Come to any party at my house (and anyone in my family's house) and there is one thing that is guaranteed to be on the table – Broccoli Salad with Bacon! We serve it at barbecues, as a side dish at Thanksgiving and Easter and just about any family gathering. We go to Indiana to see our family and this exact same recipe is on the table, be it a family reunion or a funeral!
Some people don't like to add cheese to their broccoli salad and that is just fine. I have had it with and without cheese. Personally, I prefer it without the cheese, but I seem to be in the minority. I also often like to throw in a handful of raisins for a little added sweetness! I always buy broccoli florets when I make this. I am NOT a fan of the stalks and I think that they make the salad a little bitter.
One thing that is very important when making this – don't add the sunflower seeds until you are ready to serve it. The salad needs to chill for a few hours in order for the flavors to combine and if you add the seeds before you chill it, they will just get soggy. I like the crunch of the seeds so I just chill the salad in whatever bowl I mixed it in, chill it and then toss the seeds in before I transfer it to a serving bowl.
Oh – and one last thing….this may sound like a stupid thing to mention, but I actually had someone ask me for the recipe once so that they could make it for a party that we were both attending. When we got to the party and saw her salad, she had used sunflower seeds that still had the shell on them. Needless to say, we got a good laugh out of it. You want to but sunflower seeds WITHOUT the shells! (it good that she is a good friend of mine – I tease her all the time about it!)
Anyway – to make this Broccoli Salad With Bacon Recipe, you will need:
- 1 lb broccoli florets, chopped
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 12 slices crispy cooked bacon
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- Place broccoli, bacon and onion in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine water and sugar and stir until dissolved. Stir in vinegar and mayonnaise and stir to combine.
- Pour mixture over broccoli and toss to combine (the salad will see “dry” – don't worry about that. The dressing will actually draw some of the moisture from the broccoli and onion to create more dressing)
- Cover and chill for at least 3 – 4 hours.
- Just before serving, stir in sunflower seeds, cheese and/or raisins.