Broccoli Salad with Marinated Red Onions

broccoli salad with marinated onions

It’s feeling a lot like Christmas here in Southwestern Canada. With just over a week before the big day, our lives have been a flurry of school and church programs, family activities, list-making, shopping, decorating and baking. This past weekend, we had two family Christmas potluck-style gatherings. With all of the turkey, ham, casseroles, and sweets at these events, it is nice to offer something both light and nourishing. And maybe it is just me, but I feel like my plate is not complete until there is something green on it!

This salad is reminiscent of one that my mom used to serve throughout my childhood, and yet not at all alike. Marinating the onions (as I do for most salads I make) cuts the sharp flavor and crunch you get from a raw onion (although it doesn’t neutralize breath!) The vinaigrette keeps the salad feeling light. And it holds up well at a weeknight potluck or weekend brunch, as there isn’t a trace of mayonnaise to be found in it. While it couldn’t compare to my mom’s gluten-free cream puffs, the aunties and cousins all enjoyed it a lot!

Broccoli Salad with Marinated Red Onions

(A Grow. Cook. Eat. Share. original recipe)

2 large crowns of broccoli (stems optional)

1 pound bacon, or 1/2 cup cooked bacon bits

1/4 red onion, finely sliced

1/4 cup lightly sweetened dried cranberries

1/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds


3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon bacon fat, melted

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (about 40 twists of my pepper mill is the equivalent to 1 teaspoon)


Cut bacon into small chunks and sautee over medium heat until browned. Strain the bacon bits, and reserve the bacon fat. (I like to store mine in a mason jar, and use it for scrambled eggs. So yummy!)

Wash and trim broccoli crowns, cutting broccoli into bite-sized pieces.

If using the stems, peel them, and slice them into matchsticks, or grate them on a box grater.

Combine ingredients for the dressing in a 2 cup (500 ml) mason jar, and shake to combine. If you do not have bacon fat, just use another tablespoon of olive oil instead.

Quarter and peel a red (purple) onion, and finely slice it lengthwise. Add onion to the dressing, and allow it to marinade until serving. (Five  minutes to two hours)

Combine broccoli, bacon bits, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl.

Just before serving, toss salad thoroughly with the red onions and about half of the dressing, adding more as necessary.

Makes approximately 8-10 side servings.

As with all of my recipes, I highly encourage the use of organic, local products when available. Talking to farmers, reading labels, and looking for only the purest, freshest ingredients possible ensures high quality, nutritionally dense foods, that help take a recipe from good to amazing!

4 thoughts on “Broccoli Salad with Marinated Red Onions

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