December 7, 2022

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Broccoli Cranberry Salad – Recipes From A Pantry

This flavorful Broccoli Cranberry Salad is the perfect side dish for holiday meals. Loaded with smoky bacon, sweet cranberries, and crunchy walnuts, this simple broccoli salad is perfect for making ahead of time.

Suitable for gluten-free diets. Post includes Weight Watchers points.

Post may contain affiliate links. For more information, check my disclosure

the completed broccoli cranberry salad recipe

The holiday season is known for indulgence, and veggies tend to take a back seat to gravy, bread, cream-laden recipes, and sweets. Luckily, this Broccoli Cranberry Salad is a healthy recipe that is chock full of delicious seasonal flavors

This broccoli salad recipe is not only simple to prepare; it’s full of goodness. The flavor combination of bacon, cheese, and cranberries makes it feel like a special treat, but it’s still loaded with freshness, vitamins, and minerals. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a heavy holiday meal. 

Moreover, broccoli cranberry bacon salad can be prepped in advance and doesn’t need to be reheated. This simple salad is your answer to a well-rounded Thanksgiving meal or Christmas dinner. Just like this gorgeous Christmas Fruit Salad and these easy Air Fryer Green Beans. #healthyholidayrecipes

top down view of the completed broccoli cranberry salad

Why Make This Recipe

  • Fresh and Flavorful – The dressing on this broccoli salad adds so much flavor to simple, fresh ingredients. 
  • Easy to Prepare – Prepare this broccoli side dish in just minutes and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.  
  • Colorful – The green of the broccoli and purplish red of the cranberries is a perfect compliment for Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving.  
  • Kid-Friendly – Kids are sometimes hesitant to eat their greens, but the addition of bacon, cheese, and cranberries makes this recipe enticing to even the pickiest eater. 

Ingredient Notes

For the Salad:

  • Broccoli – use fresh, raw broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Cheese – Diced or shredded gouda cheese or substitute your favorite cheese. 
  • Dried Cranberries – You can also substitute dried cherries, raisins, or golden raisins. 
  • Onion – Use diced red onion because it is sweet and works well in raw applications. 
  • Bacon – cooked and cut into pieces
  • Walnuts – chop in half or into bite-sized pieces. You can also use pecans. 

For the Dressing: 

  • Mayonnaise – Use your favorite brand of mayonnaise. Substitute light mayo if preferred. 
  • Sour Cream – Substitute low-fat sour cream if preferred. 
  • Garlic Powder  – If substituting garlic salt, omit the additional salt in their recipe. 
  • Salt – to taste.
  • Vinegar – White wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or even lemon juice adds a tanginess to the dressing. 
  • Honey – Optionally, add a bit of honey, maple syrup, or sugar for sweetness. 
a fork removing one bite of broccoli cranberry salad

Ready to make this festive and flavorful broccoli salad? Gather your ingredients and I will show you…

How To Make Broccoli Cranberry Bacon Salad

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  1. Bring a pot of water to boiling. 
  2. Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces, blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and transfer into a bowl of ice water for 3 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. 
  4. Pour the dressing over the broccoli. 
  5. Toss the broccoli in the dressing and let rest for 5 minutes for it to absorb the dressing.
  6. Add the cheese, cranberries, bacon, and walnuts, and mix well.
  7. Serve immediately or chill for a few hours before serving. 
image collage showing the steps for making broccoli cranberry salad

Expert Tips 

  • Use just the broccoli florets and omit the stalks.
  • Some broccoli salads call for broccoli to be steamed. Just a quick blanch is all that is needed for the broccoli. 
  • Combine the dressing in a separate small bowl. 
  • Taste the dressing for seasoning before adding it to the broccoli mixture, and adjust the seasoning as needed. 
  • This salad is a great recipe for your holiday table but can be enjoyed all year round. 
  • You can serve this salad right away but making it at least one hour in advance lets all the flavors bloom. 
  • If making ahead, add the crumbled bacon just before serving.
  • This broccoli cranberry salad should be served cold
  • This makes a great side dish for your weeknight dinner.  
dressing being poured onto the finished broccoli cranberry salad

Delicious Variations

  • Swap the Onions – Red onion is perfect for raw applications but you can use sweet onion, shallot, or green onions if preferred. 
  • Swap the Nuts – Use chopped pecans instead of walnuts if desired. 
  • Make it Sweeter – Add a bit of honey, maple syrup, or sugar to the dressing for a bit of added sweetness. 
  • Add More Crunch – Add pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds for even more crunchiness. 
  • Make It Tangy – Swap the gouda cheese for crumbled blue cheese for an extra tangy version of this salad. 
close up view of the finished broccoli cranberry salad ready to be served

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – Make this salad up to 24 hours in advance. Stir in the bacon just before serving. 
  • Store – Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container up to 3 days. 
  • Freeze – Freezing this recipe is not recommended. 
side view of a fork removing a portion of the broccoli cranberry salad

FAQs

Should I Use Fresh Broccoli for Broccoli Salad?

This recipe should be made using fresh broccoli that has been blanched. Frozen broccoli will be too wet and mushy. 

How Can I Make Broccoli Salad Healthier?

To make this salad healthier, swap the mayonnaise and sour cream for light or low-fat versions. You can also substitute it with plain greek yogurt. 

Can I Make This Broccoli Cranberry Bacon Salad In Advance?

This salad is perfect for making ahead! Prepare the salad up to 24 hours in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. For the best results, add the bacon just before serving. 

How Do I Blanche Broccoli?

Boil broccoli florets for 1-2 minutes until they turn bright green. Immediately plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. 

a fork being inserted into the broccoli cranberry salad

More Recipes You May Like

Serving Suggestions

Weight Watchers Points

There are 13 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

a bowl of broccoli cranberry salad on a place mat

Thank you for reading my broccoli cranberry bacon salad recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice, and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog. 

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the completed broccoli cranberry salad recipe

Print Recipe

Broccoli Cranberry Salad

Fresh broccoli is the star of this sweet and savory side dish.

Prep Time20 mins

Total Time20 mins

Course: Salad, Side Dish

Diet: Gluten Free

Servings: 8

Calories: 344kcal

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to boiling.

  • Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces, blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and transfer into a bowl of ice water for 3 minutes.

  • In a large bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

  • Pour the dressing over the broccoli.

  • Toss the broccoli in the dressing and let rest for 5 minutes for it to absorb the dressing.

  • Add the cheese, cranberries, bacon and walnuts and mix well.

  • Serve immediately or chill for a few hours before serving.

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Notes

  • Use just the broccoli florets and omit the stalks.
  • Some broccoli salads call for broccoli to be steamed. Just a quick blanch is all that is needed for the broccoli. 
  • Combine the dressing in a separate small bowl. 
  • Taste the dressing for seasoning before adding it to the broccoli mixture and adjust the seasoning as needed. 
  • This salad is a great recipe for your holiday table but can be enjoyed all year round. 
  • You can serve this salad right away but making it at least one hour in advance lets all the flavors bloom. 
  • If making ahead, add the crumbled bacon just before serving.
  • Serve cold. 
  • This makes a great side dish for your weeknight dinner. 
  • Storage – keep in an airtight container inside the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • There are 13 WW Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Nutrition

Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 492mg | Potassium: 327mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 627IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 261mg | Iron: 1mg