Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Raisins, and Cashews

This is one of my favorite salads ever.  It combines all of my favorite things: broccoli, bacon, raisins, and cashews!  How can you go wrong with that combination?  I even had a hard time taking the photo because I  just can’t stop eating this salad once it’s put together.

I just remembered that I made this salad last year for Thanksgiving.  It’s getting close, but I decided to throw it up here in case there are any other procrastinators out there looking for last minute Thanksgiving side dish ideas.  It really is simple enough to throw together at the last minute!

Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Raisins

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
fresh ground black pepper
4 cups broccoli florets (about 2 small heads chopped into small florets)*
6 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)**
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped***

1. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, brown sugar, and vinegar; add salt and pepper to taste.

2. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, bacon and raisins.  Add dressing and toss well.  Store, covered, in refrigerator until ready to serve.  Stir in cashews before serving.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Recipe Notes: *Because the broccoli isn’t cooked, be sure to cut it into very small florets. If you prefer to stay away from raw broccoli, the florets can be blanched (boiled or steamed for only a minute or two until broccoli turns bright green but is still crunchy) before the salad is made. I don’t normally use the thick stems, but others have suggested peeling and finely chopping the stems for the salad, so I’ll try that next time.  **You can add chopped red onion to the salad for a big boost of extra flavor if you like raw onions in salad – it’s also good without.  ***As other commenters have pointed out below, sunflower seeds can be substituted for the cashews if that’s what you prefer.  There are several variations of broccoli salad floating around out there, feel free to create your own!

  1. Elisabeth

    Oh, man. Totally sold!

    6:59 pm  Nov 25th, 2008
  2. Ruby

    MY FAVORITE DISH at Sweet Tomatoes!!! YUMMY but I like it with red onions…lol

    7:13 pm  Nov 25th, 2008
  3. Nicole

    Ruby: Yes, I purposely left the red onions out!! 🙂

    7:16 pm  Nov 25th, 2008
  4. patsyk

    this looks wonderful. I think it would even make a nice salad to take in my lunch during the week. Definitely marking this one to try!

    7:21 pm  Nov 25th, 2008
  5. Nicole

    patsyk: Yes, it’s a great lunch salad, too! We had it for dinner tonight and will be eating it for lunch tomorrow 🙂

    7:27 pm  Nov 25th, 2008
  6. Aunt LoLo

    Ooh…we make a version of this salad that’s supposed to have red onions and craisins in it. (I never add the onions because if there’s any salad left over, it ends up tasting like nothing BUT red onions!) I had to chime in, though – I cut off the thick stems, and then julienne them. They’re my favorite part of the salad! Kind of like broccoli slaw, all mixed in. 🙂

    7:36 pm  Nov 25th, 2008
  7. Vanessa

    Oh thank you, thank you for this recipe. I have loved this salad for a few years now trying to figure out exactly what was in it. I haven’t attempted your recipe yet but I already know it’s going to be delicious.

    8:05 pm  Nov 25th, 2008
  8. Susan C

    A friend of mine just made a similar salad for me for dinner (along with a simple grilled chicken), and I couldn’t get enough of it. I like the idea of adding some red onions.

    9:02 pm  Nov 25th, 2008
  9. alicia

    i love this salad! i was just looking for a recipe for this today! no joke. thanks for posting it. Looks good!

    9:56 pm  Nov 25th, 2008
  10. Jesse

    I love red onions so if you guys say it’s good with that, they are goin’ in. I also love garlic, but I have to keep telling myself that it’s OK to NOT add garlic to everything. I can’t help it though, when I’m cooking I often think “garlic would be amazing in this” but I just have to draw the line.

    Anyway, that was off-topic. This salad looks GREAT. I love broccoli, in all it’s forms, soI can’t wait to try it, does anyone have any ideas for what I could substitute the mayonnaise for to be less calorific? Though I’m going to try it with the mayo (I also love mayonnaise), I have some friends who are watching their intake (as I GUESS I should be…meh). I was going to use just Fat Free, but I wondered if there were any more creative alternatives? Thanks 😀

    11:55 pm  Nov 25th, 2008
  11. icelandicchef

    Great veggy dish….tried something similar once……it had walnuts and blue cheese. Nothing is more healthy than broccoli.

    4:10 am  Nov 26th, 2008
  12. Debbie

    Love love love this salad, the only difference in mine is sunflower seeds instead of the cashews.. sounds good either way…

    7:28 am  Nov 26th, 2008
  13. Amy

    LOVE it! david’s family introduced me to the wonderful world of broccoli salad last year, this looks so good!

    7:45 am  Nov 26th, 2008
  14. Robin

    I love this salad! Also a fan of it from Sweet Tomatoes.

    I recently made a bunch of recipe cards for a wedding shower gift. I knew the bride would love this, so I went in search for a copycat recipe (which I never do). One thing different in their recipe, which I think makes a huge difference, is they blanch the broccoli. That explains why th Sweet Tomatoes version has no trace of bitterness. It’s not necessary, of course, but I think blanching would be worth the extra bit of effort.

