Broccoli Raisin and Purple Cauliflower Salad
We eat with our eyes so this recipe is a visual feast! Broccoli Raisin and Purple Cauliflower Salad is colorful, healthy, chock full of vegetables, dried fruit and nuts … and just down right yummy! It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and I give you a sugar-free option.
You can make it ahead of time and there’s plenty of flavor options in the recipe so you can get creative.
Pin to Pinterest to make for later!
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How did I come up with Broccoli Raisin and Cauliflower Salad you ask?
It is a variation of a recipe I developed for Christmas with Southern Living 2010 cookbook, Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pistachios (page 148). Both recipes are variations of the traditional broccoli raisin salad you might have seen at a potluck or holiday family buffet.
The traditional sweet and tangy salad has broccoli, raisins, and typically toasted pecans and ALWAYS bacon. The dressing is made with mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. My variation for the Christmas cookbook traded out half of the broccoli florets for cauliflower, adding a contrasting white color to the green broccoli. I swapped dried cranberries for raisins and pistachios for pecans.
I created Broccoli Raisin and Cauliflower Salad this weekend because WBRC Good Day Alabama anchor, Janice Rogers, asked if I could make my Roasted Purple Cauliflower on my next cooking segment on GDA after she saw it on my Instagram page. I needed a second recipe using purple cauliflower so I decided to make another variation for the segment.
Since yellow is opposite purple on the color wheel, I used golden raisins. I kept the pistachios but pecans, sunflower seeds, walnuts and pine nuts would work just fine. I opted for green onion instead of red onion in this version. I used red wine vinegar but apple cider vinegar works, too.
Why is purple cauliflower purple?
It is naturally this vibrant hue of purple thanks to an antioxidant called anthocyanin. It’s the same antioxidant found in red cabbage and red wine. It has a short peak season from about August to September-October but often found at the larger grocery stores and farmers markets.
The cauliflower on the left from Frieda’s Specialty Produce is raw and the head on the right is blanched (boiled 1 minute). What a drastic color change just from slightly cooking it! I’m amazed at both gorgeous colors. Go here for my Roasted Purple Cauliflower recipe that is the color of the head on the left.
What do I need to make Broccoli Raisin and Purple Cauliflower Salad?
- Half of one head purple or white cauliflower
- 2 crowns or half of one head broccoli
- 5 slices bacon
- 2 green onions or chopped red onion
- 3/4 cup golden raisins or raisins
- Chopped pistachios or pecans
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper
How do I cut a head of cauliflower into florets?
To cut the cauliflower and broccoli into florets, remove the outer leaves and bottom of the core. Turn the halves over (only using half a head) and start cutting the stems “to but not through” the other end of the flowers. If you simply start chopping the heads, you will have tiny little buds flying everywhere and lose value vegetable this way.
As you are cutting from the stem to almost the other side of the flower buds, gently pull them apart. This prevents the knife from cutting up the buds and keeps the floret in tact. Keep cutting the larger pieces into smaller florets until you have cut them into about 1 inch florets.
Don’t discard the stems! Chop those up, too! Those are just as yummy.
Can I make this salad ahead of time?
Broccoli Raisin and Purple Cauliflower Salad can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time after all the ingredients are combined. I like to hold out the bacon until right before serving so it still has a crunch.
You can also chop all the ingredients and combine the dressing ingredients separately two days ahead of time, then combine them up to 24 hours before serving.
Can I make this salad sugar-free?
Easy. Two things:
- Be sure to use a mayonnaise that is sugar-free. Dukes mayonnaise is sugar-free.
- Trade out the sugar for 1 tablespoon Splenda or 1 teaspoon powdered stevia
You may have to adjust the amount according to your taste. This salad is a sweet and tangy salad but not meant to be overly sweet.
So get creative with this colorful veggie salad and create your own! I’d love to see your creation if you make it. Tag me o social media or use the hashtag #gritsandgouda so I can see. Don’t forget to pin the recipe on Pinterest for later.
Where’s the shortcut?
Broccoli and cauliflower florets are sold in refrigerated packages in the produce section of grocery stores. I haven’t seen purple cauliflower pre-chopped, but plenty of white!
Another shortcut is to purchase a bottle of cole slaw dressing or poppy seed salad dressing. Both are on the sweet side and creamy side so they are perfect substitutions for the homemade mayo-based dressing in this recipe.
I cringe at bottles of “bacon bits” but pre-cooked bacon slices, crumbled is a good shortcut. Also, in the recipe, I describe my technique for cutting the bacon up into small pieces before cooking. That is a shortcut because you don’t have to babysit turning slices of bacon and no messy crumbling after cooking.
Watch the WBRC Good Day Alabama video on how to make Broccoli-Raisin and Purple Cauliflower Salad
Other Salads you may enjoy:
We eat with our eyes so this recipe is a visual feast! Broccoli Raisin and Purple Cauliflower Salad is colorful, healthy, chock full of vegetables, dried fruit and nuts ... and just down right yummy! It's gluten-free, dairy-free, and I give you a sugar-free option.
- 5 slices uncooked bacon
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 of one head purple or white cauliflower about 4 cups florets
- 1/2 of one head broccoli about 4 cups florets
- 3/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pistachios or pecans
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onion or Vidalia onion
Stack the slices of bacon and slice crosswise all at one time into 1/4-inch thick pieces. This will save time turning whole slices while frying and crumbling after cooking. Cook bacon pieces in a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat for about 7 minutes, stirring often, until crisp and browned. Drain on paper towels.
Meanwhile, combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl: mayo, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
To cut the cauliflower and broccoli into florets, remove the outer leaves and bottom of the core. Turn the halves over (only using half a head) and start cutting the stems "to but not through" the other end of the flowers. If you simply start chopping the heads, you will have tiny little buds flying everywhere and lose value vegetable this way.
As you are cutting from the stem to almost the other side of the flower buds, gently pull them apart. This prevents the knife from cutting up the buds and keeps the floret in tact. Keep cutting the larger pieces into smaller florets until you have cut them into about 1 inch florets. Don't discard the stems! Chop those up, too! Those are just as yummy.
Combine cauliflower, broccoli, raisins, pistachios, and green onion in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir gently to coat. You can add bacon now or save til right before serving.
Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes and up to 24 hours before serving.
Make ahead: You can combine the veggies, raisins, nuts, onion, and bacon in one bowl. Make dressing in a separate bowl up to 2 days before serving and combine the two the day you want to serve it.