Even people who don’t like vegetables call this Broccoli, Cauliflower and Bacon Salad recipe a “keeper!”
The males in my house would gladly live without ever eating vegetables, but they’ll ask for seconds and sometimes third servings of this Broccoli, Cauliflower and Bacon Salad recipe. That’s why I’m glad that it lasts for days in the fridge.
If you’re looking for an easy salad or vegetable side dish to go with grilled meats or your favorite sandwich, look no further. This one is full of crunchy creamy goodness in every bite. Plus, there’s bacon. Everything is better with bacon, isn’t it?
Broccoli, Cauliflower and Bacon Salad Recipe
A Tip to Aid Digestion
For some people, eating raw broccoli or cauliflower causes gas or stomach pains. That’s because they’re cruciferous vegetables which contain a hefty amount of fiber and raffinose — the same culprits that cause people problems after they eat beans.
Here’s the way to avoid stomach pain or gas after eating cruciferous vegetables: blanch them a bit. The cooking process helps begin breaking down the fiber and lowers the raffinose, so you can enjoy these foods without discomfort.
Optional Blanching Instructions
To blanch the vegetables in this Broccoli, Cauliflower and Bacon Salad Recipe:
- Bring a big pot of water to boil and add the broccoli.
- Wait 1 minute then add the cauliflower.
- After 2 more minutes, drain the vegetables and transfer them immediately to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Run them through a salad spinner, or pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel, before you continue with the recipe.
Blanching will also preserve the vegetables’ vibrant colors and keep them crisp even after you’ve added the dressing. Just be sure to watch the timer while you blanch; you don’t want to actually cook them.
Don’t Toss the Stems
Before we get to the recipe, here’s a trick to help you get the most out of a head of broccoli and cauliflower: use it all! After you’ve broken off the broccoli florets, peel the stem with your vegetable peeler and slice it up. Chop up the cauliflower core and use it, too.
If you don’t like the look of sliced stems and cores in your salad, consider using them in Cauliflower Fried Rice.
Want an Alternative to Mayo?
If you’re counting calories or fat, you can still enjoy this Broccoli, Cauliflower and Bacon Salad Recipe. Instead of using mayonnaise in the dressing, try your favorite Greek yogurt or even a combination of the two.
Try Using Stevia Instead of Sugar
If you’re not a fan of white sugar, using Stevia in its place works just fine. Depending on your tastes, you can even skip the sweetener altogether, but I think the dressing’s sweetness helps disguise the veggie taste that my guys ordinarily don’t like.
You can jazz up this recipe even more if you like. I sometimes add finely shredded cheddar and minced red onion, depending on what else we’re having at dinner. My mother-in-law loves to add sunflower seeds to hers. Another friend tosses in a handful of raisins.
One thing we all agree on: the bacon. But, hey, you don’t even have to add that if you don’t want to, though it’s the only way I can get my guys to eat their vegetables without whining.
Broccoli, Cauliflower and Bacon Salad
- 1 large head broccoli roughly 2 lbs
- 1 large head cauliflower roughly 2 lbs
- 6 pieces bacon cooked and crumbled
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- 1 teaspoon sugar to taste (can substitute Stevia or another sweetener)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese finely shredded
- 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds shelled
- 1/2 cup golden raisins or sultanas
- 1/4 cup red onion minced
- Break the broccoli and cauliflower heads into bite-sized florets. Peel the broccoli stems and slice it thinly. Chop the cauliflower core into bite-sized pieces.
If blanching (OPTIONAL STEP)
- Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath.
- Add sliced broccoli stems and cauliflower core to boiling water and cook 1 minute. Add broccoli florets and cook 1 minute. Add cauliflower stems and cook 1 minute. Drain the entire pot and transfer the contents to the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Remove vegetables from the ice bath after 2 minutes and dry them in a salad spinner or with a clean kitchen towel before continuing.
Make the dressing
- In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, milk, and sugar.
Make the salad
- Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. Add the dressing and crumbled bacon along with any optional toppings you’re using. Stir well.
- Chill 1 hour before serving for best flavor. Stir before serving. Keeps well in the refrigerator up to 5 days.