Make ahead broccoli salad is an easy low carb recipe that is best for a crowd.  This healthy side dish has a creamy homemade dressing that compliments the fresh cold ingredients perfectly.  Serve this simple classic summer salad at your next dinner party.

Prep Time: 35 minutes
person holding a spoonful of broccoli salad
Salad, Veggie Side Dishes

Make Ahead Broccoli Salad

Looking for a delicious summer salad that will be devoured at your next backyard BBQ?  Try this make ahead broccoli salad.  It’s easy, savory and healthy.  Plus, your kids will be asking for seconds, so if you’re trying to get them to eat more broccoli, this recipe will be a life saver.

Maybe you’ve never eaten a broccoli salad and you’re curious about the typical ingredients.  Besides raw broccoli florets, most salads have onion–either red or sweet.  If you want a savory salad, bacon, cherry tomatoes, and cheese are added.  If you want a sweet salad, add fruit.  Raisins or dried cranberries are the most common, but dried tart cherries or green grapes would also be a good choice.  Nuts are also usually thrown in at the end to provide extra crunch and protein.  Almonds or pecans are popular, but if you have a nut allergy, use sunflower seeds.

person holding a bowl of broccoli salad

Once you’ve decided on your ingredients, you’ll need to prep your broccoli.  Have you ever wondered how to chop broccoli?  Yes, there is an easy chef method.  If you’re guilty of just hacking away at your head of broccoli, here are some chef tips to make it easier.

Chef Tips for Cutting Broccoli

  1. Remove any leaves.
  2. Cut off the bottom of the stem.
  3. Shave off the tough outer skin on the stalk with a sharp knife or veggie peeler.
  4. Cut the stalk from the head.
  5. Cut off florets.
  6. Slice large florets down the middle, then pull them apart.

bowl of broccoli salad with two spoons

Don’t throw the stalks away!  Here are some suggestions on how to cut them.  Use them in a broccoli slaw, soups, or stir fries.

4 Ways to Cut Broccoli Stalks

  1. Coins
  2. Julienne
  3. Spiralize
  4. Shred with a processor

Did you know broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables?  It’s high in Vitamin C, K, folate, and dietary fiber.  It’s helps fight cancer and reduce cholesterol, and is excellent for your eyes.  Knowing this, you’ll want to collect as many broccoli recipes as you can.

Looking for other mouthwatering summer salads to bring to a BBQ?  Your family and friends will love these ones!

homemade salad dressing with layered salad in a glass bowl person holding a white bowl of creamy coleslaw white bowl of cucumber salad on a wooden surface with pink roses

Tried this recipe?  We would love it if you would leave a review.

person holding a spoonful of broccoli salad

Make Ahead Broccoli Salad

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1/2 cups 1x


Make ahead broccoli salad is an easy low carb recipe that is best for a crowd.  This healthy side dish has a creamy homemade dressing that compliments the fresh cold ingredients perfectly.  Serve this simple classic summer salad at your next dinner party.



For the Salad

  • 1/2 cup bacon, crumbled (roughly 6 slices)
  • 1 pat butter
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 6 cups broccoli florets (roughly 3 heads)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup smoked Gouda, cubed
  • 1/3 cup sweet onion, finely chopped

For the Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar


Making the Dressing

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, sugar and vinegar.  Adjust the amounts of sugar or vinegar to taste.

Making the Salad

  1. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until done, turning once with a fork.  Drain on paper towels.  Let cool, then chop or tear into smaller pieces.  Set aside.
  2. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the sliced almonds, stirring frequently for a few minutes, until they are light brown.  Remove from heat and put into a bowl.
  3. Rinse the broccoli head and stems.  Remove any leaves, cut off the bottom of the stem, then peel it.  Cut the stalk from the head, and cut the head into florets.  To make florets smaller, cut a slice down the middle of the stem, then pull apart.
  4. Rinse and quarter the grape tomatoes.  Cube the cheese, and finely chop the onion.
  5. Mix the broccoli and onion together.
  6. Add the dressing to the veggies and toss to combine.  Add the most of the tomatoes, leaving some for garnish, then toss again.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour or overnight.  Place the small bowls of bacon, almonds, and cheese in the fridge until the salad is ready to serve.
  7. Just before serving, add the most of the bacon, almonds and cheese.  Stir to combine.
  8. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl, then sprinkle the remaining bacon, almonds, cheese and tomatoes as garnish.  Serve immediately.


  • If you are in a hurry, this salad can be served right away, but it’s traditionally served chilled.
  • It’s best to eat this salad within 24 hours of making it.
  • This recipe is a savory version.  If you want a sweet version increase the sugar and switch out the tomatoes for fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries, dried tart cherries, or green grapes.
  • This recipe uses raw broccoli for extra crunch, but you could also blanch the broccoli if you want it softer.
  • Don’t throw out the broccoli stalk; coin, julienne, or chop the stem and eat raw or cooked.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: broccoli salad, salad, recipe

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