This Country Style Broccoli Salad with Bacon & Cheddar is that fresh broccoli salad that we all know and love. Broccoli, bacon, cheese, raisins, onion, and nuts - with a creamy broccoli salad dressing.
A classic broccoli salad recipe
I first made this back in the '90s and have tweaked it over the years, adjusting the dressing and adding a few key ingredients that go along well with the broccoli florets, bacon, and cheddar. Even people who aren't big fans of raw broccoli really love this dish!
Grab a large bowl - this is country style
Add everything to one bowl, then the broccoli salad dressing, and toss it up! You can serve it right away or hold it over in the refrigerator until needed. It's perfect for family, work functions, and pot lucks. If you're hibernating at home like we are, we serve this up all week and have no problem getting all our veggies in!
A salad recipe needs balance
Something crunchy, creamy, savory, sweet, acid, base, salt, and heat. This salad has a great balance of all these components and hits all the right notes. So easy and simple and so good.
The broccoli salad dressing
Creamy mayonnaise, tart apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and a hit of cayenne. Whisk it all up and simply pour and stir. I usually hold back about 1/3 of the dressing to make sure I'm not over-doing it. Once I get things stirred up, I'll add a tablespoon at a time until it's dressed but nowhere near wet or soggy. Better to under-do it than over-do it as far as salad dressings go. If you have any dressing left over, save it and use it on shredded cabbage. It tastes fantastic on a crispy fish sandwich, a chicken wrap, or shredded bbq sliders.
Ingredient swaps for the salad dressing
If you want to go low carb, go for a sugar substitute. Or maybe cut the calories and fat and use greek yogurt. If you don't have apple cider vinegar then red wine vinegar will work great or even rice vinegar.
Ingredient swaps with bacon, cheddar cheese, and nuts
I like to use turkey bacon most of the time but feel free to use regular bacon. You can also swap out the cheese for your favorite, try to go for something sharp with flavor. I used mixed nuts, but feel free to use sunflower seeds or whatever you have on hand. It is important to use onion, in my opinion. I opt for red onion and dice it pretty finely. Also important for a sweet bite, raisins or dried cranberries, even chopped apple. It will play off the savory, salty bacon, and creaminess of the dressing and the cheese.
If you're in the mood for other veggie dishes you might also like Garden Roasted Carrots with Sherry Vinaigrette.
I also love using Dukes Mayo for this salad - and pretty much on everything. You can find Duke's here!
Country Style Broccoli Salad Recipe with Bacon & Cheddar Cheese
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper optional
- 4 cups raw broccoli florets, cut to bite-size between 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, or one large bag of broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts a mix, or almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, your choice.
- 1 cup turkey or regular bacon, cooked & chopped about 8-10 slices
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients.Add 2/3 of the dressing and carefully stir to coat. Taste & add additional dressing if you think it needs it. Before serving, add a few more heaping tablespoons of dressing and toss again.