A delicious alternative to a lettuce salad, this Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cherries is perfect for any gathering!
This classic summer potluck salad is amped up with shredded cheese, dried cherries instead of raisins and a pop of color from diced red bell pepper. Crunch from nuts and sees offer another texture for a out of this world side dish.
Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cherries
This highly adaptable broccoli salad has been making the rounds for years. With a sweet mayonnaise based dressing, it’s crunchy and irresistible! Often chock full of raisins, I swapped those out for dried cherries. The nut of your choice can be added for texture. Bacon gives a saltiness to balance out the sweetness of the dressing and cherries.
Tips for Making this Broccoli Salad
I couldn’t resist digging into a big bowl of this broccoli salad immediately after tossing and though it was tasty, it was SO much better the next day. The dressing had loosened up a bit and the flavors melded wonderfully. Unlike a next-day soggy lettuce salad, this sturdy gem aged well. So if you’re in need of a little different side for your next gathering, give this one a shot. And plan ahead by making it the night before—it’s worth the wait!
- This salad is easily customizable. If you don’t like nuts, like my hubby, leave out all the crunchy almonds and sunflower seeds. If you prefer the classic raisins, add those instead of dried cherries. Dried cranberries are a delicious alternative, too.
- I’ve blanched the broccoli to take off the raw flavor in the past, but I like this salad just as well with fresh broccoli florets.
- Including shredded cheese was a tasty change from my original recipe and one I’ll keep doing. I used sharp cheddar, but Monterey Jack or another of your favorite cheeses would work well in this easy broccoli salad.
- I sweetened the simple mayonnaise dressing with granulated sugar, but honey or even a sugar substitute are other options. Try a homemade mayonnaise instead of store bought for an even more wholesome version.
- My original version didn’t contain onions, but I had pickled onions for my tuna salad and found a couple tablespoons was a delicious addition. You could also use thinly sliced scallions if you like the mild bite from onions. To pickle onions, just chop, add to a small bowl and pour in some champagne or other favorite vinegar to cover. Let sit 5 or more minutes, drain and use.
- PRO- Tip: You can certainly eat this broccoli salad as soon as it’s tossed, but the flavors meld and develop with an overnight stint in the refrigerator. Just toss again before serving.
- Store in a covered container and toss again before serving. Do not leave out at room temperature more than 2 hours as the chance of a food borne illness increases when any mayonnaise based salad dressing is left in the heat too long.
More Summer Salad Recipes You’ll Love:
I tend to use a lot of garden tomatoes and fresh basil in my summer salads, but there are so many more options. This Summer Italian Spaghetti Salad doesn’t feature the typical pasta salad noodles and is full of garden vegetables, this Fresh Summer Corn Salad uses corn right off the cob for a sensational seasonal side, and I love this low carb Easy Summer Lunch Salad with feta, too.
This 2015 broccoli salad recipe was updated with some tweaks to the recipe and new photos in 2018.Print
Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cherries
A classic picnic salad made with broccoli, bacon and dried cherries. Easily adapted to make it your own!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings
- Category: Salad, Side Dish
- Method: Mixing
- Cuisine: American
- 6 slices thick bacon, cooked and chopped
- 4 cups of small, bite sized broccoli florets
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 tablespoons diced, pickled red onion (I soak the diced onion in champagne vinegar while I prep other salad ingredients, then drain and add to the salad)
- 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup mayonnaise (I recommend Hellmann’s)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together bacon, broccoli, bell pepper, onions, cherries, almonds, seeds and cheese.
- Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and sugar. Add to broccoli mixture and toss to combine.
- Refrigerate for an hour or two to let flavors meld. Toss again before serving.
Salad tastes best after refrigerating a few hours up to overnight.