⅓cupred onionfinely diced (about ½ a medium onion)
1cupcooked, crumbled bacon(about 8 ounces of bacon, or use "Real Bacon" pieces)
1cupshredded Cheddar cheese
⅓cuproasted, salted sunflower kernels
(Optional but recommended step) Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 1 minute. Immediately drain the broccoli in a colander with ice and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Allow the broccoli to drain very well. Spread on paper towels or set it in a colander. You want the broccoli as dry as possible.
In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, vinegar, and sugar. Whisk together until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the onion, cranberries, sunflower kernels, broccoli, and bacon. Toss gently, taking care not to break up the broccoli, until well mixed and coated with the dressing.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour for flavors to combine.
Save time by purchasing ready to cook broccoli florets rather than whole heads of broccoli.
For best results, be sure to make the salad ahead of time so that the flavors have a chance to mellow. Refrigerate it for at least one hour and up to eight hours.
Store the leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
Be sure to grate the cheese yourself. Don't buy the pre-grated cheese for this recipe.
To save time, use the real bacon pieces (not bits!) available in the salad dressing section at your grocery store.
If the red onion seems too strong, rinse it briefly under cool water and let it dry before adding to the salad.
Instead of mayonnaise, substitute a good quality plain Greek yogurt.
Raisins make a great substitute for the dried cranberries.
In place of the sunflower kernels you can use roasted, salted peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pepitas, pine nuts, or pistachios. Almost any roasted salted nut will work fine.
Use a sugar substitute such as Splenda.
Use cider vinegar instead of white vinegar.
Broccoli salad multiplies really well to feed a crowd. The recipe using 12 ounces of florets makes 6 servings, so plan on 2 ounces of raw broccoli florets per person and multiply the other ingredients accordingly.