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Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cherries - Perfect for picnics and potlucks!

Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cherries

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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.

White ceramic bowl filled with Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cherries

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.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cherries on a white plate with a bamboo handled fork

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.
Overhead shot of Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cherries in a white serving bowl

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 roundup of the Best Summer Salad Recipes offers loads of inspiration, this Spicy Mexican Corn Salad is another favorite as is this Summer Vegetable Salad.

This 2015 broccoli salad recipe was updated with some tweaks to the recipe and new photos in 2018.

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Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cherries - Perfect for picnics and potlucks!

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!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Salad, Side Dish
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together bacon, broccoli, bell pepper, onions, cherries, almonds, seeds and cheese.
  2. Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and sugar. Add to broccoli mixture and toss to combine.
  3. Refrigerate for an hour or two to let flavors meld. Toss again before serving.

Notes

Salad tastes best after refrigerating a few hours up to overnight.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cherries - Perfect for picnics and potlucks! #broccolisalad #picnicsalad #potlucksalad #summersalad
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38 comments on “Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cherries”

  1. My fave! Love the dried cherries in yours. Different!

  2. Oh bacon can jazz up so many things easily. This salad looks delicious!

  3. I love this type of salad and I love adding nuts and almonds in there!

  4. This does sound good, love the almonds and bacon makes everything better:@)

  5. I LOVE broccoli salads – this one looks very similar to one I make and it’s always a hit. I usually use cranberries, but I really like your idea of using cherries.

  6. Oh, what a good idea with the cherries…I have subbed cranberries and apricots and dates for the raisins before but haven’t ventured into cherries. You can bet I will now. This is one of Mark’s favorite things that I pack in his lunches (he never likes to take time out to eat lunch out so treats like this one make lunch seem more special). He will love the cherries!

  7. I love this salad and love your addition of bacon and dried cherries. A great way to get your family to eat broccoli. Perfect for lunches or a picnic!

  8. When I’m not making my own mayo, Hellman’s is what I always use, too. I can’t believe I’ve never made this salad! I’ve seen it (or versions of it) for ages. Really need to try it, particularly since we’ll be getting local broccoli before long. Thanks for this.

  9. Broccoli salad is actually one of my favorite salads, ever, so you can imagine me jumping up to attention in my seat at this post 🙂 just saved it for future reference, yummy share!!

  10. Liz I love this salad! It is full of flavors and with the bacon and cherries I might even get Manservant to eat it!

  11. Healthy, tasty, with a great mix of flavors and textures. This just might be the perfect salad, Liz!

  12. It sounds and looks delicious, Liz! I have all the ingredients and can’t imagine why I never thought of combining bacon, etc. with cherries! Way to go, Liz!

  13. How grrrreat to have a salad which actually gets better with age =) Genius to swap out raisins in favor of cherries =)

  14. Broccoli salad is one of my faves and how can you go wrong with bacon! Love the cherries in this – great idea, Liz!

  15. Broccoli and bacon are a winning combination. It’s great that you say the salad is even better the second day as often salads are only good on the day they’re made. I think that’s a lovely idea to switch the raisons for cranberries xx

  16. I love salads, specially when they are gourmands like this one ! I like the idea to put in the dried cherries, for the “sucré” ! Very nice mix !

  17. Love the crunch in this salad treat, Liz! xoxo

  18. I absolutely adore broccoli salad! This sounds perfect for all the potlucks and picnics we have coming up. Love the flavors and that’s awesome that it tastes better the next day too!

  19. Broccoli salad is one of my favorites! I love the crunchy almonds and cherries you added – a great twist!

  20. I see this being served at many a bbq this summer! Love the mix of sweet and tart and savory.

  21. You are a genius Liz, I love this salad and could eat my weight in it but the raw broccoli didn’t always agree with me. I love the idea of blanching it although I may eat way too much now!

  22. I like your jazzed up salad. I’m passing this recipe along to my daughter, broccoli is one of the few vegetables she likes.

  23. Everything tastes better with bacon added, but the addition of the dried cherries is brilliance. This salad would surely trick me into eating broccoli. Lol!

  24. I have the adventurous salad gene in the family and I look forward to salad bliss with this one!

  25. This recipe has the perfect combination of ingredients and flavors. SO good!

  26. Loving the cherries and the broccoli together. This is such a delicious one.

  27. I could eat this as a meal, it looks so tasty. Have you got your kitchen back? I can’t wait to see pics!

  28. I love this salad! Never thought that bacon and cherries will mix so good!

  29. I love the addition of the cherries! I will be giving this salad a try!

  30. This broccoli salad is one of my go-to dishes for summer BBQs, always a hit!

  31. This reminds me of a salad my Mom used to always make. I love the dried cherries – she used to just use dried cranberries! Yum!

  32. This is one of the best things I have EVER tasted! I have only recipes like this make me feel like this is achievable and that this is going to be a delicious and abundant rather than a restrictive life!

  33. This looks perfect and so tasty Liz! Love the addition of dried cherries – what a great bite 😉

  34. Hi Liz,

    Love this — especially the dried cherries. Love that you described putting it in the refrigerator as an “overnight stint” lol! And great that you can make it ahead!

  35. Oh, I love this salad, Liz! I never thought of adding cherries to the mix, but will now, thanks for sharing! Take care

  36. It looks so colorful, I already like it!

  37. Looks delicious Lizzy! I love broccoli, have a nice weekend !! xo

  38. Beautiful salad, Liz! Love the combination of flavors and textures going on here. But interestingly – although I love adding dried fruit and berries in my salads (And I use a large variety from cranberries to less common prunes) – I am not sure if I’ve added raisins. I guess I need give them a try;)

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