Broccoli and cauliflower salad with a sweet and tangy, creamy mayo dressing and topped with bacon bits, roasted almonds, dried cherries, cheddar cheese and crunchy croutons.
This broccoli and cauliflower salad recipe is a classic and never fails to impress. The sweet and tangy, creamy mayo dressing is a real treat. It makes eating fresh cauliflower and broccoli so enjoyable that even kids ask for seconds. But this salad gets even better – there are crispy bacon bits, roasted almonds, dried cherries, cheddar cheese and crunchy croutons in it to make it even tastier. This delicious salad is perfect for potlucks, parties, family gatherings and just regular lunches and dinners.
Broccoli and cauliflower salad is traditionally made with sunflower seeds, cheddar cheese, and bacon. Dried cranberries are sometimes added as well. If you want to take this salad to the next level, substitute dried cranberries for dried cherries. They are bigger, meatier and have a more pronounced tangy taste – a perfect complement to this salad.
I also like adding roasted almonds to it and croutons. Roasted almonds add much more flavor and crunch compared to sunflower seeds. And croutons… croutons are a must for any salad with a creamy dressing. Broccoli and cauliflower salad is no exception.
Do I need to cook broccoli and cauliflower?
Absolutely not! You want the vegetables raw. They add a great crunchy texture that contrasts the creamy dressing. Broccoli and cauliflower don’t taste good raw on their own, but the dressing in this salad changes that completely.
Steps to make broccoli and cauliflower salad
- Cook bacon slices, cool on paper towels and chop.
- Rinse broccoli and cauliflower and cut into bite size pieces.
- Slice the onion and shred some cheddar cheese.
- Prepare the dressing by combining mayo, vinegar and sugar.
- Toss the ingredients together and enjoy the salad.
Can this salad be made ahead?
Absolutely! This salad can be prepared for up to 2-3 days in advance. For best results, keep the vegetables, bacon bits, and the dressing refrigerated and in separate containers. Roasted nuts and croutons should be kept in an air tight container or a Ziploc bag at room temperature. Then mix the ingredients together just before serving.
How to store leftovers?
Leftover salad will last for up to 2 days in the fridge after which the taste will degrade quickly. The nuts and croutons will get soggy but you can add some fresh ones to the salad to get the crunch.
- If you like, substitute dried cherries for dried cranberries, or chopped dried apricots. Dried apricots are fantastic for this salad.
- You may use roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or pine nuts in place of roasted almonds.
- Aged sharp cheddar adds more flavor but you can easily substitute it for mild cheddar or even skip it. Many broccoli and cauliflower salad recipes don’t add cheese. Another option is to use crumbled feta or blue cheese if you like them.
- Use olive oil mayonnaise as a healthier option that includes mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
- In place of red onion you can use sweet Spanish onion.
- For a gluten-free version, skip the croutons.
Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad Recipe
- 1/2 head of broccoli
- 1/2 head of cauliflower
- 4 bacon slices
- 1/4 red onion (sliced thin)
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup almonds (roasted and sliced or chopped)
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1/2 cup croutons
- 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
For the dressing
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp white sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
- Heat a large skillet and fry bacon slices until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and let cool down. Blot off excess grease then crumble into pieces.
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and soak broccoli and cauliflower heads for a few minutes. Transfer to a colander and rinse again under a stream of cold water.
- Separate the broccoli and cauliflower into bite size florets. Cut the tender part of the stalks into thin slices.
- Combine the dressing ingredients and mix with the broccoli, cauliflower, onion, parsley, cheddar and dried cherries.
- Toss with the bacon, roasted almonds and croutons just before serving.
I loved this salad. I briefly blanched the vegetables and used a 50/50 mayo and Greek yogurt mix for dressing. Delicious!!!
Awesome! I like the mayo/Greek yogurt idea. I sometimes use mayo and sour cream, it’s also very good.