Kitchn Love Letters

The Easy Make-Ahead Broccoli Salad I Make for Everything During Summer

published 3 days ago
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bacon broccoli salad in a serving bowl
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

My family eats broccoli at least twice a week. Sometimes I’ll toss it into a creamy pasta or throw it on the grill, but most often I roast it. I love the super-caramelized bits (the key is to throw the sheet pan in the oven while it’s preheating!), and it truly doesn’t get any easier. As it starts to get warmer and turning on the oven can make my little kitchen feel like you’re in Death Valley, I shift gears to broccoli salad. 

Our broccoli bacon salad recipe was exceptionally popular last Labor Day weekend, which makes sense. It’s the perfect make-ahead salad for a potluck. But we’re more than a week out from Memorial Day weekend, and I’m already making it on repeat. I’ll absolutely bring it to summer cookouts in the coming months, but in the meantime it doubles as a weeknight dinner side and top-notch WFH lunch. 

Get the recipe: Broccoli Bacon Salad

What Makes This Broccoli Recipe So Good?

I’m not usually a fan of raw broccoli. I will always ignore it on a crudité platter, and unless it’s chopped really small, I don’t love it in leafy salads or grain bowls. But dress it up with a bacon fat dressing (I repeat: bacon fat dressing!) and it’s an entirely different story. The roughly chopped broccoli florets also get tossed with lemon juice and lemon zest, which acts as a nice contrast to all the creaminess going on in the dressing. 

Why This Recipe Works

Lots of broccoli salads have a rich mayo dressing, but this one is special, and not just because of the smokiness the bacon fat lends. There’s also Greek yogurt for tang, sugar for a touch of sweetness, and rice vinegar for a delicate acidity. It’s a combo that would make anything taste amazing. 

There are also layers upon layers of crunch — roughly chopped broccoli, crispy bacon, finely chopped red onion, toasted sesame seeds, and sliced almonds. Each element is able to stand up to the creamy dressing, and it’ll taste just as incredible on day three as it did the day you made it. The broccoli does soften slightly overnight (I prefer it this way), but the flavors only get more delicious as it sits. 

Get the recipe: Broccoli Bacon Salad