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Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad, Thanksgiving or Tailgate Side. I simply couldn’t help myself thinking about it, for although many folks across this country shall don their tables for the big roasted turkey with stuffing set upon tablecloths with fine china, crystal, and shiny polished silverware, still, there are plenty of others, including those in warm weather states, whose celebratory gatherings on Thanksgiving Day features football, perhaps even with a fried or smoked turkey at a big ole tailgate.


Certainly festive enough for any occasion, I prepared this Broccoli Salad for Christmas Dinner at my sister-in-laws last year and it went over well, warming the bacon dressing just a bit and tossing throughout around fifteen minutes before serving which might also then be easily transferred to the Tailgate table, including the added convenience of advance preparation. One of the guests last year had inquired for the recipe which I had been certain to post shortly afterward, but the photo didn’t quite turn out as I had wanted and then as in any Post, once the photo is done… the field kick is over… until next time… which is sometimes not until something like the next preseason when I go into my incomplete file on the drafts screen.


One of the clinchers with this Broccoli Salad is that it has bacon. And bacon grease.


Come on now, just like any game, one should always know what the competition is doing, and, bacon, well bacon is bacon, and it sure seems to be popular in the Tailgate scene, including when used liberally.


Now you don’t think I was going to make a big Broccoli Salad with only 5 pieces of bacon did you? Actually I used a total of 12 slices of bacon for this salad plus bacon grease, but getting back to  photography, 5 just fit on the plate nicer.


And then it has cheese. Bacon. Bacon Grease. Cheese.


Resuming to the healthy: fruit plus vegetables. Tackle that. Broccoli, Cheddar, Bacon, Dried Cranberries Salad, perfect for a Thanksgiving side, or, your Tailgate Table. Either way may your blessings be many and your food be abundant. Happy Thanksgiving.

Broccoli Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Category: Veggies, Tailgating/Team Family

Cuisine: American Homestyle

Servings: 12

Broccoli Salad


  • 9 cups broccoli, approximately 3-4 large sized crowns
  • 1 medium sized red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 1/4 cups dried cranberries
  • 2 1/4 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 12 strips crisp cooked bacon, chopped, grease reserved
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 plus 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • couple pinches coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste


  1. Preparing the Broccoli:
  2. Cut broccoli into small florets and drop into a large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook five to six minutes until broccoli is just tender through, drain, refresh in ice water to stop from further cooking, drain again, let dry.
  3. Preparing the Bacon:
  4. Cook bacon in batches, transfer crisped strips to paper toweling. After each batch use a spatula to scrape bacon grease into a small bowl. Chop cooled bacon
  5. Preparing the Dressing: Return reserved bacon grease to cooking pan on medium low heat, once warm, add in sugar and white vinegar, stir to blend, cook until sugar has dissolved, taste, check to add a bit more sugar or vinegar if desired. Turn off heat.
  6. Assembling the Broccoli Salad:
  7. Tumble broccoli into a large serving bowl, stir in onions, dried cranberries, and chopped bacon,
  8. add in the cheese, stir, pour in dressing one third at a time gently folding throughout, using just enough to fully coat the mixture. Sprinkle in salt, stir, check seasoning, adjust to taste
  9. If serving the following day, combine all ingredients except the cheese and the dressing, cover and refrigerate until one hour before serving. Heat dressing in microwave around 35 seconds until barely warmed. Blend cheese through broccoli salad, pour in dressing one-third at a time stirring throughout and using just enough dressing to fully coat the mixture, sprinkle in salt, stir, check seasoning, adjust to taste.


Recipe serving size is designed for large group parties, buffets and to the tailgate table, recipe may be halved. Amount serves 18 at a holiday meal, alongside turkey, assorted trimmings and side dishes.

Perfect for Tailgating too!


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  1. Posted November 21, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    This salad has everything! I can see it translating well to any occasion. And I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one with an incomplete file of blog posts. 🙂
    Teresa recently posted…Holiday Cookbook Reviews – How to Bake EverythingMy Profile

    • Posted November 26, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Hi Teresa, Thanks much. This salad is perfect for translating into any occasion! The frustrating part on the incomplete file of blog posts is sometimes having prepared and completed a recipe only to not have a good photo, or preparing something that never got photographed having been eaten all up too quickly. Lots of those. Sigh, it is good to know that there are others in common situations! Love your Dorie’s Cookies!

  2. Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    This salad is great, Peggy. Even my anti-broccoli husband will like this; bacon goes with just about everything. Pinning this. I know what you mean about unfinished posts. My draft folder is horrifying; but then again, I’m grateful for the ideas.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friend. Hugs!
    Kelly recently posted…Sunday Inspiration #20My Profile

    • Posted November 26, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Hi Kelly! Thanks so much, this salad is such a perfect make-ahead while being tasty and colorful too. LOL on the Drafts, we’ve that in common. Hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. mary hirsch
    Posted November 27, 2016 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Just had some time to scroll through recipes and this one caught my eye. Different, festive (the red!!!) plus I like the “can be made ahead”. I am thinking this would just be great to pull together to have with ham or turkey sandwiches after the Christmas holidays. Or, now. (I’ve got some turkey in the fridge that has my name on it.) Nice recipe, Peggy.

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Thanks Mary. I’ve been thinking about you and hoping that all is improving and well on your end. Sending Big Hugs and Love your way!

  4. Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    I eat a lot of broccoli so this looks amazing to me. I can’t understand how some people hate broccoli.

    Hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving!
    Phil recently posted…Fit at 50 – A Regular Guy’s Journey Back to Health and Fitness.My Profile

    • Posted December 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Hi Phil this salad is really tasty. I like being able to make it ahead, not requiring heating either when there are many other side dishes to be coordinated at large group gatherings. I’m not sure about the bacon component for you any longer, although you might still like to splurge now and again. We had a nice Thanksgiving. Enjoy the Holiday Season!

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.