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 table in a way that still feels decadent and tastes delicious.
This healthy 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 (the recipe contains no mayo; also bacon is pretty nice), and the festive red-and-green colors make it fit for a holiday spread.
My aunt’s original broccoli salad recipe called for a creamy mayo-based dressing, but I opted for a lighter vinaigrette-style dressing instead.
The the salad nice and crunchy (I find that creamy-style dressings tend to make the broccoli salad become mushy as it sits), and a broccoli cranberry salad without mayo is better for you too.
Even if the broccoli cranberry salad nutrition isn’t a concern for you, this dish 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.
5 Star Review
“This was fabulous! Served this to my entire family for our Christmas get together, and it was a true hit. I think I could drink this dressing.”— Tami —
How to Make Broccoli Cranberry Salad
When your spread cries out for something green, this healthy broccoli cranberry salad is the perfect choice.
With its crisp pizzaz and interesting blend of ingredients, it tastes like anything but an afterthought.
- Broccoli. While other recipes may ask you to steam broccoli for broccoli salad, a quick blanch is all that’s needed here. The broccoli develops the ideal crisp-tender texture.
- Bacon. The salad addition that takes this broccoli salad from good to YUM!
I love to use my method for Oven Baked Bacon to ensure I get the crispiest and most delicious bacon every single time.
- Cranberries. Colorful and scrumptious little jewels of sweetness.
- Green Onions. For freshness and bite.
- Dressing. Instead of a broccoli cranberry salad with Greek yogurt or mayo, this version uses a light, vinaigrette-style dressing. A little olive oil, rice vinegar, black pepper, salt, and honey come together to create a truly tasty dressing for this salad.
- Pepitas. For a little added crunch. You could also make this broccoli cranberry salad with almonds or walnuts.
- Cook and crumble the bacon. Blanch the broccoli then add it to a large bowl with the cranberries and green onions.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture, tossing to coat. Top with bacon and pepitas just before serving. ENJOY!
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for 2 to 3 days. The bacon will become somewhat soft, but it will still taste delicious.
Meal Plan Tip
The salad can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance. Top with bacon and pepitas just before serving.
Recommended Tools to Make Broccoli Cranberry Salad
- Small Whisk. The smaller size is perfect.
- Measuring Spoons. These are two-sided, meaning fewer dishes to wash.
- Dutch Oven. Perfect for blanching the broccoli.
Broccoli Cranberry Salad
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon cooked
- 8 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets about 1 pound
- 5 small green onions (or 3 large) white and green parts, thinly sliced
- ½ cup reduced-sugar dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup toasted pepitas pumpkin seeds
- If necessary, cook the bacon according to these easy steps. Once cool, crumble and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance. Top with bacon and pepitas just before serving.
- TO STORE: Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, though the bacon will become somewhat soft.
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