Spring has officially sprung, and that means summer is just around the corner. With summer comes barbecues and block parties and outdoor get togethers. Which means its time to start dreaming up the perfect, easy to throw together, still impressive side to bring along. This roasted broccoli and cauliflower salad will quickly become your go to.
Broccoli salad is a pretty popular side dish, and over the years I’ve tasted many different recipes and combinations. Almost all of them are creamy, some of them have raisins or dried cranberries, others a bit more tangy. I personally enjoy a more savory vegetable salad, so I opted for bacon, sunflower seeds, and red onion to give the salad tons of flavor.
Most of the broccoli salads I have encountered use raw broccoli. While this is a very fresh and crunchy option, I have always found it rather difficult to choke down. In addition, I just happen to love the flavorful crisp of roasted broccoli and cauliflower, so I always roast mine in the oven until just perfectly crispy, but still a bit crunchy.
I prefer not to roast the onion along with the broccoli and cauliflower because I feel like the sharp, tangy bite of the raw red onion really boosts the flavor of this salad to the next level. And the sunflower seeds bring even more crunch along with their savory, salty flavor.
As most of you may know, I’m from the south, where we put mayonnaise dressing on EVERYTHING. Basically, in the south, we throw together any random assortment of vegetables, toss it in mayo with a few other ingredients and call it a salad. While mayonnaise is the base of this particular dressing, there are a few other key players I have found work really well together to give this dressing the perfect consistency and flavor. Dijon mustard always goes excellent with mayo. I’ve tried several types of vinegar, white wine and apple cider being two of my favorites. I like them pretty equally so I decided to use 1 tablespoon of each. Upon tasting, the dressing needed a bit more acidity, so I added a squeeze of a half of lemon, then seasoned with salt and pepper.
(Note: if you are looking for a slightly healthier alternative to mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt is an excellent substitute. It is a bit more tangy, so you might want to adjust your vinegar and lemon juice to account for that.)
Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Bacon and Creamy Dressing
A savory vegetable salad with a creamy mayonnaise and Dijon dressing, sunflower seeds and red onion give this salad a tangy crunch, and bacon brings it to the next level. Tons of flavor and easy to make. Perfect for a barbecue side.
- 1 head broccoli
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 6 slices thick cut bacon
- 1 small red onion
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 425.
Cut the broccoli and cauliflower heads into small florets. Toss in olive oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. Spread evenly onto a baking sheet.
Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until just barely fork tender and slightly crispy.
While the broccoli and cauliflower are baking, halve, peel, and dice the onion.
Cut the bacon into thin strips and cook in a pan over medium heat until crispy. Drain on a paper towel to remove any excess grease and then roughly chop or crumble.
Make the dressing: in a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, Dijon, and vinegars. Whisk to combine. Add the lemon juice, then salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl, combine the roasted broccoli and cauliflower, bacon, onion, and sunflower seeds. Pour the dressing over the top and mix until everything is evenly coated. Keep refrigerated before serving.
If you prefer a slightly healthier version, plain Greek yogurt makes an excellent substitute for mayonnaise.