I have been making this delicious broccoli salad without bacon for some time and it is easily one of my favourite recipes. It works especially well as a bright and fresh side dish with otherwise heavy mains — such as beef stew or braised lamb shanks — and it is also great alongside other salads, such as watermelon salad or Georgian salad. The thing that is great about this broccoli salad recipe, as well, is that it keeps getting better the longer it sits in the fridge, so it is excellent if you’re into meal prepping.
This salad is simple and delicious and even uses the entire head of broccoli instead of simply the florets, so you can be conscious of food waste. It also doesn’t use ingredients like raisins or bacon and can be adapted to be fully vegetarian, if that’s what you’re looking for.
So if you’re after a great vegetable side dish that can be made well in advance, then make this easy broccoli salad without bacon. It’s sure to quickly become one of your favourites.
How to Make Broccoli Salad without Bacon
The first step in making this broccoli salad without raisins or bacon is to make the dressing. The dressing I use is warm vinaigrette that is really simple to make and super delicious. Making a warm vinaigrette allows for more flavours to bloom and become more robust and complex.
So to being, add your oil to a small saucepan. Grate in a clove of garlic, add some garam masala (you can sub this for something like curry powder or even another warm spice blend that you like), salt, pepper and an anchovy fillet.
If you want to make this vegetarian, you can omit the anchovy but I would recommend increasing the salt or adding another element to boost umami – a splash of soy sauce to the vinegar would work, as would a pinch of MSG.
Set the saucepan over low heat and gently warm the oil until the content start to sizzle and the anchovy fillet is dissolving. It will also become very fragrant. Don’t walk away from this as it can burn very quickly if left unattended. This step shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Turn off the heat and set it aside.
Now, in a large jar combine your vinegar, a bit of maple syrup and some dijon mustard. This would be a good time to add a splash of soy sauce if you’re not using the anchovy fillet, too. Pour the oil mixture over the vinegar mixture and secure the jar tightly with a lid.
Shake the jar vigorously until the dressing is emulsified and homogenous and then set aside. This dressing is easy, but a little different to the technique I use in my kale and butternut squash salad!
This vinaigrette has a higher vinegar-to-oil ratio than many standard vinaigrettes, but it is for good reason. As the dressing sits on the salad, the flavours can dull a bit as it absorbs. So I find it’s better to make it more acidic. It’s the same technique used in my French potato salad recipe.
Next, it’s time to prep your salad. We’ll start with cutting up the broccoli. To make this as easy to eat as possible, I like to cut the broccoli as small as possible.
Carefully remove the florets from a large head of broccoli and cut them into small pieces. Then, using a vegetable peeler, peel the tough outer layer from the stem and chop the stem into very small pieces, as well. Add all of the broccoli to a bowl.
Now, add some pomegranate seeds to the broccoli. If you don’t want to break up a whole pomegranate, go ahead and simply buy the seeds.
If you are opening a pomegranate, I find it easiest to slice the stem flower side first. Then, I make four or five deep incisions around the pomegranate and then pull it apart. The seeds fall out easiest using this method, in my experience.
Next, peel and finely slice a small shallot and add it to the bowl. A red onion would work well here, too, if you don’t have shallots. Scallions would also be a good substitute.
Then, finely chop a lot of fresh cilantro and add to the bowl. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like cilantro, parsley would work well here, as would mint. Fresh herbs really do add a great dimension to this broccoli salad recipe without bacon.
The final bit of the prep is to chop some balanced hazelnuts. You don’t need to finely chop them, but give them a rough chop, again, so the salad is easier to eat.
If you don’t have hazelnuts on hand, you can go ahead and use almonds or even pecans or walnuts. I would just make sure that they are unsalted and salted nuts can make the salad a bit too…salty. I find it is better to be in control of how much salt I add to my food so always go for low-sodium or unsalted additions and season as you go!
Add your chopped nuts to the bowl with the broccoli and then pour your salad dressing over it. Stir until it is thoroughly combined and make sure to adjust for seasoning, adding a bit more salt and pepper if needed.
Now, cover the salad and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving and, preferably, overnight. The salad actually stays crisp and flavourful for a number of days in the fridge and I think it just keeps tasting better, so it’s a fantastic dish to make ahead of time!
- 60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
- 2tsp garam masala
- 1/4tsp chili flakes
- 1 clove garlic, grated or very finely minced
- 1 oil-packed anchovy fillet (optional)
- 60ml (1/4 cup) apple cider vinegar
- 1/2tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets and stem peeled and diced
- 50g pomegranate seeds, from about 1 pomegranate
- 1 small shallot, sliced thin
- 50g blanched hazelnuts, chopped
- 20g fresh cilantro, chopped
- In a small saucepan, add oil, garam masala, chili flakes, garlic and anchovy. Set over low heat and heat until the oil begins to sizzle, the anchovy fillet has dissolved and the mixture is very fragrant.
- In a large jar, combine vinegar, dijon mustard and maple syrup. Pour oil mixture over the vinegar mixture and shake the jar vigorously until everything is well combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine broccoli, pomegranate seeds, shallot, hazelnuts and cilantro. Mix until well combined.
- Pour vinaigrette over the broccoli mixture and stir until well combined. Cover or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 123mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 6g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
And that is all there is to making broccoli salad without bacon! This recipe is quick and flavourful and is one of the best side dishes to incorporate into your meal-planning schedule!
Are you looking to make a broccoli salad without raisins or bacon? Have any questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments!