Classic Broccoli Salad

4.56

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This classic broccoli salad combines fresh broccoli with raisins, sunflower seeds and bacon all tossed in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing. It’s the perfect side dish for potlucks and summer cookouts!

My mom used to make broccoli salad for every gathering growing up and it was one of my absolute favorites, so I thought I’d recreate it but with a lightened-up twist!

When testing this broccoli salad recipe, I took one bite and was quickly taken back to a memory of being in the kitchen with my mom making this salad for a family cookout. It tastes so similar to her version. I know you’re going to love this one!

A broccoli salad in a large white bowl.

Why I Love This Salad

  • Lightened-Up – I made this broccoli salad a tad lighter by using Greek yogurt instead of mayo for the dressing.
  • Versatile – Great for any occasion, from family dinners to larger summer gatherings.
  • Make-Ahead Friendly – Tastes even better after sitting for a few hours, making it a fantastic option for meal prep or as a make-ahead side.
  • Customizable – Easy to tweak based on your preferences or dietary needs.

Broccoli Salad Ingredients

Ingredients measured out to make Classic Broccoli Salad: sunflower seeds, honey, red onion, apple cider vinegar, broccoli, water, garlic powder, raisins, pepper, bacon, Greek yogurt and salt.
  • chopped broccoli florets – you can use pre-chopped florets or buy full heads. Either way you’ll want to chop the florets into tiny, bite-size pieces. This helps distribute the dressing and makes the salad easier to eat. Make sure you’re using fresh, raw broccoli. Frozen or cooked broccoli won’t work for this recipe! If you’re looking for a salad with cooked broccoli try this: roasted broccoli quinoa salad
  • bacon – for a more classic broccoli salad flavor use pork bacon, but turkey bacon would work great too if you want to reduce the calories and fat.
  • sunflower seeds – I prefer roasted and salted, but you can use dry roasted or raw. Roasted tends to have more flavor and crunch. Feel free to also swap the sunflower seeds with almonds, walnuts or pepitas if that’s what you have on hand.
  • raisins – add a nice touch of sweetness and balances the savory flavors of the bacon and broccoli. Feel free to swap the raisins for dried cranberries if you want. Or you can just make this broccoli cranberry salad.
  • red onion – the red onion adds a pop of color and oniony flavor.
  • Greek yogurt – instead of mayo, I used plain Greek yogurt to up the protein and reduce the fat in the creamy dressing.
  • apple cider vinegar – apple cider vinegar is my go-to vinegar for salad dressing because of it’s health benefits and I love the flavor it adds here. Don’t have ACV on hand? Use fresh lemon juice instead!
  • honey or maple syrup – a hint of sweetness to balance out the rest of the dressing ingredients.
  • sea salt and black pepper – two essentials for a tasty salad dressing.

Recipe Variations

  • Vegetarian – You can omit the bacon or try using tempeh bacon or coconut bacon.
  • Dairy-free – Use mayonnaise or a dairy-free Greek yogurt. I personally like using coconut milk yogurt when I need a dairy-free option. It’s thick like Greek yogurt and works great. You can also try my vegan broccoli salad.
  • Add cheese – Some versions of classic broccoli salad include cheese, but my mom’s version doesn’t so I’m sticking with that! If you want to add cheese, feel free to add in shredded cheddar cheese, feta cheese or goat cheese.
A serving spoon holding a portion of broccoli salad over a large bowl of the salad.

How to Make Broccoli Salad

Cook bacon: I like cooking it in the oven (see notes in the recipe card), but you can also cook it in a skillet on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Create dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, honey, maple syrup, salt and pepper.

Side by side photos showing the ingredients to make a Greek yogurt dressing in a bowl, before and after getting whisked together.

Combine ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, honey, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Add broccoli, sunflower seeds, raisins, red onion and bacon to the bowl and stir until well combined.

Side by side photos of the ingredients to make Classic Broccoli Salad in a bowl, before and after being mixed.

Cover and chill: Cover container and chill in the fridge. Let sit for at least 3-4 hours before serving. Overnight works great too as this salad tastes better after it has had time to sit.

Recipe Tips

  • Cut your broccoli small: Make sure to cut your broccoli into small, bite-size pieces to help distribute the dressing and make the salad easier to eat.
  • Chill before serving: You can totally enjoy this salad right away, but I recommend letting it sit in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours or overnight before serving. This gives the broccoli time to soften and soak up the flavors of the dressing.
A serving of broccoli salad in a white bowl.

