Loaded Broccoli and Bacon Salad

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When I say that this Broccoli and Bacon Salad is loaded; it, is, loaded! Not only have you got the crunchy broccoli and sweet red onions, but you’ve got the smoky, crispy bacon (mmm, bacon!), as well as raisins, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds all adding flavor and texture.

Then, to top it all off, a creamy mayo-based dressing brings it all together. This broccoli salad tastes amazing, and is great for meal prep lunches for work, school, or at home; as well as being a great salad to serve at parties, potlucks or barbecues.

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Loaded broccoli bacon salad on a blue and white polka dot plate

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Broccoli & Bacon Salad

I love making salads because they’re easy to put together, great for serving a crowd, and delicious to eat. I eat salads the whole year-round, not just in the summer. What changes from season to season, is the ingredients that go into the salad. This broccoli salad is great for the summer – and in the cooler months too – a year-rounder, if you will!

a plate of broccoli bacon salad with a fork and napkin in the background

Ingredients use in this recipe

From the name alone, you know that this salad recipe contains broccoli and bacon, but it has the loaded part too…

Broccoli

This main ingredient in this salad is raw broccoli. I love raw broccoli and prefer it to cooked broccoli. (I also love raw cauliflower but I love cooked cauliflower too – mmm, cauliflower cheese!)

Raw broccoli has become one of those “superfoods”, and I put that in quotes because, let’s be fair, so many foods have that title these days. I was eating it raw before it was super! It is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals (vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, calcium, and manganese), and antioxidants.

That said, some people can’t digest raw broccoli well, so if you are one of those people, you can lightly steam the broccoli, and plunge into a bowl of water and ice to stop the cooking process and retain the crunch.

Bacon

Bacon makes everything taste good! You can use whatever type of bacon you like – smoked, non-smoked, turkey bacon… it’s all good! You can cook the bacon in a pan on the stovetop, or on a baking sheet in the oven or under the grill/broiler. You could even buy ready-cooked bacon and use that if you like.

If you want to leave the bacon out of this salad, please be my guest – this would then be a loaded broccoli salad, and taste delicious too! You might want to add salt to balance out the sweetness.

Bowl of raw broccoli florets

Red Onion

Red onions are sweeter and milder than regular white or brown onions. You could use spring/green onions (scallions) in this salad if you prefer. (You can tell I’m all about providing options and alternatives when I share recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog!)

Sunflower Seeds

I love using nuts and seeds in salad recipes, because they not only taste good, and add a satisfying crunch, but they’re also good for you, and packed with vitamins and minerals. Sunflower seeds are rich in the B complex vitamins, as well as vitamin E, and are a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and protein. They also contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

If you don’t like sunflower seeds, switch them for another seed (or even a nut) you enjoy – pumpkin seeds would work well, and so would walnuts. Or why not use a mix of seeds? It’s your salad, customise it to your taste!

Sultanas & Raisins

Gosh, when I have to write for a worldwide audience it can become confusing to keep up with different names for the same ingredient! I know about a lot of American ingredients thanks to vacations in the US, and lots of grocery shopping while there too… But some things do confuse even me!

Sultanas are called golden raisins in the US. But we also have golden raisins in the UK and sultanas? See? confusing! Regular raisins, also come in different colours – red, black, brown, and green.

They all have similar nutrients, and you can read more about their differences here, but the tl;dr version is that they are all made by drying grapes! Whichever type and colour you use in your salad, it’s fine.

Raisins scattered in the shape of a heart

Dried Cranberries

Dried cranberries are delicious (in my humble opinion!) and I use them a lot in recipes (along with other dried fruits). They are packed with antioxidants and fiber but can be high in sugars, so best to use them (and pretty much all dried fruit,) in moderation if you are watching your sugar intake.

Mayonnaise, Vinegar & Sugar

The dressing for this broccoli and bacon salad is made with mayo, vinegar and some sugar. You could use a sugar substitute if you wanted to – adjust according to whatever one you use. The sugar helps to offset some of the sour/bitterness from the vinegar.

