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Apple Broccoli Salad Recipe

This easy Roasted Broccoli Salad is a combination of smoky bacon, crisp apples and almonds, chewy cranberries, and more. Tossed in a creamy poppy seed dressing, it’s hard not to love this sweet-and-savory superfood salad.

Broccoli Salad Recipe - roasted broccoli salad with bacon, apples, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds and a creamy poppy seed dressing!


If you’re looking for a new potluck side dish to add to your recipe rotation, don’t overlook this Broccoli Salad. Not a fan of broccoli salads? Trust me when I tell you this one is different! Since the broccoli is roasted, it’s full of flavor and has a softer texture that’s not mushy or overly dry.

With the addition of bacon, cranberries, apples, and crunchy seeds and nuts, this might be your new favorite pick for fall gatherings. The leftovers keep well, too, so feel free to make a big batch and save some for weekday lunches. And for an extra special touch, try adding some Indian Spiced Nuts.

Why You’ll Love Broccoli Salad

  • You’ll love the texture contrast of crunchy nuts and seeds, smoky bacon, and chewy dried cranberries with the roasted broccoli.  
  • The mixture of sweet and tart flavors from the fruits and dressing take this salad from great to extraordinary.  
  • It’s a perfect side dish for any meal, whether you’re serving it with lunch, dinner, or at a potluck.
  • Both the dressing and the salad ingredients can be prepared ahead and stored in the fridge. 
  • It’s a tasty way to enjoy eating more vegetables and fresh ingredients without sacrificing one bit of flavor.

What You’ll Need

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for the FULL PRINTABLE recipe card.

For the Salad

  • Broccoli Florets – Fresh broccoli forms the base of this salad and is packed with nutrition. 
  • Bacon – Smoky bacon adds a ton of flavor and extra protein. 
  • Apple – Adds crunch, juiciness, and a hint of sweetness. Try Fuji or Honeycrisp apples for sweeter, crisp apples. 
  • Dried Cranberries – Adds tartness, chewy texture, and a hint of sweetness. 
  • Sliced Almonds – These add crunch and extra nutrition to this powerhouse salad.
  • Roasted Sunflower Seeds – For extra crunch and toasty flavor. Use the shelled variety.
  • Red Onions – Red onions add a savory but mild onion flavor. 
  • Olive Oil – For roasting the broccoli. You could substitute this with avocado oil if you prefer. 
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Poppy Seed Dressing

  • Poppy Seeds – These delicious seeds make a dressing that’s both visually appealing and has a mildly sweet and nutty flavor. 
  • Mayonnaise – Makes a thick, rich dressing with bold flavor. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Adds acidity and balance. Don’t have it? Try rice vinegar or white wine vinegar instead. 
  • Honey – Adds a touch of natural sweetness.
  • Juice of 1 Lemon – Fresh lemon juice adds extra zingy flavor. 
  • Salt and Pepper
Broccoli salad with bacon - an easy broccoli salad recipe for the fall

How To Make Broccoli Salad

  • Roast the broccoli. Toss the broccoli with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange it in one layer on a baking sheet. Then roast it in a 425°F oven for 15-18 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Take out the broccoli and let it cool.
  • Make the dressing. As the broccoli cools, whisk all the dressing ingredients together until combined. Refrigerate. 
  • Mix the main salad ingredients. Using a large bowl (or mix everything on the cooled baking sheet), mix all the remaining salad ingredients with the broccoli. 
  • Toss with the dressing. Add the dressing and mix to coat the salad evenly. Refrigerate until serving time.

Recipe Tips & Variations

  • Don’t overcook the broccoli. Keep a close eye on it while roasting. You want it to be slightly crispy on the edges, but not tough and burnt.
  • Prep the bacon ahead of time. Cook and crumble the bacon ahead of time so you can easily toss it in with the other ingredients later on. 
  • Wait to dress the salad until just before serving it. If you make this salad and dressing a day ahead of time, store the dressing separately. To avoid oxidation (browning), wait to add the apples until you’re dressing the salad. 
  • Add other flavors or switch out ingredients as you like. This versatile side can be customized with other ingredients like crumbled feta, sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped walnuts or pecans, jicama, or celery.
Broccoli Salad Recipe - an easy recipe for a fall or Thanksgiving side dishes
Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?

Since the broccoli gets roasted, you can use frozen broccoli in this recipe. Place the frozen broccoli in a single, well-spaced layer on a baking sheet and roast it as directed. It may take a minute or two longer to cook completely.

Can I Make This Vegan?

Yes, it’s easy to make this salad vegan if you prefer. Substitute the mayonnaise with vegan mayo (Veganaise is a great brand) and omit the bacon or replace it with vegan bacon bits. Finally, replace the honey with agave nectar or brown rice syrup.

How To Store Leftover Broccoli Salad?

Store broccoli salad leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Serving Suggestions

Broccoli Salad is one of those dishes that you think of when you think big potluck or big get together. And it is perfect for those, but it is good with so much more as well!

  • Creamy Tomato Soup – Enjoy this quick and easy soup recipe with broccoli salad. Make it a crock pot or right on the stove if you’re in a hurry.
  • One-Pan Spicy Garlic Shrimp – 15 minutes and one sheet pan is all you need to serve up these easy, spicy shrimp with this salad.
  • Smoked Chicken Thighs – Complement broccoli salad’s toasty flavors with this chicken recipe. If you own a smoker, you can have these ready in about an hour. 
  • Boneless Chicken Wings – Need an easy main dish for a party? These crispy wings are a guaranteed hit, and don’t forget the broccoli salad!
  • Sous Vide Turkey Breast – Make the juiciest Thanksgiving turkey ever, then serve it with this salad for a delicious and nutritious holiday meal.

More Easy Side Dish Recipes

Yield: 6

Roasted Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad Recipe - roasted broccoli salad with bacon, apples, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds and a creamy poppy seed dressing!

Broccoli Salad Recipe - roasted broccoli salad with bacon, apples, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds and a creamy poppy seed dressing!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 6 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup apple, cubed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds

Poppy Seed Dressing

  • 2/3 cup mayo
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  2. Toss broccoli florets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roasted for 15-18 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown on the edges.  Remove from oven and let the broccoli cool.
  3. Meanwhile prepared the dressing.  Mix all of the ingredients together until well blended.  Store in fridge until ready to use.
  4. In a large bowl or on the cooled baking sheet mix together broccoli, apple, bacon, onion, cranberries, almonds, and sun flower seeds.
  5. Add dressing and mix until everything is well coated. Store in fridge until ready to serve. 

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 516Saturated Fat 8gCholesterol 29mgSodium 384mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 5gSugar 17gProtein 9g

Did you make this recipe?

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Friday 7th of July 2023

This salad is exactly what I need for dinner! It's healthy and nutrient!

Amanda Batcher

Thursday 6th of July 2023

What a perfect combination of flavors! I cannot wait to make this soon!


Thursday 6th of July 2023

I love the mix of flavors and textures here. A good dish has a mix of both. Yum!

Sandra | A Dash of Sanity

Sunday 2nd of September 2018

It looks really flavorful! Love all those flavors combined!

Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

Saturday 1st of September 2018

I love broccoli salads and this sounds terrific!

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