Sweet and Salty Broccoli Salad


My mom’s version of this salad was a summer-time staple at picnics and potlucks. Unfortunately, it included shredded cheese and store-bought mayo along with the bacon, raisins, and pecans. We get to keep the bacon, which completely drowns out any disappointment about the cheese, right? Right!

Sweet and Salty Broccoli Salad from Well Fed 2

Serves 2-4 | Prep 15 minutes | Whole30 approved

  • 4 slices sugar-free bacon

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil Mayo

  • 1 pound fresh broccoli, broken into small florets

  • 1/4 medium red onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons raisins or dried cranberries

  • 2 tablespoons pecans, chopped

  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch wide pieces. Place the chopped bacon in a large, cold skillet, turn the heat to medium-high, and fry the bacon until it’s crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.


In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar and mayo until smooth. Add the broccoli, onion, raisins, and pecans. Toss with two wooden spoons to coat. Add the bacon and toss again. Taste, then add salt and pepper as needed.

Have trouble digesting raw broccoli? Blanch broccoli in boiling, salted water for about 3 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Bingo! Friendlier broccoli.

Got leftover broccoli? Ponder your ability to make a hat from the remaining broccoli stalks and crown yourself Queen Cruciferous.



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  • Anonymous says:

    I'm just curious – have your doctors ever said to avoid broccoli (and other veggies) due to goitrogens that are bad for the thyroid?

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    My doctor didn't tell me to, but I have read some stuff about it online. That's why I only eat cruciferous veggies if they've been cooked — hence the blanching instructions. I don't know personally if it makes a difference or not, but I'd rather take the extra step with cooking and then not worry about it.

  • Richard says:

    That sounds like a really great and easy recipe.

    Should have posted this sooner and I could have had a new halloween costume — King Kale sounds like a good fit for me.

  • Liz says:

    Thanks for the idea, I'll have to try blanching the broccoli. I had basically given up on it because it makes me ill nearly every single time.

  • morten_g says:

    The stalk is my very favorite part of broccoli! Cool to see that someone else thinks so too (it's just a *itch to peel).

    Looking forward to making this.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Richard –> OMG. King Kale would be an awesome Halloween costume… 2011!

    Liz –> You might want to blanch it even a little longer if broccoli traditionally gives you trouble — maybe 4 minutes.

    Morten –> Let me know how you like the salad. And I agree: the stalks are yummo!

  • DagneyTaggert says:

    Melissa- This is a wonderful recipe. Thank you for the post. I DETEST the flavor of broccoli, but I find creative ways to incorporate it into my food because of the high magnesium content, which my body likes.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    DagneyTaggert –> Let me know if you try it! I hope it cures your broccoli hate. 😉

  • Christie says:

    Morten – if you like the stalks of broccoli, than you've GOT to try "Broccoli Slaw"! I buy mine in a bag in the produce dept. It's basically just shredded broccoli stalks, carrots, and red cabbage – I stir fry some in some coconut oil and top w/ poached eggs almost every single morning for breakfast – YUM!

    Okay – sorry to hijack the comment Melissa!

    But THANK YOU for this awesome looking Broccoli Recipe! I'm going to add it to my Christmas Paleo Feast Menu 🙂

    Annnd. . .I'm REALLY looking forward to possibly meeting you next month at the W9 Seminar in Houston – I'm having all kinds of crazy thyroid issues myself, and reading some of your blog posts, I feel like "oh my God – this girl is inside my head. . .how did she get in my head??? . . freaky!" Maybe we can compare notes on anticdotal stuff we've each found and of course yummy Paleo Recipes! (For the time being, I think I'll follow your lead on the cruciferous veggie front. . . can't hurt to try, right?)

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Christie! I can't wait to meet you in Houston! And yes, we can definitely talk thyroid. Boo and yay!

    Hope you like the broccoli salad. The original called for sugar, too, but I think the raisins add enough sweetness for us clean eaters.

