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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!