Creamy Broccoli and Cranberry Salad with Bacon

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So…bacon.
Should we just stop there?
Cause it’s just rude how good it is.

It’s probably the main reason I won’t be vegetarian.  It’s all smokey, and crunchy, and salty and meaty…like, the perfect food!

Seriously…I am not even one of those crazy “bacon people”.  You know who I’m talking about.  Those people who make bacon cupcakes, bacon donuts, bacon lollipops. Oh, ya…I should tell you that I made vanilla scented, maple flavoured caramalized bacon ice cream.  It was pretty epic.

So, I’m a crazy bacon person.

Guilty…

But, bacon crazy or not, you really have to try this salad.  If you have kids (or anyone that mimics a kid by refusing to eat broccoli), this is an awesome way to get them to eat their veg. I swear…it’s that good!

 

Ingredients:

(again, don’t worry about exact measurements – adjust to what your tastebuds prefer!)

1 large bag of broccoli heads (I got mine at Costco – about 6 cups worth…you can use the broccoli crowns in the produce section or you can just cut up a couple of heads of broccoli)

1 pkg bacon, cooked  (I usually use the whole package but I only had 1/2 package here so I used some leftover ham that I had in the fridge) **

1/3 c finely chopped dates (you can use dried cranberries if you prefer)

1/3 c sunflower seeds (candied seeds are even better if you can find them)

1 finely diced red onion (about 1/2 c)

** if you are not a pork eater, you can substitute turkey/chicken bacon.  It won’t be as crispy, but it will work.  Perhaps add a splash of liquid smoke (you can get it at the grocery store and it lasts forever in your fridge)

Dressing:

2 tbsp Miracle Whip or mayonaise (Miracle Whip actually has sugar, which is generally not good but it works here because the extra sweetness adds to the salad components!)

1/4 c balsamic vinegar

1/4  c olive oil

1 tbsp bacon fat (optional but gives the dressing a smokey touch!)

Juice of one lemon

1-2 tbsp agave nectar

salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic glaze to finish (available in the vinegar section of most grocery stores)


1.  Prep the broccoli crowns by cutting them into bite sized pieces…
…like this…
2.  Add broccoli to a big bowl and top with bacon (or bacon/ham combination)
3.  In a bottle with a lid (or a mason jar), add all of the dressing ingredients and shake your booty…or the bottle…or both.  Remember to season the dressing!
3.  Pour about half onto the salad and mix vigorously as the dressing needs to get into the “tree” part of the broccoli; add the dates, onion and seeds and mix again (add more dressing if you like…I like lots!!).  Add more salt and pepper if you like but be careful because it might just settle in the crowns (that’s why it’s good to season the dressing).
4.  Plate the salad and drizzle with balsamic glaze if you like.You might eat the whole bowl…it’s really that good!  But, that’s okay because, once you have all your daily veg in this salad, you can have cake 🙂
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