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.
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.
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets (about 6 cups)
- 6 slices bacon
- ⅛ 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.