Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad with cabbage, Cheddar cheese, dried fruit and seeds is a hearty lunch or a perfect side dish for your next BBQ.

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A bowl of broccoli salad on a white wooden table with purple napkin, and the serving salad bowl in the background.

Simple Broccoli Salad

Salads are a fantastic way to incorporate fresh and healthy ingredients into our daily meals. While many of us might think of salad as a mix with a leafy green or lettuce, you can really use any vegetable as your base. Among the vast array of salad options available, broccoli salad stands out as a unique and flavorful choice. Bursting with nutrients and featuring a delightful combination of ingredients, this broccoli salad is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a side or a standalone meal. 

Ingredients on a cutting board: cooked bacon, chopped cabbage, blanched broccoli, dried cherries, sunflower seeds, cheddar cheese and salad dressing.

What Goes in Broccoli Salad?

The first step in making a broccoli salad is to blanch the broccoli in boiling water and  then immediately shocking the broccoli in ice water. That sets the bright green color of the broccoli and makes it a little more tender. The other ingredients to add to that salad should compliment the flavor as well as the color. So, this recipe includes some red onion and purple cabbage which makes the salad so pretty. The sweet dried cherries and crunchy sunflower seeds add some complimentary flavors and texture. The addition of shredded Cheddar cheese and cooked bacon adds some salty protein too, making it irresistible as well as more satiating. All these ingredients contribute a range of textures and flavors, adding depth and variety to the salad.

Pouring salad dressing into a bowl with vegetables in it and some dried fruit and seeds on the table.

Mayonnaise Dressing for Broccoli Salad

The dressing plays a crucial role in tying all the elements of a broccoli salad together. The classic choice is a mayonnaise-based dressing. To balance the richness of the mayonnaise, there is a touch of sweetness from honey, acidity from some apple cider vinegar, and a little salt. 

Broccoli salad tossed together in a stainless steel bowl with tongs in it.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheese

The last two ingredients are optional, but for those seeking a more indulgent version of broccoli salad, the Cheddar cheese and bacon take it to the next level. Adding crumbled bacon brings a smoky, savory note to the salad. These additions elevate the salad’s richness and make it an excellent choice for those looking for a heartier option.

Hands serving broccoli salad into a white bowl with a purple napkin underneath.

What to Serve with Broccoli Salad

Broccoli salad pairs exceptionally well with a variety of dishes, making it a versatile choice for any occasion. Its refreshing and vibrant flavors make it an ideal side dish for grilled chicken, steak or fish. It’s really ideal for barbecues, picnics, and potlucks where you have to bring the food to a location. You can dress the salad on site or ahead of time – it stands up for longer than other salads. Of course, if you’re looking for a light meal, you could serve this broccoli salad all on its own too!


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Broccoli Salad

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Cook Time: 1 m
  • Total Time: 21 m
  • Servings:


  • ¼ red onion diced
  • 2 heads broccoli cut into bite-sized florets (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups red cabbage coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese grated
  • 4 ounces thick-cut bacon diced
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet on the stovetop or in an air fryer until crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and let it cool.
  2. Place the diced onions in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Let the onions soak for about 10 minutes to make them less pungent. Then drain and dry on a clean kitchen towel.
  3. Bring a 3-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Set up a shocking station by filling a large bowl with ice water. Blanch the broccoli florets in the boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and then immediately place the broccoli in the cold-water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat the broccoli dry.
  4. Combine the broccoli, red cabbage, red onions, Cheddar cheese and crispy bacon in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey and salt. Pour the mixture over the salad in the bowl and toss to coat everything with the dressing. Toss in the sunflower seed and dried cherries. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Chill for at least 1 hour. Serve the salad cool and enjoy within 2 to 3 days.
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Comments (3)Post a Reply

  1. Definitely will try tbis recipe. Never cooked my broccoli before so am wonderi g why you chose to do so?
    Thanks for sharing

    1. It improves the texture and also give the salad a nice bright green color. You only need to blanch it for 1 minute, then “shock” the broccoli by submerging it in ice water to stop the cooking process.

  2. 5 stars
    I love this salad! Everyone loves this salad! It is easy to make and we can keep for two or three days in refrigerator. Thank you!

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