Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Broccoli, Bacon, and Cheddar Salad

Don’t be alarmed. No need to adjust your monitor. I’m here to share some very exciting news with you. This past December over the Christmas holiday, I discovered a new species of…aquatic algae.

Let me put my best National Geographic voice on… Ahem. Aaah, how gracefully its blunt-tipped tentacles wave in the gentle ebb and flow of the tide! 

Okay, I’m already really sorry for using the word ‘tentacle’ on a food blog, and so I’m going to give up this charade and let you in the actual news. This past Christmas, I was lucky enough to receive a new Canon DSLR – or in other words, a really shiny camera! But then, tragedy struck.

I became stricken with macro-itis, the irresistible compulsion to shove your lens as close to the food as humanly possible and take a series of artistic photos that are later completely unidentifiable.

Sigh. Luckily…

 Hello, broccoli! Sorry for calling you algae, but up close you look kinda freaky…you know, in a really cool way. 

This is a perfect scenario for those of you playing along at home. You’re going to want to run right out and buy a head of broccoli to scrutinize it under a microscope, right? Alright, but when you’re done with that, you should make this salad.

This is easily one of the most-requested recipes in my arsenal – as in, when you feed it to someone, you might as well have a recipe card already written out to give to them. And it’s not something magical I do, because I can tell you the way I acquired this recipe was that someone (Sparky’s lovely aunt, Lana) fed it to me, and after I finished consuming my weight in broccoli, I’m pretty sure I cornered her and made her give me the recipe. 

The ingredient list is pretty short: broccoli, sharp red onion, a sturdy cheddar…and bacon. Broccoli is one of those miracle foods that will basically give you super powers if you eat enough. It’s packed with Vitamin C, calcium, and eight million other nutrients that will strengthen your bones and make your skin glow, and like other cruciferous vegetables, it’s associated with reducing risk of developing of cancer

Bacon, on the other hand, is bacon, and if baconing is wrong, I don’t want to not bacon.   

 But if you’re questioning the health benefits of a ‘salad’ that’s made with bacon and cheddar cheese, maybe I can convince you of its other benefits. For example, unlike a salad composed of leafy greens, this salad is even better if you can leave it in the fridge overnight. It won’t get wilty or mushy, and that makes it fantastic to make ahead for a dinner party, or to bring with you to someone else’s event.

And if there’s someone in your life who thinks green things and broccoli are made of poison and hate (hi Dad!), I find this salad is generally the exception that can make your beloved greens-hater eat broccoli, and maybe even ask for seconds. 

On a side note, I know things have been pretty quiet around here, and to those of you who have kept on top of me to get back blogging: thank you. My new camera and I have made friends in the weeks since Christmas, and my crippling case of macro-itis has almost cleared up.

 Um…almost. I'll keep you posted. Recipe is after the jump! 

 Lana’s Broccoli Salad 
serves 4-6 - double this for a crowd, it's popular!
4 cups of broccoli, chopped
1 medium red onion, diced
6-10 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1-1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup mayonnaise*
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar, or white sugar if that’s all you’ve got
Pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour over salad and mix to combine. Ideally, let the salad sit in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors mingle. That’s all. Yes, really. 

* Okay, I use Miracle Whip, but that’s because Sparky acts like I’m trying to kill him if I give him actual mayo. I’ve also experienced some success using greek yogurt instead of mayo, but my recipe needs a little more tweaking before it goes public. Feel free to experiment!


  1. Miracle Whip is better than Mayo! They don't sell it over here and its one of the things we are asking my mom to bring us! lol! Love the post. You make me laugh everytime!

    1. Thanks D! Since I'm getting back into my blog, you should get back into yours too - educate me on life in London! Maybe after your mom visits, since I bet you guys will be busy.


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