Quick, easy and seriously tasty, this grilled broccoli crunch salad is loaded with SO much flavour. It’s mixed with crispy bacon, dried cranberries, almonds, and sunflower seeds for maximum crunch, and then creamy blue cheese melts straight in to make a quick cheat’s dressing.
This is the type of salad that even a true salad hater will love. It’s PACKED with flavour and texture – quickly grilling the broccoli takes that raw edge off while still keeping it crunchy (and the charred bits add more flavour). Then it’s mixed with crispy bacon, crunchy toasted almonds and sunflower seeds, sweet dried cranberries, fresh spring onions and creamy blue cheese to make a salad that feels more addictive than most.
It also keeps really well, so it’s an excellent choice for meal prep, or for taking along to parties and barbecues.
Nothing is hard to find here, and there are easy swaps you can make if you like!
- Broccoli. I’m using a combination of broccolini and regular broccoli here, but you could use either. Broccolini tends to be a little more tender, but because we’re grilling it anyway, it doesn’t massively matter.
- Bacon. I’m using streaky bacon because we want that lovely bacon fat to add a layer of flavour to the salad, and I’d recommend going for bacon that’s not TOO lean for this reason. Always use free-range.
- Blue cheese. You want to use creamy blue cheese here (I’m using Castello Creamy Blue Cheese) because you want it to melt into the salad as you mix it through, to become a bit of a cheat dressing. Any blue cheese will do, but crumblier ones won’t mix cohesively into the salad (it’ll still taste glorious).
- Dried cranberries. These provide a pop of sweetness. You could also use raisins, sultanas, dried apricots or even fresh grapes, chopped into quarters.
- Toasted almonds and sunflower seeds. It’s called broccoli crunch salad for a reason, so there are lots of these lovely crunchy bits in it. You could use just toasted almonds, sunflower seeds, or another seed or nut mix – cashews, walnuts, pecans, macadamias or pumpkin seeds would work well.
How to make it
Slice the broccoli and broccolini into roughly bite-sized pieces – including the stems! Just chop off the ends and any very tough bits, but broccoli stems are perfectly edible and very tasty in this salad. Toss them with olive oil and a little salt, then arrange them on a lined oven tray, ideally on one layer (don’t stress if they’re a little overlapping – you can see mine are). Pop in the oven at 220C/430F fan for 8 minutes.
While the broccoli is in the oven, get the chopped bacon into a large frying pan over high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until it’s super crispy and you’ve got a lovely little collection of bacon fat in the pan. Tip the bacon bits – plus the bacon fat – into a large mixing bowl. Once the broccoli is looking nice and charred, add that to the bowl too. Set aside about 1 tablespoon of the toasted almonds, sunflower seeds and cranberries, then add the rest to the bowl. Add the spring onion, lemon juice and blue cheese and give everything a very good mix to combine. The blue cheese will melt into the salad as you mix it, creating a cheesy, umami dressing. Transfer to a serving plate and dig in.
Got a question?
The beauty of this salad is that it it’s filling enough to be enjoyed alone, but it works equally well with grilled chicken (try my miso grilled chicken or sticky gochujang chicken) or fish (my maple miso salmon would be lovely), as part of a salad spread or with fresh bread. I love serving this with my easy no knead chilli cheese focaccia for a delicious light meal.
I know blue cheese isn’t for everyone – this salad really isn’t TOO blue-cheesy if you use a creamy blue, but if you really don’t like it you can use feta or boursin.
You can make a vegetarian version of the salad by skipping the bacon – just add another tablespoon of olive oil when you mix all the ingredients together.
This salad keeps really well so it’s great for prepping ahead of time. It will keep well for 2 days in the fridge – I like to keep a little extra toasted almonds and sunflower seeds aside to top the salad when I serve if I’m prepping ahead. The ones mixed into the salad will start to soften the longer the salad is stored.
Like this recipe? Here are more salads you might enjoy
If you make this salad, I’d love to hear what you think! You can leave me a comment below.Print