A southern staple, this broccoli salad is sure to be the hit of your next potluck!
Woo! This is another southern staple! Broccoli salad is one that you’ll find on the tables of church potlucks, picnics, and sunday suppers. You can mix the dressing together the night before, as well as have everything chopped ready to go in the morning. I like to have this salad sit for half an hour, so all the flavors can fall in love and have time to marry. 😉 The broccoli is raw, so it’s not going to wilt! This is what I love about summer time salad recipe ideas — when you have a ordinary, plain vegetable like broccoli, and you add some coleslaw dressing to it, with a few other ingredients, it becomes a magical mealtime staple. There are even parts you can do a couple days ahead of time, when you have a few extra minutes.
Broccoli salad is filled with red onions, cheese, BACON, dried cranberries, and of course, broccoli. For me, the dressing is the standard coleslaw dressing — Duke’s + vinegar + sugar + spice blend. Of course, I couldn’t just follow a recipe… I had to be different. So, instead of red onion, I used shallots. Growing up, we never had red onions in our home. It was always Vidalia or yellow onions. So, for this broccoli salad, I used chopped shallots. Slightly milder flavor than a red onion.
I like to cut my broccoli florets quite small. You definitely want them bite sized, without being too “crumby.” The cheese you use, it’s best to use hand grated cheese, not the pre packaged shredded kind. That is filled with that junk which creates a gummy texture in this salad recipe. While red onions are not my favorite, I prefer Vidalia! Shallots work well if the red onion is too strong for you. You could even soak the shallots or red onions in a vinegar/sugar mixture real quick to create a quick pickled onion — which would take away some of the harsh, spiciness of the onion flavor and mellow it out a bit.
Steps You Can Do Ahead of Time:
- Cut broccoli into bite size pieces, and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Bake bacon (see steps below!)
- Grate cheese, and store in airtight container in the fridge
- Chop red onion or shallot and “quick pickle” (see the notes in the recipe) – store these in an airtight container in the fridge
- Make dressing in a mason jar, and refrigerate until needed (up to a week before!)
The bacon is about the best part. And, I’ll tell you how I cook my bacon:
- Get out a sheet pan, and line it with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
- Lay bacon slices onto sheet pan, careful to give a little room to each slice, so none are touching.
- Place in a COLD oven, and shut the door.
- Turn your oven to 350˚ and set your timer to 12 minutes.
- After 12 minutes, begin checking to see how done your slices are bacon are.
- Pro tip: the bacon crisps as it cools, so take out just shy of when you think it needs.
- Cool your bacon on a paper towel line plate, and you are good to go!
I love baking bacon, not only because it is mess free, but the bacon tastes better! It stays flat, which is great for making BLTs or bacon cheeseburgers… And! It’s hand when chopping up for this broccoli salad recipe. You just line the slices up, and chop away.
- 6 cups Broccoli Florets
- 1/2 cup Finely Diced Red Onion or a large Shallot
- 1 cup Crumbled Bacon
- 1 cup Dried Cranberries
- 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Mayonnaise (I prefer Duke's!)
- 1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
- Combine all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and stir gently to coat everything in the dressing.
- Let sit for an hour before serving.
To remove the harsh onion flavor that red onions have follow these steps:
- In a small pot, boil 1 cup vinegar (red wine, apple cider, or white is fine!) with 1/2 cup sugar.
- Pour over chopped red onion, and let sit for 15 minutes.
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Did your mama make broccoli salad growing up?? What did y’all take on picnics?
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