Broccoli Salad is one of those picnic sides you can grab at Walmart, but it’s so much better when you make it yourself. When the broccoli is fresh and tender and the bacon is fried crisp in a cast-iron skillet and added at the very last minute,  instead of being left to drown in a basin full of dressing until it goes bland and chewy, like bacon-flavored cud.

That’s a crime against bacon.

No, the magic of this salad is in the crazy clash of textures and sweet-and-salty flavors, and you want those added fresh. Not just the broccoli and the bacon, but the raisins, red onion, Cheddar cheese and sunflower seeds.

And the dressing.

It’s a really simple combo – just mayo, Greek yogurt, sugar and apple cider vinegar – but it’s nice to make it yourself, so you can decide on the amounts that are right for you. You might want to use only half the dressing, reduce (or leave out) the sugar or substitute low-fat mayo.

I like to chill the salad while I’m frying the bacon, so I can serve the cold salad with the hot crumbled bacon and crunchy sunflower seeds right on top. I know, lots of people hate on broccoli. They say they wouldn’t eat broccoli salad in a million years. But something about that bacon seems to cast a spell them, making even the worst broccoli-haters shut up and dig in.

Is there a better compliment? I don’t think so.

Broccoli Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Adapted from “Bless Your Heart” by Patsy Caldwell and Amy Lyles Wilson

Makes 10 servings

    Dressing (If you decide to omit the sugar, add salt and pepper):

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sugar (can be reduced or left out)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    Broccoli Salad:

  • 6 cups broccoli florets, washed, trimmed and dried well
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded 2% Cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices crisp-fried bacon, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  1. For the Dressing: Whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces, and toss it into a large bowl.
  3. Add the raisins, onion, and cheese.
  4. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture, and toss gently. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  5. To Serve: Sprinkle the broccoli salad with the crumbled bacon and sunflower seeds.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving) – calories: 150, fat: 8g, carbs: 15g, fiber: 2g, protein: 4g. (WW PP+ = 4)