What to Serve With Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad recipe makes for a wonderful side dish for dinner or a light lunch option, but it’s also a great side for potlucks and cookouts. Here are some ideas on what to serve alongside this salad:

A broccoli salad in a large white bowl.

How to Store Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad will last up to five days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You may notice that the raisins absorb some of the liquid or the sunflower seeds soften but that’s okay! It will still be delicious.

More Salad Recipes to Try

Be sure to check out my full collection of salad recipes.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐ star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.

4.56 from 52 votes

Classic Broccoli Salad

This easy broccoli salad combines fresh broccoli with raisins, sunflower seeds and bacon all tossed in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing. It's the perfect side dish for potlucks and summer cookouts!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 5 cups

Ingredients  

  • 5 cups chopped broccoli florets, about 2 large heads
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, pork or turkey bacon work
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, raw or roasted
  • ½ cup raisins
  • cup red onion, diced
  • ¾ cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • sprinkle of garlic powder

Instructions 

  • If you haven't done so already, cook the bacon according to the package instructions. I like cooking it in the oven, but you can also cook it in a skillet on the stovetop or in the microwave.
    Cooked bacon pieces in a pan.
  • In a small bowl whisk together yogurt, apple cider vinegar, honey, water, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
    A yogurt and apple cider vinegar mixture in a mixing bowl with a metal whisk.
  • Add broccoli, sunflower seeds, raisins, red onion and bacon to the bowl and toss. Drizzle on dressing and toss until everything is coated.
    All ingredients for a broccoli salad in a large bowl before being mixed.
  • Cover container and chill in the fridge. Let sit for at least 3-4 hours before serving. Overnight works great too as this salad tastes better after it has had time to sit.

Video

Notes

  • Cook bacon in the oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then place the bacon on the baking sheet. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until bacon is cooked through and crisp. Remove bacon from the baking sheet using a fork or tongs and place on a plate lined with multiple paper towels to soak up the bacon grease. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 118mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: broccoli salad, broccoli salad recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

This post was originally published on March 3, 2021 and republished on April 8, 2024.

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating




55 Comments

  1. I made this yesterday as a side salad. Once again, another one of your recipes was delicious and easy to make. I can’t wait to try more.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve been looking for some light dinner alternatives because nobody wants to cook when it’s triple digits outside! This was super easy to make and it’s great that it can be made ahead. Made substitutions with bacon bits and left out the onions but neither took away any flavor. Will make again!

    1. Yess!! I am so happy that you enjoyed this recipe, Colleen. Your substitutions sound great! Thank you for your review & star rating, I really appreciate it.

  3. 5 stars
    We LOVE a good broccoli salad in this house and it’s always so fun to find new twists and recommendations for old traditions. This one is really good (and so much healthier haha)! We still added our beloved cheese and cauliflower, but will def be making this again!

    1. Ah yay! I am so happy this recipe was a hit, Brittany. Thank you for your review + star rating, I so appreciate it!

  4. 5 stars
    Just made this as a side for dinner and it is seriously amazing!! I used honey flavored almonds instead of sunflower seeds & I did cook the broccoli because I didn’t realize it needed to sit in the fridge and I needed it done quick! So yummy this will probably be a new staple side dish!

    1. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe and that it worked out for you! Thank you for coming back and leaving your review + star rating, I really appreciate it.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this recipe as a side dish when we had family down to our lake house this past weekend. It was perfect to make ahead of time, low prep, and delicious! Best part is having the leftovers throughout the week for lunch! I am actually making it again this weekend for a birthday party!

  6. I made this salad last weekend when we had family down to the lake house! It was perfect to make ahead, low prep and a great summer meal. Best part is that the leftovers make for a great lunch throughout the week! I’m actually making it again to bring to a birthday party this weekend 😅

    1. Ah yay! I am so happy that this salad was a hit, Sarah. I completely agree, it is perfect as leftovers too! Thank you for coming back and leaving your review, I really appreciate it.

  7. 5 stars
    This salad was so delicious! It was the perfect side salad for my summer dinner party- especially for all of those crunch lovers like me!

    1. I am so happy that this salad was a hit at your dinner party, Isabella! Thank you for coming back and leaving your review, I really appreciate it.

  8. 5 stars
    Really enjoyed this recipe – I’ve made it twice in the past month! I used Skyr instead of Greek yogurt because that’s what I had but don’t think I missed much – may have added a little more bacon 😋 Great meal prep side to have in the fridge since it keeps so well!

    1. AH! I am so happy that you enjoyed this recipe, Chelsea. You definitely can’t go wrong with adding more bacon! Thank you for your review + star rating, I really appreciate you being here.

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