    8:14 am  Nov 26th, 2008
  15. Leaca

    This is my favorite salad ever. I have it on my list of things to make for tomorrow.

    8:39 am  Nov 26th, 2008
  16. The Secret Ingredient/Season to Taste

    I make a similar version of this, but use sunflower seeds in place of the cashews. It is SUCH a great dish—I usually make it a lot at summer get-togethers. For some reason I never thought about serving it at Thanskgiving, but it is a great do-ahead side dish. Have a happy one!

    9:16 am  Nov 26th, 2008
  17. ttfn300

    ooh, i’ve had something similar but i love the additions of cashews 🙂

    9:27 am  Nov 26th, 2008
  18. Gabi


    This is lovely! Fresh!
    And I digg your photos!

    10:30 am  Nov 26th, 2008
  19. Nicole

    Aunt Lolo: Thanks for the tip on using the stems, I’ll try that next time and I just added a note to the recipe!
    Vanessa: I hope you enjoy it!
    Susan C: I can’t agree with you guys about the red onion, but I just added a note to the recipe that it can be included. I just can’t stand raw onion 🙂
    Alicia: Well sounds like I posted it at the perfect time! It was totally spur of the moment! 🙂
    Jesse: Yes, lots of people love red onion in this salad (not me)! I think you should stay away from the garlic in this one, though! I’m not sure about substituting something else for the mayo. I can’t stand the fat free stuff so I just think of this as a ‘special occasion’ salad and make it the super fattening way! Everything in moderation, right? But we’ll see if anyone else has suggestions for you!
    Icelandicchef:I think blue cheese would be AMAZING in this salad! I’m trying that next time!
    Debbie: I think sunflower seeds would be great in this! I just added a note to the recipe saying that they can be substituted for the cashews. Thanks!
    Amy: I know, it’s so good! I just ate some for breakfast (after the pumpkin spice cake).
    Robin: You’re right, some people do prefer to blanch the broccoli for this type of salad. I happen to love raw broccoli as long as it’s chopped small and have never noticed any bitterness, but I’ll add a note about blanching for those who might disagree 🙂
    Leaca:Is your recipe similar to this one? I think it’s a great addition to the Thanksgiving table!
    The Secret Ingredient:Debbie mentioned the sunflower seeds too so I’m definitely gonna give that a try sometimes. It is definitely a great year-round salad!
    ttfn:There are so many versions of this salad floating around! But of all I’ve tried, this is the one I like the best 🙂
    Gabi: Thanks so much!

    10:49 am  Nov 26th, 2008
  20. Terri


    I love this salad and it is my youngest son’s favorite. For a little different texture, I’ve also used the “broccoli slaw” that you can get in bags at the market. Delicious!

    BTW, those Sweet Potato Buttermilk Rolls are truly amazing. They will be a big hit tomorrow!

    12:53 pm  Nov 26th, 2008
  21. Rhonda

    GENIUS adding the cashews, I love this salad but have never thought to add them. It is seriously all of my favorite things together!

    10:29 pm  Nov 29th, 2008
  22. wonderment » Blog Archive » Linkfest Post for the New Year: Eat More Veggies!

    […] Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Raisins (Pinch My Salt) – very similar to a family recipe that is my sister’s favorite […]

    2:44 pm  Dec 30th, 2008
  23. MacKenzie

    I add halved red grapes to this salad, they go well.

    3:10 pm  Jan 10th, 2009
  24. Have you ever had this - SheKnows Message Boards

    […] today, oh my goodness its was out standing. I just called my DD to bring some more home…lol Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Raisins — Pinch My Salt The one is had was with sunflower seeds not cashews. Yum!!!!!!! […]

    3:37 pm  Jan 29th, 2009
  25. SRyan

    I substitute shaved almonds for the cashews, and I add cheddar cheese at the last minute. It is wonderful! 🙂

    7:51 pm  Jan 29th, 2009
  26. LLeong

    If you want to cut calories and fat a bit, substitute nonfat, unflavored yogurt for half the mayo. That’s the version of the recipe my friend Vicki gave me & it’s great made that way.

    2:38 pm  Feb 25th, 2009
  27. Annie

    I do a version of this salad, using 1/2 the fat mayo and Pecans and raisins.

    9:47 am  Mar 28th, 2009
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  30. Sarah

    Some of my broccoli bolted on my over the weekend. Do you think broccoli flowers would make a good addition?

    9:15 pm  Jul 4th, 2011
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    […] Reference: Find the recipe for the tasty broccoli salad above at Pinch my Salt. […]

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  32. Roxy

    Equal amounts of fat free sour cream and light mayo sweetened with honey work well togeather also. Also dates instead of raisins 🙂

    10:50 am  Apr 25th, 2016
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