For my UK readers: This recipe uses American cup measurements. Since I use this type of measurement often, I find it handy to have a set of cups in the kitchen.

blue and white polka dot plate with a pile of broccoli bacon salad

Equipment used in this recipe

Basic kitchen equipment only is needed for this recipe:

A good, sharp knife for cutting the ingredients, and a skillet, frying pan, or baking sheet to cook the bacon (depending on your cooking method).

You will also need a couple of bowls – a large one to toss the salad together, and a smaller bowl to make the dressing. A small whisk is handy for mixing the dressing together, but you could just as easily use a spoon or fork if you don’t have a whisk.

Finally, if you are meal prepping you will need good quality airtight containers for storing – I like to used mason jars as I find they keep food really fresh for 5-7 days. If serving this at a party, then a pretty serving bowl is always good. Or if taking the salad to a picnic or potluck, a bowl with a lid is handy.


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Photos showing the steps to making loaded broccoli bacon salad.

How do I make Broccoli Bacon Salad?

You will first need to cook the bacon until it is nice and crispy, then allow it to cool before crumbling. As I mentioned earlier, you can cook your bacon on the stovetop, or in the oven – whatever suits you.

Skillet with frying bacon

While the bacon is cooling, chop up the broccoli into bite size pieces, and thinly slice the red onion.

bowl with raw broccoli florets and red onion slices

Make the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl. (There should be enough saltiness from the bacon, which is why it’s not included in the recipe.)

whisking broccoli bacon salad dressing
Broccoli and onion mixed with salad dressing

Now all you need to do is assemble the salad…

Place the broccoli and onion in a large bowl, pour over the dressing, and mix well. Then throw in the bacon, sultanas, raisins, cranberries, and sunflower seeds and toss everything together.

Serve and enjoy!

This salad tastes even better when you refrigerate for about an hour before serving (but it’s just as good at room temp!).

Raisins added to broccoli bacon salad
Dried Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds added to broccoli salad
All broccoli bacon salad ingredients mixed together in a bowl.

You will find the broccoli & bacon salad recipe video on my YouTube Channel – save it to your Playlists for future reference! Don’t forget to subscribe while you are there!

Plate of broccoli bacon Salad
This Broccoli Bacon Salad is fully loaded! Crunchy broccoli, crispy bacon, raisins, sunflower seeds, and a creamy dressing make this salad taste amazing! #Salad #RecipesClick to Tweet
Plate of Loaded Broccoli Bacon Salad

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Loaded Broccoli and Bacon Salad

Loaded Broccoli and Bacon Salad

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

A deliciously loaded broccoli and bacon salad, with raisins, cranberries, sunflower seeds and a creamy dressing.

Ingredients

  • 225g/½lb bacon
  • 1.2kg/8 cups broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sultanas/golden raisins
  • 1 cup red raisins
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon on stove top or in oven until crispy. Lay on paper towels to cool, then crumble.
  2. Place broccoli and red onion in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, make the dressing by whisking together mayo, vinegar, and sugar.
  4. Pour dressing over broccoli and onion and mix together.
  5. Add bacon, sultanas, raisins, cranberries, and sunflower seeds to the broccoli and onion.
  6. Toss everything together and serve.

Recipe Card for Loaded Broccoli Bacon Salad

Notes

This salad tastes best after refrigeration (about an hour), but is still delicious if eaten immediately too!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 555 Total Fat: 32g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 24g Cholesterol: 32mg Sodium: 1347mg Carbohydrates: 60g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 43g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 15g
This site uses an outside source (Nutritionix) to provide estimated nutrition. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.

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Broccoli and bacon sald with raisins and sunflower seeds

Make It A Meal!

Looking for some mealtime inspiration to go with this salad? I’ve got you covered!

Fully loaded broccoli salad with creamy dressing

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Loaded bacon and broccoli salad

More Salad Recipes

Once you’ve made this broccoli bacon salad I know you’ll be wanting more salad recipes! Here are some of my favourites for you try:

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