Broccoli Crunch Salad - Danielle Walker

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

image of broccoli crunch salad with bacon in a white bowl on a countertop

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!  

image of broccoli crunch salad with red onion on top and sunflower seeds and bacon in bowls beside it.

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. 

close up image of broccoli crunch salad in a white bowl.

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 Sunflower Seeds

Sprouted Almonds

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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Warm Brussels Sprouts-Spinach Salad  

Watermelon Salad with Arugula, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts

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Broccoli Crunch Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Danielle
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: None
  • Cuisine: American




  1. Mix together the broccoli, bacon, raisins, cashews, sunflower seeds, and onion.
  2. Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, date syrup, Burnt Broccoli seasoning, salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle over the salad and mix to combine. 


Broccoli Crunch Salad

image of broccoli crunch salad with bacon in a white bowl with spoons


  1. Hannah says:

    Red wine vinegar is mentioned in the article but apple cider is in the recipe portion. Do you have a preference? I’m leaning towards red wine as apple cider vinegar is a little sharp for my taste. I’m assuming it doesn’t really matter much!

    • Danielle says:

      Hi! It can be either ingredient – thanks for catching that! We’ll update the ingredient section. Enjoy!!

  2. Donna says:

    This looks great and I’d buy your seasonings but your shipping costs put it out of range.

    • Danielle says:

      Sorry to hear that. We are continually working with our warehouse team to reduce shipping costs. Unfortunately, they’re just really high for everything these days.

  3. Kristen says:

    Can this recipe be made in advance? I’d like to include it for my Easter meal, but with the rest of the meal to prepare day of, it would be great if I could make this the day before and store it in the fridge.

    • Danielle says:

      Love that idea! I would make the dressing ahead and have all the other ingredients prepped (onion chopped, broccoli chopped, etc). Then I would assemble the salad 1-2 hours before you’re looking to serve it. That will give the flavors some time to develop, but no chance of soggy nuts or seeds.

  4. Jeanette says:

    This may be my favorite recipe of yours yet… well, second to the instant pot spaghetti. I bought date syrup just to try it out, and it was worth it. 🙂 and the burnt broccoli seasoning really made the dressing EXCELLENT. I didn’t measure it; just sprinkled it in until it tasted right. I paired with air fried chicken thighs for a quick, healthy dinner. Now off to make your banana chocolate chip mug cake for dessert!

  5. Mandie Kolarik says:

    Made this for one of our Easter dinners and it was a hit. Easy to make and SO good!!

  6. Kat says:

    This is 10 stars. When I first saw this posted, I had to make it. I subbed Chorizo for bacon as its what I had on hand. I had leftover walnuts from the holidays and subbed them, ditto for dates, and I made my own very quick 3-ingredient date syrup, which I don’t have access to, and likely may have been unhealthy. I was able to make this on the fly, only having to purchase broccoli. It’s absolutely fantastic after only 2 hours in the fridge and I can’t wait to try it tomorrow. Your Burnt Broccoli Seasoning is absolutely fantastic and my only regret is not making it sooner. I had everything on hand to make it…another plus. I’ll be putting it on everything. Not to get to personal, but I was so very reluctant to eat broccoli as I haven’t eaten it in many many years due to Crohn’s and an ileostomy, and concerns over intestinal irritation/blockage and a trip to the hospital/OR. I simply processed the broccoli into smaller pieces for ease of digestion. So far, no issues, as the dressing plays a role too in softening it. This is solely for the benefit of others who may be in the same boat. Danielle, my utmost gratitude for this recipe and the encouragement to try and reintroduce something I’ve avoided out of fear of a flare, or worse. This salad is so beautiful, flavorful, versatile and budget-friendly, it deserves the spotlight on the table at every summer gsthering and it’s going to be on regular rotation all summer. Oh…nearly forgot…as I was prepping a bowl of it to eat, I thought this is a great way to sneak in those stray veggies in the fridge, and that is tomorrow’s plan. Sorry for the book length review, but this is worth it.

    • Danielle says:

      Thank you so much for this amazing and thorough review! I love your tips and new ideas for subs (chorizo sounds fantastic!).

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