For the longest time, I was that person who steered clear of broccoli salad. Growing up, it was always drowning in heavy mayo, overly sweet, loaded with just so much bacon, and well, not really my thing.
But once I started cooking for myself, I realized that it didn’t have to be that way. Which was a very happy discovery for someone like me who absolutely loves all things broccoli.
And today’s version may just be my favorite to date. It’s filled with many of the same components as the classic dish — like broccoli florets, golden raisins, red onion and some sliced almonds. But instead of mayo, the dressing is made with a yogurt base and then jazzed up with some apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and a hint of Dijon mustard. It’s creamy, tangy and flavorful, but doesn’t drown out all the other ingredients.
But the best part? The coconut bacon!
Oh the coconut bacon. Crispy, salty, sweet and smoky, it’s just about the best thing ever. I have never been a fan of regular bacon, but this coconut version? It’s downright addicting.
Now, a few things to keep in mind. Please keep an eye on the coconut bacon in your oven! It can go from perfectly browned to burnt incredibly quickly. Additionally, you can give it a stir more than once during the cook time if you notice that it’s starting to brown unevenly.
I personally like to add the coconut bacon into the salad right before serving so that it stays crisp, but you can absolutely mix it in and keep the salad fully assembled in the fridge. Completely up to you. If you make the bacon in advance, you can store it in the freezer (this keeps it crisp and it takes just a few minutes to come back to room temp).
One last note, both plain Greek yogurt and plain dairy-free yogurt can be used in the dressing. The dressing will be a bit thinner with the dairy-free yogurt, but it still works great. Just make sure that your yogurt is unsweetened (if it isn’t, I’d either completely eliminate or cut down on the maple syrup to taste).
For the salad:
For the salad:
- In a large bowl, toss together the broccoli, raisins, red onion and almonds. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the flavors as desired. Add to the bowl with the broccoli and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours.
For the coconut bacon:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the liquid smoke, maple syrup, vinegar and soy sauce. Add in the flaked coconut and mix until well combined. Spread the mixture in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until browned and crisp. The coconut bacon can burn very quickly, so keep an eye on it in the oven. Remove from the oven and let cool (it will crisp up during this time).
- Use your fingers to crumble the coconut bacon slightly, then add ⅓ cup to the chilled broccoli mixture. Taste and add more as desired. Toss to combine and serve.