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Creamy Broccoli Walnut Salad

Creamy Broccoli Walnut Salad is one of those recipes where you can easily swap out ingredients to your liking and it still tastes great. The creamy dressing pulls all the ingredients together.

This Creamy Broccoli Walnut Salad has something to please every one of your tastebuds. Crunchy, creamy, slightly sweet but also tangy, and a little salty—this salad is also packed with nutrition. It’s hearty enough to serve as a main dish, but also makes a delicious side.

Take this colorful salad to a summer gathering and watch everyone clamor for more. It’s easy to put together because there’s no cooking! A little chopping, a little sprinkling, a little mixing, and you’re done. You can even make the dressing up to two days ahead. This broccoli salad is a cinch!

Similar types of salads rely heavily on mayonnaise for the dressing. This one adds just a touch of mayo to your choice of sour cream or plain yogurt, which lightens up both the oiliness and fat content. Sour cream or yogurt, plus the apple cider vinegar, add tanginess to the dressing that plays off the bit of sweet honey.

Creamy Broccoli Walnut Salad is versatile in other ways. For example, it calls for bacon which adds smoky saltiness and protein. Vegetarians can omit the bacon and the salad won’t suffer, but to achieve a similar flavor, roast mushrooms sprinkled with smoky paprika and add them on top. You can also switch out the walnuts and sunflower seeds for nuts and seeds of your choice.

However you make it, the combination of creamy and crunchy will put this broccoli salad on your regular recipe rotation.

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Creamy Broccoli Walnut Salad

Creamy Broccoli Walnut Salad

Broccoli is the star of this summery salad, but the supporting characters play important—and delicious—roles. Nuts, seeds, bacon, and cheese provide savory flavors complemented by a creamy, tangy, slightly sweet dressing. Serve this salad as a main dish or a hearty side. Omit the bacon to make it vegetarian. Then get ready for compliments!

  • Author: Norann Oleson
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Salads & Dressings

Ingredients

Scale
  • For the salad:
    • 5 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 6 cups (about 12 ounces) broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) coarsely shredded white cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 small red onion (about 2 ounces), thinly sliced
    • 1/3 cup (a generous 1 ounce) chopped walnuts, plus more for optional garnish
    • 1/4 cup (a generous 1 ounce) raw sunflower seeds
  • For the dressing:
    • 3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons honey
    • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon fine black pepper, plus more to taste

Instructions

  1. Line a plate with a paper towel and place it near the stove. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the prepared plate. Discard the bacon fat or save it for another use.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together half of the bacon and the broccoli, cheese, onion, walnuts, and sunflower seeds to combine.
  3. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream or yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper until well combined.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Sprinkle the rest of the bacon on top, with more walnuts, if desired. Let the salad stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • You can make the dressing up to two days ahead. Leftover dressed salad will last two days in the fridge. You can also serve the dressing on the side.

Have you tried this recipe? It’s a great main or side dish with plenty of flavor—please tell us how it turned out for you.

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