My Favorite Broccoli Salad
Yield: 2 quarts; approximately 8 servings
Perfect for a potluck, casual entertaining, or a satisfying lunch, this tried-and-true rendition of the classic broccoli salad can be assembled in advance in minimal time and varied according to preference. When using bacon, I like to add just before serving to keep it crispy. Nuts and seeds will also maintain optimal crunch when sprinkled overtop at the last minute.


For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup (104 grams) mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) white balsamic vinegar (could use plain white, white wine, apple cider, or even balsamic vinegar—the latter tints the dressing)
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and several grinds of the pepper mill
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds (not celery salt)

For the salad

  • 4-5 cups small broccoli florets*
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion (adjust to taste based on preference and pungency of onion)
  • 1/3 cup salted peanuts (45 grams; could substitute sunflower seeds)
  • 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries (55 grams; could use dried cherries**)
  • Optional: 4-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled***; 1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Set aside. (Make Ahead Tip: Dressing may be made up to a day in advance, covered, and refrigerated.)

    In a large bowl, toss together the broccoli, onion, and raisins or dried cranberries.

    Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss to evenly coat. Cover and chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. (Make Ahead Tip: You may prepare to this point a day in advance and allow the salad to marinate overnight. If possible, stir the salad a few times to redistribute the dressing.)

    Prior to serving, add the peanuts and optional cheese or bacon. Toss to thoroughly incorporate. Store any leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator where they will keep well for the better part of a week.


*Optionally, you may make this salad with up to 16 ounces of slaw.  I’ve used bagged slaws and a random combo of cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli from my fridge—feel free to mix the crowns, packaged slaw, and/or shredded veggies to use up what you have on hand.  As mentioned above, sometimes I coarsely shred the broccoli stems and mix them in with the florets.  A large head of broccoli (or approximately 1 to 1-1/4 pounds) will yield 4-5 cups of florets.  If you like a more heavily dressed salad, opt for the lesser amount of broccoli; use five or so cups if you prefer a lighter coating of dressing.  Note that after the salad rests for an hour or two the dressing will seem more plentiful.

**As another option, you could use 1/2 cup or so of halved fresh grapes in place of the raisins/cranberries or even add some chopped apple.

***On occasion, I’ve added 3 to 4 ounces of deli ham, chipped and roughly chopped, as a well-liked option to bacon.

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