This is by far one of my favourite salads. I could literally eat a bowl of this and not feel a pang of guilt. Oh, and by the way, this salad is equally as nice without the bacon, so it can be vegetarian friendly too…just saying 🙂 .
Raw broccoli never excited me up until these last few years. It was this very recipe that changed my perception of raw broccoli.
We were at a braai (barbecue) and a friend of a friend had made a Brocolli Salad. I think I fell in love that night with the salad …quite sad hey, but it happens. I got the basic recipe from her and have slightly adapted it with regards to ingredients and quantities. This recipe has become a family favourite. It is just one of those salads that I could never tire from. It is just perfect on its own with nothing else. It is THAT good !!! It is totally adaptable as well and can easily be increased for a bigger crowd, also if you want more crunch, you can add more toasted sunflower seeds, and basically just play with the flavours and quantities.
I make this salad with my Homemade Mayonnaise but using a store-bought mayo is equally as good and tasty. Although this is not a time-consuming salad, time can be cut down even further by toasting the sunflower seeds, prior to doing the salad and by storing them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. I am a sunflower seed freak and love them on my salads, or for a snack attack, so I permanently have a container of toasted sunflower seeds sitting in my refrigerator. Also, the bacon can be cooked until crispy and kept in the refrigerator until needed. If the seeds and bacon are cooked and stored before-hand, this salad can be made in the blink of an eyelid.
Broccoli Salad with Bacon
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Refrigeration time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 20 minutes
250 grams chopped bacon bits
150 grams sunflower seeds
1 head of fresh broccoli
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1- 2 tablespoons white vinegar (or white wine vinegar)*
1 tablespoon sugar (I used brown sugar)
Cook bacon bits until crisp and set aside.
Toast sunflower seeds, by using a small pan on top of the stove on medium heat. Do not use any oil as the seeds have their own. Constantly keep turning and moving the seeds around in the pan, to prevent burning. Once done, set aside to cool.
Cut the broccoli florets into bite size pieces.
Chop and dice the onion into small pieces.
Combine the broccoli florets and the onion in a medium-sized bowl.
Then, in a separate small bowl, add the mayonnaise, vinegar and the sugar (this is where I use only half of the vinegar and half of the sugar, then I taste) and mix together with a tablespoon until it is of a smooth consistency and evenly combined. Taste again at this point, and if you feel you need a bit more vinegar or sugar, add a little extra).
Gradually and cautiously mix the mayonnaise mixture in with the broccoli and onion. The mixture must not be a mayonnaise, creamy, watery mess. It must rather be on the dry side, to play it safe, as remember, as this salad sits, natural juices will form. You may find you have too much mayonnaise for the broccoli (I usually always do), if so, don’t use the balance, rather set it aside and place it back in the fridge. Once you have the consistency correct, and you are happy, toss the mixture together thoroughly.
If possible at this point, place the salad in the refrigerator for at least two hours. This helps combine all the flavours together.
After two hours, or best just before serving, add the crisp bacon bits and the toasted sunflower seeds, just for some added crunch.
This salad is divine even a couple of days afterwards, so it is nice to know that this salad can be made in advance if necessary.
* Decrease the white vinegar to 1 tablespoon if the mayonnaise you use has vinegar in it. (I use my Homemade Mayo, where there is no vinegar, so feel it needs that extra)