Broccoli. A vegetable that is really difficult to eat raw. Have you ever noticed that the grocery store is NEVER out of broccoli? It’s not coincidental – it’s because most (normal) people don’t like broccoli. That is a fact. I struggle eating broccoli as a snack and grudgingly throw it in a salad because I feel like I have to – it’s so nutritious. So I pondered, how can I make broccoli a sweet, savory addiction? How about adding bacon, crunchy sunflower seeds, and a sweet date/honey/dijon dressing? DING DING!
The hubs really hates broccoli (or anything green for that matter). So when he requested this dish again, the heavens opened, angels sang hallelujah, and I did some MAJOR fist pumping.
Side note: I actually ate this for breakfast one morning. Seriously. A word of caution, don’t try this with coffee. I mean, it’s delicious and all, but paired with coffee… BLEH! Kind of like having coffee RIGHT after you brush your teeth – worst idea ever.
Back to broccoli…
This sweet bacon and broccoli salad is a wonderful combination of crunchy, sweet, and savory. It makes powering through a serving a broccoli so easy. In fact, I could eat bowls upon bowls of this in no time flat.
Plus, it’s one of those dishes that gets better with time, so make a few hours or even a day ahead. Bring it to your next get-together, but don’t tell anyone you are bringing a broccoli salad (you might get dis-invited). Just show up, encourage everyone to try it, and be prepared to be invited to a lot more foodie gatherings.
To start, cut a head of broccoli into small, bite-sized florets and set aside. In a large pan, cook bacon on medium/high heat until slightly crispy. Remove the bacon from that pan and set on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up excess grease. Set aside to cool, then cut into small pieces.
Next, pour ½ cup water into saucepan and set on high. Once the water is boiling, add the dates and reduce the heat, bringing the water to a simmer. The dates will begin to soften in approximately 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the remaining dressing ingredients to the pot. Transfer to a small food processor or blender and puree until well combined. Add a dash more water if the mixture is too thick. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, add the broccoli florets, bacon bits, and sunflower seeds. Pour dressing over the broccoli mix and stir to coat.
This sweet bacon and broccoli salad is free of refined sugar and preservatives, it’s paleo, and can even be a great vegan dish if you simply omit the bacon. The best part? It’s delish. Like husband-approved delish. So you know it’s a winner!
Time Saver Tip
Cut broccoli florets ahead of time and pre-cook and chop the bacon. Store in the refrigerator for easy assembly once you are ready to make.Print
Sweet Bacon & Broccoli Salad
- Yield: 6 cups 1x
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets (about 6 cups)
- 6 slices bacon
- 1/8 cup sunflower seeds
- 5 dates
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons light olive oil
- Cut a head of broccoli into small, bite-sized florets. Set aside.
- In a large pan, cook bacon on medium/high heat, until slightly crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set on a plate covered with paper towel to soak up any excess grease. Set aside to cool, then cut into small pieces.
- Pour ½ cup water in to saucepan and set on high. Once the water is boiling, add the dates and reduce the heat so the water can simmer. The dates will begin to soften around 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the remaining dressing ingredients to the pot.
- Transfer to a small food processor or blender and puree until well combined. Add a dash more water if the mixture is too thick. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, add the broccoli florets, bacon bits, and sunflower seeds. Pour dressing over the broccoli mix and stir, coating with the dressing.
- Store in the refrigerator at least a half hour before serving.
OMG yum!! I’m ALWAYS looking for healthy but delicious sides to brings to potlucks, and this would be absolutely perfect!
Definitely would be perfect Erica! Thanks 🙂
If my husband ever requests a healthy dish, I buy the ingredients in bulk and make that stuff till he hates it. No really…my husband wanting something healthy is a monumental experience in our lives 😉
Im not a bacon fan [I know, I know…can we still be friends?] but everything else about this recipes sounds out.of.this.world! I love that the dressing uses dates as a thickener/sweetener. Sounds so stinking good!
Sigh, yes we CAN still be friends. I’ll make an exception for you 😉 Our hubbies sound waaaaay too similar to not be friends! I hope you (and the hubby) love this Kat!
Melanie @ Nutritious Eats says
I love broccoli salad, but don’t like the mayo based ones. This dressing sounds perfect and we all know bacon makes everything better!
Ditto Melanie! I am not a fan of salads with packaged dressings poured on them either. Bleh. Glad we can agree on this 😉
Blair @ The Seasoned Mom says
I love sweet broccoli salads like this — especially when they involve BACON. 🙂 Can’t wait to try your dressing. I love that you used dates to make it sweet. SO darn smart!
EVERYTHING is better with bacon (and dates)!! Thanks Blair!
Bless you for posting this when you did.
We have a bunch of broccoli in the kitchen, and I was going to use a good chunk of it to make general tso’s broccoli and fried tofu… But noooow…. I will be making this delicious-looking salad!
Wow wow wow, and YUM!
YAY use that broccoli goodness and save the General Tso’s for later 😉 But I’m just at tiny bit biased towards this sweet bacon & broccoli salad 😉 Thanks so much Cierra. Let me know how it turned out!
Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen says
Ummm this looks amazing. I’m not ashamed to say I like me some bacon. Pinning for later! Sounds like a great “dish-to-pass” option 😀
Whoo hoo – thanks Ashley! Bacon makes everything just so darn awesome.
Ros Emely@stressfreemommies says
This is such a great recipe, my kids love broccoli and I am pretty sure they will love this! Thanks for this deliciousness 🙂
Thanks so much Ros!
Looks so yummy! I love a good broccoli salad, and with bacon? Yes, please!
My family is going to love this recipe… in fact, I might eat it all before they get any! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe! I can’t wait!
I so hope they love this Ashleigh! Keep me posted if this was a success in your house like it is in mine! 🙂
Jamie | The Kitchenarium says
My family would LOVE this.
I hope they do Jamie! Thanks for stopping by!
Invited to a friends home for dinner this weekend.. I know what I am bringing to share!
Perfect idea Shar!
Jessie, FlusteredMom says
Looks delicious Chrissa! My boys go crazy for anything with bacon but add broccoli and sunflower seeds and they’ll be ecstatic.
Oh my gosh, your boys love broccoli?! You must have done something right momma! Enjoy!
GiGi Eats says
Bacon makes everything taste 2384923424932498x better – and that dressing, well that took it to a whole other level!
No, bacon makes everything 2384923424932498 TIMES TEN better. We can go back and forth on the numbers, but at least we agree that bacon and this dressing is pretty amaze-tastic.
Kathryn With Going Zero Waste says
Mmmmm! This looks delicious!
Thanks Kathryn. Wait till you try it – delicious as it looks!
Betsy @ Happily Ever After, Etc. says
I absolutely love brocelli but my hubby isn’t that big of a fan. I never know what to do with it other than the traditional steam… this looks perfect! Thanks for linking up with us last week at the Welcome Home Wednesday Linky Party! Can’t wait to see what you share at our next link party tomorrow morning!
Hopefully your hubby will covert to lover-of-broccoli like mine did after trying this Betsy! It’s amazing what a few dates and some bacon will do. Thank you for stopping by and hosting such a great link party!
Sorry if this is a stupid question, but do you drain the bacon fat before adding dressing ingredients?
No a stupid question! You’ll use a bit of that bacon fat/grease for the dressing, discard the rest.