Do you need to bring a dish for a 4th of July get-together next weekend or maybe for a backyard barbecue sometime soon? This broccoli salad is a great side dish for a barbecue or picnic and can be customized to your liking.
Now I know some of you may say it would only be to your liking if you took out the broccoli… I admit that on a fresh vegetable tray, broccoli is one of the last things for which I would reach. It’s o.k. but not a vegetable I’d relish. (Ha, ha, get it? ;)) The ‘little trees” can be a bit too much with no adornment.
Add some beef, sauce, and steam to that broccoli, and it is one of my FAVORITE Chinese dishes. Of course, cheese is always a help too–not on the beef and broccoli, but on steamed broccoli. And then there’s this salad. The sweet creamy dressing and the crunch of nuts and crisp fresh broccoli make this another favorite. The bonus is that it comes together pretty quickly too, especially if you buy a bag of fresh broccoli florets instead of heads of broccoli.
Fresh Broccoli Salad
- fresh broccoli florets cut into bite-size pieces (I usually make a large bowlful for a party or get-together, so I use about 2 heads or half a big bag of florets that I buy at Costco, but you could easily scale this up or down for your needs.)
- red onion, diced (I hate the taste of raw onion on its own, but it adds good flavor here. The original recipe calls for a whole onion, but I usually add only a few tablespoons.)
- 1/2 pound cooked and crumbled bacon (you can cook and crumble this yourself or use pre-made bacon)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (you can also use raisins or some even use halved grapes)
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds (you can also use sunflower seeds or another nut you prefer)
- optional: some add shredded or cubed cheddar
For the dressing:
- 1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing (I usually use 1/2 light mayo and 1/2 light Miracle Whip)
- scant 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (I use white wine vinegar, but some use regular white vinegar or red wine vinegar)
- This salad is best if made at least a few hours in advance. The onion needs some time to mellow in the dressing.
- Begin by tossing your broccoli florets and chopped onions in a large bowl. If you are going to be eating this right away, I recommend adding all of the other salad ingredients now. If you are not going to be eating this for a while, I would recommend gathering and putting the ingredients aside until just before ready to serve. (This helps cut down on any sogginess.)
- Make the dressing by mixing the mayo or salad dressing, sugar, and vinegar together until smooth. I usually add a portion of the dressing to the broccoli and onion and toss it, so the flavors can begin blending. This will also help mellow the raw onion flavor.
- Put the broccoli and onion tossed with dressing and the extra dressing in the refrigerator. Set aside the nuts, dried cranberries, and bacon.
- When ready to serve, add the nuts, cranberries, bacon, and however much additional dressing you need and toss. (You may have some leftover dressing. Also note that the salad will get moister over time as the dressing is on it.)
Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com