A family member brought an old family favorite salad to a gathering over the holidays. I was reminded of how much I loved it, but also that it had sugar and canola oil in it, so I knew I wanted to remake it in a healthier form. This Broccoli Crunch Salad is a dish where you can make healthier swaps, while still maintaining the delicious taste of the original recipe. The creamy dressing is so satisfying with the crunchy broccoli, seeds, and crisp, salty bacon. I love it as a side dish or I often add some leftover grilled chicken on top to make it a balanced lunch.
Broccoli Crunch Salad
How to Cook Crispy Bacon
There are so many ways to cook bacon and everyone has their preferred method. Mine is without a doubt, cooking it in the oven. I think it cooks more evenly and gets crispier than it does in a pan. Plus, no splattery cooktop to deal with afterward!
Here’s how I cook mine: I set the oven to 400 degrees and place my bacon in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan. I let it cook for 10 minutes and then flip it and cook it for 10 minutes more. At that point I check it and either remove it, or let it cook up to 5 more minutes depending on doneness. When I remove it from the pan, I place it on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess grease.
I always like to have extra cooked bacon in my fridge — which is harder than it sounds as my family tends to gobble it all up in no time. But if you can hang onto some, use your leftovers for this recipe!
How to Make Salad Dressing with Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise creates the creamiest dressings and you can easily make your own mayo by following my recipe for Paleo Mayo. But personally, my go-to is avocado oil mayo. And I usually go for convenience over making it and purchase a clean version like this one.
Mayo acts as an emulsifier — meaning it brings all the other ingredients together and keeps them combined— and works so well with the red wine vinegar to give this salad it’s creamy tanginess.
One tip: add minimal salt to your dressing initially. Mix it with the broccoli and top with bacon and then check the seasoning. The bacon adds such a salty bite that you may not need to add more. And by waiting to finish seasoning until the Broccoli Crunch Salad is assembled, you’ll avoid making it too salty.
Date Syrup Benefits
Date syrup is a really wonderful sweetening option and I think it works beautifully in this salad. It is made by combining dates with water, then blending and straining them in a process that ultimately removes the water from the mixture. This leaves a syrup — lighter in color and less thick than molasses — but with a rich flavor and dark color.
Since it’s made from a fruit, it has fiber, unlike maple syrup or honey. It has a lower glycemic index than those other sweeteners too, plus it contains some potassium, iron, and calcium.
Difference Between Nuts and Seeds
Most nuts are seeds, but not all seeds are nuts. Which sounds confusing, but basically nuts are the hard shelled fruits of certain plants and seeds are an edible plant enclosed in a seed coat.
This Broccoli Crunch Salad recipe calls for sprouted sunflower seeds which describes sunflower seeds that have been dried at a very low temperature. The idea is that sprouting releases enzymes which makes the seeds easier to digest.
Some of my favorite sprouted seeds and nuts are:
Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds
In this recipe, you could use any mix of these or use cashews as the recipe calls for. I do recommend keeping the sunflower seeds in as they offer a really satisfying crunch and flavor. Enjoy!
Easy Salads to Make
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Broccoli Crunch Salad
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: None
- Cuisine: American
- 6 cups broccoli, florets and stalks chopped
- ½ cup chopped cooked bacon
- ½ cup raisins
- ¼ cup chopped dry roasted cashews
- ¼ cup sprouted sunflower seeds
- ½ red onion, minced
- ¾ cup avocado oil mayonnaise
- 2 to 3 tbsp apple cider or red wine vinegar (use less if your mayo is on the more sour side)
- 2 teaspoons date syrup
- ½ teaspoon Burnt Broccoli Seasoning (optional, but so delicious)
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Keywords: salad, vegetarian, Danielle Walker, against all grain, paleo, gluten free, grain free, lunch