Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad Recipe
Broccoli and cauliflower salad is beautiful, colorful, and crunchy. The flavors are a great marriage of slightly sweet, creamy, and a little salty, thanks to the bacon and pepitas that nestle between the bits of fresh vegetables, savory red onion, and sweet, crisp red grapes.
Bring this salad to the next picnic, cookout, or potluck, and you will go home with an empty bowl! If you are lucky enough to have some leftover, it tastes just as good the next day! People who turn up their noses at cruciferous vegetables will discover that they taste pretty great.
The Three Best Ingredients In This Salad Are Bacon Bacon And Bacon
Just kidding, there’s not THAT much bacon in this recipe, but it adds a ton of flavor! I am a thrifty shopper, but I don’t skimp on the bacon. Choose a good quality, lean, meaty bacon. My favorite is Hormel Black Label regular cut. It is amazing bacon, but they don’t pay me to tell you!
Here’s how I like to do bacon. It’s the simplest way I know to keep it flat, crisp, and cook unattended. There’s no fighting to keep it flat and no turning!
So, I’m going to digress here and show you how easy it is to do bacon in the oven. It’s a trick I learned when I worked in food service at a University where we made mountains of bacon for the students. We prepared it all the night before, so we were ready for the crowd at breakfast time!
Hint: Ice cold bacon from the fridge can be a beast to separate without tearing. Either set it out for a little while so it can soften or run it under the faucet with cool water. This step seems to minimize shrinkage, too, for some reason! Sliding a rubber spatula under each slice as you go will also make it easier.
Now lay it in a single layer on a rimmed baking pan lined with parchment paper and pop it in a 425-degree oven for about 15 minutes. You won’t need to turn it or do anything to keep it from curling!
Me? I like my bacon to stand at attention (but never burnt!). Keep an eye on it after 10 minutes because the baking time can vary depending on the thickness and sugar content of the bacon and your desired level of crispness.
You can use a lower oven temp if you have other things to bake. I have even done this at 350 degrees; it just takes a bit longer.
Now drain it on paper towels. Save all the bacon drippings for cooking; it adds so much flavor! Make some extra and keep the cooked bacon in the fridge. Zap it for a few seconds in the microwave for BLTs or bacon cheeseburgers in a flash!!
For this recipe, use eight slices (about one-half pound) and cut them into pieces between one-half and one inch long while they’re still warm. Set them aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.
I have seen broccoli and cauliflower salad recipes that tell you to use one bunch of broccoli or one head of cauliflower, but that always seemed vague to me. How big a bunch? How big a head? I suggest two cups each of cauliflower and broccoli florets.
Cut the pieces pretty small, about the size of the grapes. This way, you get a little bit of everything in each bite, and the pieces are not awkwardly too big for eating politely. 😉
Finally, add some chopped red onion for that extra special layer of flavor and color! It’s a dealmaker!
Now Whisk Up The Amazing Three Ingredient Dressing
One of the things I love about this salad is its simplicity. The dressing contains mayonnaise, sugar, and white vinegar. That’s it! Just sweet enough, just tart enough, and perfectly creamy! I always recommend full-fat, real mayonnaise for the best flavor. Like Julia Child wisely counseled, if you are cutting calories, eat smaller portions!
Add the bacon pieces and use a rubber spatula to combine the tasty ingredients with the dressing. Put this pretty salad into a serving bowl and lavish on the pepitas for garnish. I love using a simple glass bowl to serve this recipe because it is a treat for our eyes.
See how the ingredients cut into evenly sized pieces make each forkful a delightful combo?
Pepitas are a perfect garnish for this broccoli and cauliflower salad! They are the roasted seeds from specific hull-less pumpkin varieties. They are packed with flavor and a bit of salt and are extremely nutritious. Plus, pepitas are bigger and prettier than sunflower seeds (and much more fun to say!), so I think they are a super attractive addition!!
- 2 cups of fresh broccoli in small florets
- 2 cups of cauliflower in small florets
- 2 cups of crisp red grapes
- 1/2 cup of chopped red onion
- 1/2 pound good quality meaty bacon
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1/2 cup pepitas
- Fry or bake bacon until it is crisp (there are directions for making it in the oven in the post) Cut it into one-half-inch to one-inch pieces.
- Whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar and set aside.
- Cut cauliflower and broccoli into small florets about the size of the grapes.
- Combine broccoli, cauliflower, grapes, and bacon.
- Pour dressing over the mixture and stir well to distribute the dressing.
- Garnish with pepitas.
Summer is such a great time to experiment with salad recipes! Some of our favorite salad recipes are Sweet Corn Salad, Pasta Salad With Coleslaw, and Sauerkraut Salad. What are some of your favorite salads?
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