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Fresh Broccoli Salad

Fresh Broccoli Salad Recipe

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Welcome to our fresh and vibrant salad recipes section! Today, we’re sharing a delicious and easy recipe for Fresh Broccoli Salad. This salad is packed with crunchy broccoli, savory bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and a sweet and tangy dressing. Perfect for potlucks, picnics, or as a side dish, this broccoli salad is sure to be a hit. Let’s get started!

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Ingredients

  • 1 head of broccoli, rinsed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 6 to 8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (or ⅓ cup of packaged real bacon bits)
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into very small chunks
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

  1. Cut Broccoli: Rinse the broccoli thoroughly and cut it into bite-size pieces. Place the broccoli in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cook Bacon: If using fresh bacon, cook the slices until crispy. Let them cool, then crumble them into small pieces. If using packaged bacon bits, measure out ⅓ cup.
  3. Chop Cheddar Cheese and Onion: Cut the cheddar cheese into small chunks and finely chop the red onion.
  4. Prepare Add-ins: Measure out the raisins or dried cranberries and halve the cherry tomatoes if using.

Step 2: Make the Dressing

  1. Combine Dressing Ingredients: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, white vinegar, and sugar until smooth.
  2. Season: Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

Step 3: Assemble the Salad

  1. Combine Ingredients: In the large mixing bowl with the broccoli, add the crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese chunks, chopped red onion, raisins or dried cranberries, and halved cherry tomatoes.
  2. Add Dressing: Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients.
  3. Toss to Coat: Gently toss the salad until all the ingredients are well coated with the dressing.

Step 4: Chill and Serve

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

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Broccoli: For a softer texture, you can blanch the broccoli for 1-2 minutes in boiling water, then plunge it into ice water to stop the cooking process.
  • Bacon: For convenience, you can use packaged real bacon bits, but freshly cooked bacon will have better flavor and texture.
  • Dressing: Adjust the sweetness and tanginess of the dressing to your preference by adding more or less sugar and vinegar.

Variations

Nutty Broccoli Salad

Add 1/2 cup of toasted sunflower seeds or chopped nuts (such as almonds or walnuts) for added crunch and flavor.

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Fruity Broccoli Salad

Add 1/2 cup of diced apple or pear for a fruity twist.

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Creamy Broccoli Salad

Mix in 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt with the mayonnaise for a creamier dressing.

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Spicy Broccoli Salad

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

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes, this salad can be made a day in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Toss again before serving.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The salad may become softer as it sits, but it will still be delicious.

Can I use a different cheese?

Yes, you can use other cheeses like mozzarella, Swiss, or feta for a different flavor.

What can I serve with this salad?

This salad pairs well with grilled meats, sandwiches, or as part of a picnic spread.

How can I make the salad healthier?

Use light mayonnaise or a combination of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise. You can also reduce the amount of bacon or use turkey bacon.

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Fresh Broccoli Salad is a vibrant and flavorful dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its crunchy texture, savory bacon, sharp cheddar, and sweet and tangy dressing, it’s sure to be a hit. Enjoy making and sharing this delicious salad with your family and friends!