This is the best broccoli salad recipe hands down! Everyone will love this colorful broccoli salad with bacon, grapes and sunflower seeds. No one can resist this winning combination of sweet and salty. I’ve also got instructions to keep your broccoli bright green to really make this side dish stand out. This is a great potluck salad so give it a try the next time you need to feed a crowd.
A well-loved potluck salad for me has always been a fresh broccoli salad. I’ve had many of them over the years but this recipe is my new favorite!
How to Blanch Broccoli
The key to making broccoli look so bright is to blanch it. While it sounds like a fancy name, it really just means boiling your broccoli for a short amount of time with salt and then immediately plunging it into an ice bath. Easy, right?
If you want to skip this part when making your broccoli salad, you absolutely can. But if you blanch broccoli for this side dish you will accomplish both vibrant green and slightly tender broccoli. As long as you don’t cook it too long, you’ll still have crisp broccoli but it will be a bit easier to chew. I personally love the texture in this broccoli salad recipe.
Before blanching your broccoli be sure to cut your broccoli into bite sized pieces. You don’t want your broccoli too large or too small. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Carefully add your broccoli and a tablespoon of salt. (No, that is not a typo. You want a whole tablespoon of salt.) Cook for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute before immediately straining and plunging into a ice bath to stop the cooking process. I don’t recommend cooking for longer than a minute or your broccoli may be too soft.
How to Make Broccoli Salad
Once your broccoli has cooled, strain it and give it a chance to dry or blot with a paper towel before you assemble your salad.
While some recipes call for dried fruit like cranberries or raisins, I think it is the red grapes that really sets this recipe apart. I slice mine in half so they are easier to eat with a fork. Biting into sweet, crisp grapes is so refreshing. I use red onion for not only the gorgeous color but also a bit of zip. I like larger slices so not only does the onion stand out more, but it is easier for anyone who does’t like onions to avoid them or pick them out.
And of course I couldn’t leave out the sunflower seeds and bacon, both of which add a ton of flavor. The saltiness of these two ingredients is a nice contract to the other sweet flavors. If you want to save time you can buy precooked bacon like I did, but of course freshly cooked bacon is the absolute best.
The mayo dressing is super simple and is just mayo, sugar and red wine vinegar mixed together. If you are sort on mayo you can substitute 1/2 cup of mayo with 1/2 cup sour cream or even plain yogurt.
Once you’ve whisked your dressing ingredients together, pour over your salad.
Gently toss your broccoli salad together until well combined. Cover and store in refrigerator for at least a couple of hours. The longer your cold broccoli salad has a chance to sit, the more the flavors will marry.
This salad does get creamier as well as it sits. The pictures don’t show a lot of dressing because it has sunk a bit to the bottom after sitting. Simply give it a stir bring more of dressing up if necessary.
- 7 cups fresh broccoli florets cut into larger bite sized pieces
- 1/2 red onion
- 6 to 8 slices precooked bacon chopped
- 1 1/2 cups sliced red grapes
- 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
If desired blanch your broccoli by bringing a large pot of water to boil. Add in 1 tablespoon of salt and submerge your broccoli for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Immediately drain and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Once broccoli is cool, drain and blot with paper towels to dry.
In large bowl add broccoli, onion, bacon, grapes and sunflower seeds. Set aside.
In small bowl whisk mayo, white sugar, and red wine vinegar.
Pour over salad ingredients and gently toss to combine.
Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
I hope you love this broccoli grape salad as much as we do!
More Amazing Potluck Salad Recipes:
- Easy Macaroni Salad
- Watermelon Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Frito Taco Salad
- Easy Caprese Pasta Salad
- Creamy Pea Salad
- Bowtie Pasta Salad