Broccoli Cranberry Salad

Have the sticks of butter been flying off the shelves in anyone else’s kitchen lately? In the name of balance, today I have a Broccoli Cranberry Salad for you. It’s the perfect way to sneak a little green onto your holiday table in a way that a) feels decadent enough to merit a spot at a once-a-year feast and b) won’t get you kicked to the back of the buffet line for bringing a green vegetable to a holiday gathering.

Healthy Broccoli Cranberry Salad with Bacon. Light and crunchy with the BEST dressing! Perfect side dish for potlucks. The longer it sits, the better it gets! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

This Broccoli Cranberry Salad is a play on the one my aunt used to bring every year to our Christmas dinner. It’s a little bit naughty (ahem, bacon), a little bit nice (see also: bacon), and the festive red-and-green colors look beautiful as a part of any holiday spread.

This easy Broccoli Cranberry Salad is the BEST. Actually stays crunchy and it disappears everywhere I bring it! A simple, healthy broccoli salad recipe with bacon, pepitas, and a zippy honey vinaigrette. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

My aunt’s original broccoli salad recipe called for a creamy mayo-based dressing, but I opted for a lighter vinaigrette-style dressing instead. It keeps the salad nice and crunchy (I find that creamy-style dressings tend to make the broccoli salad become mushy as it sits), and it makes the recipe more of a healthy broccoli salad too, if that’s something you are after.

Even if “healthy” is not something you are seeking at the holidays, this easy Broccoli Cranberry Salad is still a winning choice. It has lots of interesting flavors and textures, from the crunchy broccoli and toasty pepita seeds to the chewy cranberries and smoky bacon. It can withstand long hours at room temperature, and since it gets even better the longer it sits, it’s a great make-ahead recipe too.

Broccoli Cranberry Salad with Bacon, Pepitas, and Honey Dressing. This recipe is THE BEST. Stays crunchy, easy to make, and disappears everywhere I bring it! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Oh, and it does not taste like a healthy broccoli salad, even if it is on the more wholesome side of the holiday standard.

Easy Broccoli Cranberry Salad. A simple healthy broccoli salad recipe that stays crunchy. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Now I’m not saying Santa would opt for Broccoli Cranberry Salad over allllllll of the cookies, but even he would find space for this easy, delicious side. Enjoy the green goodness like Broccoli Cranberry Salad in Holiday Feasting Round 1, then help yourself to the treats in Feasting Round 2!

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Broccoli Cranberry Salad

Broccoli Cranberry Salad with Bacon, Pepitas, and Honey Dressing. Easy, delicious, and can be made ahead, so it’s perfect for parties and potlucks.

Yield: Serves 8

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 8 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets (about 1 pound)
  • 5 small or 3 large green onions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sugar dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Directions:

  1. Cook the bacon: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil, then place an ovenproof baking rack on top. Arrange the bacon in a single layer on the baking rack, then bake until crisp, about 15-20 minutes, depending upon the thickness of your bacon. Remove from the baking rack to a paper-towel-lined plate. Let cool, then crumble and set aside.
  2. Blanch the broccoli: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Add the broccoli florets and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Remove from the hot water with a slotted spoon and plunge immediately into the ice bath to stop the cooking and set the green color. Drain, spread on a clean kitchen towel, and pat dry. Transfer to a large kitchen bowl, then add the green onions and cranberries.
  3. Make the dressing: In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar, pepper, salt, and 1 tablespoon honey. Taste and add a little more honey if additional sweetness is desired. Pour over the broccoli mixture, then toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with crumbled bacon and pepitas.
  • Can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance. Top with  bacon and pepitas just before serving. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, though the bacon will become somewhat soft.

Adapted from Taste of Home

// All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 (of 8)

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 130 Calories
  • Total Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 5mg
  • Sodium: 143mg
  • Carbohydrates: 14g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Protein: 5g

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

14 comments

  1. Is it weird that I love broccoli?! It’s always been one of my favorite vegetables. But it’s never looked better than in this salad… I love the different textures and colors! :D

  2. This sounds like a very nice salad.  I like the idea of a vinaigrette for it, and appreciate the fact that you don’t leave the broccoli raw – I just have never cared for raw broccoli.  It will be interesting to see if I could find reduced sugar dried cranberries.  

  3. I am adding this to my Whole30 list for January – a couple quick mods and I’m good to go!! Thanks babe, it’s gorgeous!

  4. hey girl – this looks amazing! Yummy!

    Rating: 5
  5. Looks so vibrant, Cranberries in a salad like this works so much better than putting it on a turkey. Nice work (:

    Rating: 5
  6. This was fabulous! Served this to my entire family for our Christmas get together today and it was a true hit. I think I could drink this dressing. First time I’ve ever tried rice vinegar — you are really expanding my horizons — and we all enjoyed this beautiful salad. Had just a bit left and I will be enjoying it tomorrow! Thanks for sharing such wonderful, beautiful and tasty recipes!

    • YAY!!! I’m so happy to hear that Tami Thank you so much for trying this recipe and not being afraid to go for the rice vinegar. I love that you went for something new. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

  7. Can you use fresh cranberries and Truvia?  How long would you have to cook them?

    • Hi! I haven’t tried either of these substitutions, so both would be an experiment. The fresh cranberries wouldn’t need to be cooked, but you should be aware that they will have a very tart taste compared to the dried. I would recommend sticking with the maple vs. Truvia for the dressing. In addition to sweetness, it also adds a nice flavor to the recipe that Truvia alone would not. If you decide to make the recipe, I would love to hear how it turns out!

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