  • Anonymous says:

    They make this at the deli by my house but instead of raisins they use red grapes! Soooo good!

  • Christie says:

    Just an update – I made this as part of my Christmas Day Feast, and it was to die for! Definitely no need for added sugar – the rains did the trick 🙂

  • Brittany says:


    I made this salad last night, swapping out raisins for dried cranberries and pecans for walnuts. I also added a diced Anjou pear for a bit more sweetness – the red onion was a bit overpowering at first bite. Delicious!

    Thanks for your continually delicious recipes!

  • Mel says:

    Brittany –> Your mods sound really yummy. Nice options! And the pear was a stroke of genius!

  • sm says:

    I can’t have mayo (no egg). Any suggestions for a substitute?

    • Mel says:

      I would ditch the idea of creamy and go with a lemony vinaigrette:

      2 tablespoons lemon juice
      4 tablespoon extra-vigin olive oil
      1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
      salt & pepper

      Should be good!

  • Leslie says:

    Made this yesterday and it was yummy – thanks!!! I’m excited to make it again!

  • Bethany says:

    This recipe is genius. I normally don’t eat broccoli because it upsets my stomach, plus, I usually can’t find a way to cook it that I want to eat it. THIS however is so yummy! I’ve also found that taking digestive enzymes, along with blanching my broccoli helps with digestion.

  • Jamie says:

    Made this w/ sliced almonds instead of pecans because that’s what I had on hand, and I LOVED it! Great recipe! I’m definitely bringing this to my next pot luck!

  • Therese says:

    Yum! I made it with dried cranberries (sweetened, so not paleo, but I can’t bear to throw them out and haven’t found any takers for them yet) and sunflower seeds. Loved it. Also made it using your mayo, which I have had great success with, I usually make a double batch of it so I don’t have to make it every week.

  • Susan M. says:

    Made this today to bring to an afternoon Fall BBQ that consisted of filet mignon and HUGE dayboat scallops. I doubled the recipe and added apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and used salt pork instead of bacon since it was sugar-free and nitrate-free and I’m doing a Whole30 (got it from Whole Foods and it is sold as a thick slab so I just sliced into thin strips like bacon). I also used a whole bunch of shallots that I got from my CSA yesterday and really liked that they didn’t have as much “bite” as red onion does. I thought the raisins added just the right amount of sweetness which was a nice counter-balance to the salty and nutty flavors going on. I think next time I might try sunflower seeds (although I did really like the pecans) and might even add some of the fat from the salt pork and just a bit less mayo. SO good! It was a hit and I was the only Paleo eater there 🙂

  • Chris R says:

    Broccoli Salad is a Spring/Summer staple for me so I’m excited to make this using homemade mayo! I have everything except raisins, but I have a big batch of medjool dates I need to get through so I will probably chop those up instead. Thanks for reminding me that I can still enjoy one of my favorites!!

  • TryingPaleo says:

    Can anyone give my the nutritional info on this?? Pretty please?

  • Abby says:

    I’m cleaning out the fridge before we leave for vacation and this is a great way to eat up the broccoli. I’m NOT going to the store for more food so I swapped pecans for sunflower seeds and raisins for dates like the previous commenters. I also swapped bacon for prosciutto.
    I also soaked the onion in vinegar for a few minutes to take out the bite. It also keeps me from burping raw onion all afternoon.
    Now I’m excited for my lunch instead of feeling forced to eat odds and ends from the fridge. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I may be abusing this recipe! It’s great for a summer side and I’ve been making a batch every week. I’ve added some pumpkin seeds for variation. Thanks Mel!

  • Anna says:

    I have a secret love for broccoli salad, and this made my day, especially when prepared with fresh, homemade mayo. Yum!

  • Erin says:

    Oh my gosh, this is delicious! I did the blanching with the ice bath. I will try blanching only 2 minutes next time.