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Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad

Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad Recipe

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Welcome to our vibrant and flavorful salad recipes section! Today, we’re sharing a delicious and satisfying recipe for Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad. This salad combines fresh broccoli, tender rotini pasta, crunchy bacon, and a creamy dressing, making it perfect for any gathering or meal. Let’s get started!

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Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 4 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • 12 oz rotini pasta
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

For the Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Pasta and Broccoli

  1. Cook Pasta: Cook the rotini pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
  2. Blanch Broccoli: While the pasta is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the chopped broccoli florets and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Dressing

  1. Mix Dressing Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, and freshly ground black pepper until smooth and well combined.

Step 3: Assemble the Salad

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, blanched broccoli, diced red onion, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and crumbled bacon.
  2. Add Dressing: Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to coat everything evenly.

Step 4: Chill and Serve

  1. Chill Salad: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.
  2. Serve and Enjoy: Once chilled, give the salad a quick toss before serving. Enjoy your Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad!

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Bacon: For extra flavor, use thick-cut bacon. Cook it until crispy and drain on paper towels before crumbling.
  • Broccoli: Blanching the broccoli helps retain its bright green color and crunch. Be careful not to overcook it.
  • Pasta: Rinsing the pasta under cold water after cooking helps stop the cooking process and cools it down quickly.

Variations

Chicken Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad

Add 1 cup of cooked, shredded chicken to the salad for added protein and flavor.

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Cheesy Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad

Add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese or crumbled feta cheese to the salad for a cheesy twist.

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Spicy Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad

Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the dressing for a spicy kick.

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Nutty Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad

Replace the sunflower seeds with chopped almonds or walnuts for added crunch and flavor.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this salad a day in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Can I freeze this salad?

This salad is best enjoyed fresh and is not recommended for freezing due to the mayonnaise-based dressing.

What can I serve with this salad?

This salad pairs well with grilled meats, sandwiches, or as a side dish for a BBQ or picnic.

How can I make the salad healthier?

Use light mayonnaise and sour cream, reduce the amount of bacon, and add more vegetables like cherry tomatoes or bell peppers to make the salad healthier.

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Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad is a vibrant and flavorful dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its fresh ingredients, crunchy bacon, and creamy dressing, it’s sure to be a hit. Enjoy making and sharing this delicious salad with your family and friends!