Looking for a perfect side dish to bring to your family cook out? Having some friends over for some football and BBQ? Whatever the occasion, this side dish pairs perfectly with everything on a hot summer night! I had brought this to my in laws birthday dinner, they grilled some brats, steaks, and salmon and had some corn on the cob and amazing hash brown casserole (I am getting that recipe!). This cool and crisp salad was the perfect accompaniment with the hot off the grill meats and casserole. The dressing is light and doesn’t give you that “I just ate a bowl of fat” feeling most summer salad dishes tend to give you. The best thing about this dish is it takes no time at all to make! The longest time spent making this was cooking the bacon!
I derived this recipe from multiple google search results and combined a few of my favorite ones and added my own touches and substitutions. Feel free to add or remove anything, it’s fun to be creative!
Let’s get started! Take your favorite pan for cooking bacon (you know you have one) and fry up your bacon. I cooked mine well done, the crispier the better! While your bacon is frying, go ahead and cut up your broccoli. I call the tops “trees”. You want to cut all of the way up the stem to the trees and even cut some of those to make small bite size trees. Place in a large bowl. Cut up your onion into bite size pieces and place in the bowl. Add your craisins, cashews, and snap peas. I broke my snap peas into smaller pieces, most were torn into two to three pieces per pod. Once your bacon is done, place on a plate lined in paper towels to soak up excess grease. Once cooled, crumble that crispy bacon into bacon bits and add to your bowl, you can try to resist eating some, but it won’t work. Mix well, add more cashews or craisins if needed. I am big on ratio’s and I like everything to be evenly placed in the salad, so I ended up adding a little more of each.
I used a special vinegar that I purchased at a small shop in Sanibel Island, FL. White Jalapeño Lime Balsamic Vinegar… fancy I know. It gave the dressing a little more flavor and turned out really good! You can buy these online and they come in all different flavors and sizes. If you don’t have any special vinegar, just use all white wine vinegar. Take a bowl and mix up your mayo, vinegar and spices. Taste before mixing with your dry ingredients to make sure it’s to your liking. I ended up adding a little more vinegar and salt to my dressing. Once your dressing is acceptable pour in a little at a time and mix evenly. If you want a lighter dressed salad you don’t need to use all of the dressing. I ended up leaving a little bit out.
Cool in the fridge for a few hours to get a little more flavor! Serve cold and enjoy!
What you’ll need:
For the salad:
1lb bacon, fried extra crispy and crumbled (center cut is good)
4 heads of broccoli, cut into small bite sized trees
2 cups of sugar snap peas, broken into 2-3 pieces per pod
1/2 red onion, diced
1-1½ cups cashews ( I used salted and halved)
1 cup dried cranberries (I added a little more for ratio purposes)
For the dressing:
1 cup olive oil based mayo
3 tbsp white jalapeño lime balsamic vinegar (if you don’t have anything similar, just use white wine vinegar)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste