The crunchiest, smokiest, most flavorful broccoli salad is here!
It’s a new day and I am here for this broccoli crunch salad like I’ve never been before.
Just looking at this photo makes my mouth water, because it’s once of those salads that you can stop eating! You can’t stop going back to the bowl for all the crunchy little bites. The flavor crumbs, if you will.
Guys. This broccoli salad really doesn’t look like much but I promise that it is… much. It’s simple but insanely flavorful. It’s definitely going to be one of my salads of the summer!
I think it’s safe to say that I have almost turned the corner on vegetables. There are times when I actually crave roasted or grilled vegetables. If you had told me this 10 (even 5?) years ago, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. But frankly, forcing myself (I have no other word?) to eat vegetables daily for the last few years has been a game changer.
Now, don’t get me completely wrong. I never want to eat vegetables over pizza. Or brownies. Or a grilled cheese. Never. At least not at this point.
But I have conditioned myself enough to know that during the week, I want to try to get in as many veggies as I can. I make all sorts of delicious meals for weeknights but I always make sure they are accompanied by vegetables.
Some weeks, this means that I make the same roasted vegetable multiple times in a row. You won’t find me near raw vegetables yet. But I do enjoy eating roasted or grilled broccoli, asparagus, kale, brussels sprouts, peppers and so on.
I still can’t believe it.
This is a HUGE leap from when I first started the blog, because I just straight up HATED veggies.
I can attribute a lot of this fairly newfound love to blogging, and creating lots of different recipes. Using trial and error to find things I love (can’t imagine ever loving celery… EVER) and cook foods in new and exciting ways.
For years, I’ve seen that raw broccoli, mayo-based salad at parties and cookouts in the summer. I have no idea what goes into it (except maybe cheese?) because I couldn’t imagine ever taking a scoop for myself. But when I started to enjoy broccoli, I thought that MAYBE I would like a broccoli salad that isn’t full of those exact components.
Of course, the florets would have to be roasted (or in this case, grilled, hello!), the dressing would have to be more of a vinaigrette, I’d love to do bacon and maybe even cheese.
As it turns out, I even had some grated white cheddar to go in here but once I had the other ingredients mixed, I felt like it didn’t need the cheese. In fact, I thought the cheese might change the flavor too much.
Really, where has the real Jessica gone?
I love how crunchy this is. How flavorful. It’s smoky, a little bit sweet and tangy from the honey mustard vinaigrette.
YES. The honey mustard vinaigrette that you will want to drink. It comes from my honey mustard chicken chopped salad!
The broccoli salad holds up well. You can stick it in the fridge and eat it the next day (I’ve done this approximately 15 times now, you know). You can assemble it ahead of time when serving to guests – but I would wait to dress it until right before.
If you don’t want to grill the broccoli, you can roast it. If you love raw broccoli, use raw florets! There are so many ways that you can make this salad your own. You can add some dried fruit, like cherries or cranberries. Or you can add cheddar or feta or another cheese you love. You can just eat a big bowl of broccoli and bacon!
Really. It’s perfection.
Grilled Broccoli Salad
Yield: 4 people
My favorite broccoli salad is here! This broccoli crunch salad is full of grilled broccoli, sliced almonds, diced scallions and crunchy bacon. It’s so good!
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 to 2 heads of broccoli, you want 4 to 5 cups broccoli florets
- olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 large shallot, diced (about ¼ to 1/3 cup, or add as much as you like!)
- ½ cup toasted, sliced almonds
honey mustard vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add the chopped bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is golden and crunchy and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain and excess grease.
Preheat the grill to medium heat.
To grill the broccoli, slice it top down into thick pieces. I spray mine with an olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the grill has been hot for 10 to 15 minutes, place the broccoli pieces on the grill. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until it’s charred and golden. Remove the broccoli and let it cool slightly, then chop it into pieces.
You can also use florets and a grill pan or basket, follow the same steps above. Grill it for 6 to 8 minutes, shaking the pan and tossing the broccoli occasionally. Let it cool slightly before using.
As a third option, you can roast the broccoli at 400 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. Or you can use the broccoli raw!
Once the broccoli has been chopped (I prefer smaller pieces, but chop it into a size you enjoy), place it in a large bowl. Add in the bacon, diced shallot and almonds. Toss the mixture together.
Drizzle on half of the dressing and toss the salad well. At this point, you can determine how much more dressing you want to add. You can also add a sprinkle of salt and pepper here if the salad needs that.
Serve immediately! Leftovers store pretty well in the fridge (I love them myself, but wouldn’t necessarily serve it this way to friends), but I would not make this a day or night ahead for a party. I would assemble the ingredients the morning of and add the dressing on right before serving.
honey mustard vinaigrette
In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Continue to whisk while streaming in the olive oil. This dressing stays great in the fridge in a sealed container for a week or so.
Looks like nothing. Tastes like everything.