Fresh Broccoli Grape Salad with crunchy bacon pieces is a delicious creamy balance of the best flavors – this salad makes the most PERFECT side dish salad!
It may not seem like it, but spring is just around the corner and side dish salads will be all the rage. They are amazing for a quick lunch, perfect for get-togethers, feed a family, and typically keep a few days so you can enjoy them more than once.
This Broccoli Grape salad with seedless red grapes, cuts of crunchy fresh broccoli, bits of bacon, and a little bit of spicy red onion is the perfect balance of flavors that will dance on your tongue.
Why you will love this Broccoli Salad with Creamy Dressing
This is a great salad for those of you who are looking to get your greens in. It’s also very easy and quick to make, so it makes an excellent side dish or lunch option! I love this recipe because the broccoli adds some crunch while still keeping things light and fresh tasting.
The dressing has just enough sweetness that balances out all the other flavors nicely. This would be perfect as part of any summer picnic menu – especially if you have friends over with kids! Perfect for parties and potluck, this summer salad goes amazing with traditional BBQ items like pork, chicken, and burgers.
Before getting started on this cold broccoli salad, make sure you have all the ingredients available.
- head of broccoli – This particular salad uses small bites of raw broccoli taken from broccoli head. However, it is also fine to blanch bite-sized broccoli florets if you prefer.
- red grapes
- red onion – Raw onions (like red onions) can be very powerful. Personally I love that flavor and its a perfect fit for me in salads like this, but to remove some of that spicy flavor, simply soak cut red onions in cold water or a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes, drain water and pat onions dry before adding to the salad.
- mayonnaise – Making Broccoli Grape Salad Mayo Free – While I do believe that mayonnaise is the best flavor for the juicy grapes, you can substitute mayo easily for unflavored Greek Yogurt. This will also make the creamy dressing less of a tangy dressing. Additionally, I have tried a half mixture of mayo and sour cream.
- apple cider vinegar + white granulated sugar = a perfect homemade dressing.
- black pepper & pinch of salt
- cooked bacon – Center cut bacon should be cooked. We prefer to brown bacon in the air fryer. There are some people that do not like bacon in grape salad but personally I like crisp bacon in every bite. The combo of broccoli and creamy broccoli salad dressing goes great when you add lots of bacon over salad.
- sunflower seeds – Sunflower seeds make some of the best of the tasty ingredients with a perfect salty crunch.
Variations & Expert Tips
- Make sure to get seedless grapes. There is nothing worse than getting home and realizing that all the grapes have seeds in them.
- Looking for more crunch? There are other nuts that go well in summer parties like crunchy pecans. Just make sure they are bite size pieces.
- Other ingredients that go well in a retro broccoli salad recipe are sliced green onions, larger slices of bacon, celery ribs, changing red rapes to green grapes (also sweet grapes) for more complex flavor. Some people even like cheddar cheese (but I prefer blocks of cheese if I add to my salad recipes).
- There is no pasta in this wonderful broccoli salad recipe, but to make broccoli grape pasta salad, just make and drain bowtie pasta. Add to bowl of broccoli grape salad and increase a bit of dressing. It is really very easy to translate to a Broccoli pasta salad!
How to make Broccoli Grape Salad
These instructions are based on all raw broccoli into florets being prepped and ready for the final assembly of the broccoli salad recipe. I like to cut mine small so there is a bit of broccoli into each bite. If you would prefer to blanch the broccoli first, please see below for instructions.
- Add fresh broccoli florets, grapes and red onion to a mixing bowl and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, add mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar , sugar and 1 tablespoon of crumbled bacon. Mix custom salad dressing well. Season with black pepper and a bit of kosher salt.
- Pour delicious dressing over broccoli mixture and toss well to evenly coat. A slotted spoon also works well to stir up creamy broccoli salad.
- Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to let flavors mingle. Stir well and serve topped with remaining bacon and sunflower seeds.
What is blanching broccoli?
Blanching means cooking vegetables briefly in boiling water before cooling down quickly under cold running tap water. You want to cook your veggies until tender without overcooking or burning them, which only takes a few minutes or less. This also makes the broccoli a bright green color. The trick here is to make sure there is NO MOISTURE left in broccoli.
- Add ice and water to a large bowl (enough to fit the broccoli amount you are blanching).
- Rapid boil water on the stove.
- Once water is boiling, add broccoli florets to rapid boiling water for 2 minutes. You do not want broccoli to be too soft. It should be just barely tender.
- Remove immediately and lower into ice water. Once cool, let drain on paper towels before proceeding with salad.
Is Broccoli and Grape Salad Low Carb?
While this recipe does add a bit of sweetness with the white sugar, if you are wanting to go low carb and are ok with a bit less sweet over tangy, just leave the bit of sugar out. Either way, it has a delicious flavor.
Are there any other Vegetables that go well in this Salad?
Sure! You can add in seedless black (for sweet flavor) or green grapes. Additionally, cut the number of broccoli florets in half and add a raw cauliflower head. (about 5 oz. of each).
Can broccoli salad sit out at a potluck?
This salad tastes the best cold and should not sit out, for bacteria reasons, for more than a few hours. We suggest sitting ice in a disposable foil container and this mixing bowl of salad on top of that to keep it cool.
Can pasta be added to this broccoli salad?
Absolutely! It’s easy to alter this recipe by doubling the dressing and adding a few cups of cooked pasta shells. Bowtie pasta work best in broccoli grape salad.
Must I let this salad sit in the fridge for two hours?
I know, a ton of recipes say that and salads in particular. But you would be cutting off some valuable bright flavor if you skip letting it sit in the fridge.
Can I make this broccoli grape salad in advance?
You CAN eat this salad right away but it’s BETTER if you wait. This salad can also be made in advance and stored in an airtight container.
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Broccoli Grape Salad
- 1 large head of raw broccoli - cut into small bite-sized pieces (usually 9 oz)
- 1 cup seedless red grapes - halved
- 1/3 cup red onion - chopped
- 1 cup real mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- ground black pepper
- 8 slices bacon - cooked and crumbled
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- Add bite-sized cut up broccoli florets, halved seedless red grapes, and chopped red onion into a medium-sized mixing bowl and mix well to combine ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, add mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, granulated white sugar, and 1 tablespoon of crumbled bacon.
- Using a whisk, mix dressing well. Season dressing with black pepper and a dash of salt.
- Pour creamy dressing over broccoli mixture and toss well to evenly coat all vegetables.
- Cover bowl (or transfer to an airtight container) and refrigerate broccoli grape salad for 2 hours to let flavors mingle.
- Prior to serving, stir salad well to make sure there is no dressing settled on the bottom and top with remaining cooked, crunchy bacon and salty sunflower seeds.
- Do not add sunflower seeds or bacon till serving as they will get soft in the fridge. Adding right at a serving time helps keep the bacon and seeds crunchy longer.
- This salad also does well with either pecan halves or pieces of walnuts in place of sunflower seeds.