not a fan of processed meat? You can simply omit the bacon. Perhaps try finely chopped pecans instead.
4. You can vary the cheese you use. I'm a big fan of sharp cheddar, and would not use a very mild cheese such as mozzarella. But other bold-flavored cheeses such as gruyere or parmesan should work.
How to serve broccoli salad
This tasty salad is truly versatile. You can literally serve it with any main dish you like! I often serve it with any of the following:
How long can you keep the leftovers?
I don't usually have leftovers when I make this salad. When I do, I try to use them up the next day or two. I wouldn't try to keep this salad for longer than 2 days.
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- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, kosher salt, and black pepper.
- Place the broccoli florets in a salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat.
- Mix in the bacon bits and the cheddar.
- Cover and refrigerate the salad for 1-2 hours.
- Remove the salad from the fridge 15 minutes before serving. Toss again, then serve.