Best broccoli salad recipe! This easy recipe is made with bacon, cheese, and cranberries and has a simple homemade dressing.
The first time that I had broccoli salad was when I was trying a little bit of everything from an all-you-can-eat buffet. It was tasty, but it was really sweet and really mayonnaise-y.
I can never get enough easy side salads during the summer, and I liked the idea of making a coleslaw-like side salad with that was made with broccoli. I just wanted to make a lighter, tastier version that let the flavor of the ingredients come through.
So, I came up with this recipe that uses a few lighter swaps to give it plenty of crunch without drowning the salad in overly sweet dressing.
What makes this the best healthier broccoli salad?
It seems like everyone has their own spin on broccoli salad, and I'm no different.
- I add more veggies - carrots and celery - to give it even more crunch.
- I also use light mayonnaise (olive oil mayonnaise works well) and Greek yogurt in the dressing. I use Greek yogurt in almost everything because it's such a great substitute for everything from butter to oil to mayonnaise to sour cream. This way you still get plenty of creamy dressing, but it doesn't taste like you're just eating mayo.
- I use just enough sugar to make the dressing sweet without it being overly sugary.
- I also use craisins (dried cranberries) rather than raisins. I like the sweet and tangy flavor that they bring to this salad.
How to make broccoli salad
Step 1: Begin by chopping the veggies.
Top tip >> I buy broccoli florets to cut down on the prep when I make this, but you can also chop the broccoli into florets.
Step 2: Add the chopped veggies to a large mixing bowl along with cheese, bacon, cranberries, and ¾ cup sunflower seeds.
Step 3: In a separate small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
Top tip >> Start by adding less sugar, and then add more to taste.
Step 4: Add the dressing to the bowl with the veggies, and toss to combine everything. Either serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.
Step 5: Top with remaining sunflower seeds just before serving.
The best broccoli salad is going to be the one that you customize with the ingredients that you like.
- I use broccoli, celery, and carrots. However, feel free to add a little thinly sliced red onion if you prefer.
- Feel free to substitute other types of cheese in place of the sharp cheese. I often buy cheese cubes if I'm short on time.
- I like the tang of the dried cranberries, but golden or dark raisins will work in place of the cranberries.
- For mayonnaise, I use olive oil mayo, but feel free to use whatever type you like.
- I use non-fat Greek yogurt, but 2% or whole milk yogurt will also work.
How long will it keep?
It's best the first 2 days. After that the veggies begin to break down, and it's just not as fresh or as good.
More easy salad recipes!
If you’ve tried this broccoli salad recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from people who've made my recipes!
- 5 cups broccoli florets cut into small pieces
- 1 ½ cups sliced carrots
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese in small cubes
- 3 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1 cup sunflower seeds divided
- ½ cup dried sweetened cranberries
- ½ cup mayonnaise1
- ½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt2
- 2-4 tablespoons granulated sugar depending on desired sweetness (I use 3 T.)
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- In a large bowl, stir together vegetables, cheese, bacon, ¾ cup sunflower seeds, and cranberries.
- Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.
- Add dressing to salad, and toss to combine.
- Cover, and refrigerate until chilled.
- Serve cold, and top with remaining ¼ cup sunflower seeds just before serving.
- Regular or light ok.
- Can use 2% or whole milk yogurt.
- Nutrition values are estimates.
Originally published 6/3/13. Updated 6/19/19.