The BEST Broccoli Salad I’ve ever had! Packed full of broccoli, bacon, grapes, almonds and tossed together with a creamy dressing, every bite is delicious! The perfect addition to any BBQ, party, or potluck! I could eat this by itself for lunch but love serving it with the grilled chicken made with my favorite Chicken Marinade and Ambrosia Salad for dessert!
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to share my mom’s broccoli salad recipe here but the day has FINALLY come. We went over to our friend’s house this weekend for a barbecue and I was asked to bring dessert and a salad.
I immediately thought of this one. It’s always such a big hit and my mom brought this to almost every family gathering. It was requested ALL THE TIME.
Now, I have had SO many different types of broccoli salads over the years but this one is BY FAR my favorite. And don’t think it’s because I’m biased because it’s my mom’s 🙂 It is by far the best broccoli recipe that I make and it’s the most frequently requested by friends and family.
Does the Broccoli Need to Be Blanched?
I never cook the broccoli before making this salad. If you want to, it’s really easy and only adds a few minutes to the prep time.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the broccoli to the water and cook for 1 minute.
- Immediately drain the broccoli florets, and place in an ice bath for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the broccoli to a salad spinner, and spin the broccoli dry.
- Place broccoli on a kitchen bowl and continue to let dry and drain while you prep the rest of the salad.
What Makes This So Special?
There are several key components that make this easy broccoli salad so delicious and special:
- First, the fresh seedless grapes. I’ve heard this salad referred to as a broccoli grape salad because it’s such a unique twist on this classic recipe. The grapes provide a pop of sweetness and juiciness to the salad that other salads made with dried fruit just can’t compare with. The grapes are sliced in half and scattered throughout the salad so that every bite is accompanied with a pop of freshness.
- Second, it’s the toasted slivered almonds that do it for me every time. I love the nutty, crunchiness the almonds add to the salad and I try to get one in every bite.Truth time: My most vivid memories of this salad stem from the fact that my mom would burn at least one batch of the almonds while toasting them. I can remember hearing her shouting from the kitchen “Shoot!” and in another batch would go.Word to the wise: DO NOT LEAVE THE KITCHEN WHILE TOASTING ALMONDS. They will burn.
- Third. BACON. Bacon, bacon, and more bacon. I think it’s the bacon that converted my husband because for some reason “Broccoli Salad” didn’t sound that appealing to him all on it’s own. But then he found out about the bacon. Sold.
Broccoli Salad Dressing
The dressing is poured over all this awesomeness and everything is tossed together. The dressing is super easy to make and can be made in advance. My mom used to mix the dressing up in advance and assemble the salad separately. When we arrived wherever we were going, she would quickly toss the salad with the dressing. It’s awesome to be able to get this step out of the way if you’ve got a busy cooking day ahead.
The dressing is just four simple ingredients:
- mayonnaise – not a lot, just enough to make the broccoli salad dressing nice and creamy
- sugar – this little sweetness really complements the vinegar
- red wine vinegar – provides the tang in the dressing
- celery seeds – something extra that my mom always did and I love the added flavor and the pop of the seeds in the dressing
Can It Be Made In Advance?
This broccoli salad recipe can be made in advance and is a wonderful addition to holiday festivities.
- Mix the salad dressing separately and store in the refrigerator.
- Combine the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Toss everything together and refrigerate for up to 4 hours if not serving immediately.
Tips for the Best Broccoli Salad
- Don’t forget to toast the slivered almonds before adding to the broccoli salad. Watch them carefully when toasting, they burn easily!
- The salad can be made in advance. Just prep the dressing separately and toss together when ready to serve.
- Make sure the broccoli pieces are bite-sized – keeping kids in mind as well.
- You can’t go wrong with more bacon. Feel free to add in more if you want.
This salad is perfect year-round but is especially well-received at summer gatherings, picnics, potlucks, barbecues and more. But it’s also a staple for us during the holidays. What can I say? We just LOVE this broccoli salad!
If you love broccoli salad, I urge you to give this one a try! I know you’ll love it just as much as I do!
More Great Salads To Try
- Wild Rice Three Bean Salad
- Ambrosia Salad
- Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Watergate Salad
- Pineapple Cucumber Salad
What To Serve With Broccoli Salad
- Mac and Cheese – my 5 star homemade baked mac and cheese, you don’t want to miss this!
- Pot Roast and Gravy – the ultimate comfort food!
- The Ultimate Chicken Fried Steak with gravy!
- Stuffed Shells – easy, cheesy, delicious! A favorite with the kids!
- Easy Lazy Day Lasagna – serve with some garlic bread and this broccoli salad!
How To Make Broccoli Salad
Best Ever Broccoli Salad
- 1 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 2 heads broccoli broken down into small florets
- 12 oz bacon cooked and chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup almonds toasted, slivered
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes halved
- Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, red wine vinegar, and celery seed in a small bowl. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Combine broccoli, bacon, toasted almonds, green onions, celery and grapes in a large serving dish.
- (To toast almonds, place on a large baking sheet and bake at 350F for 3-5 minutes stirring in between. Do not walk away! They will burn easily. The almonds are toasted when they turn light brown.)
- Toss the dressing with the rest of the salad ingredients and stir.
- Dressing can be added at the last minute if desired.
Originally published July 14, 2015.