Classic Paleo Broccoli Salad with Bacon Recipe

Broccoli salad is one of my favorite sides at a backyard bbq.  But due to all of the added sugar and seed oils found in most recipes, I can rarely enjoy a classic broccoli salad at cookouts. This summer, I was determined to create a paleo version to make a healthy broccoli salad.  I wanted to create the perfect side dish for this warmer weather.  That’s how this recipe for delicious broccoli salad covered in creamy, tangy dressing was born.

Summer Gatherings

My tip for summer gatherings is to always sign up to bring a salad.  There is almost always some form of clean protein like grilled chicken or burgers available or sometimes even beef hot dogs.  If you get to the party and can’t eat anything other than this salad and one of the grilled protein options, at least you can make a complete meal out of protein and the best broccoli salad.  

Low Carb Salad

If you’re following a low carb protocol, the mayo-based dressing on this delicious and simple salad is the perfect way to hit your macros for the day.  It’s loaded with healthy fats but doesn’t include any of the junk typically found in this classic recipe.

Complete Meal

If you happen to love broccoli salad as much as I do, you can even add this recipe to your weeknight dinner rotation.  You can add avocado slices for a vegetarian option, or your favorite protein to the top of the salad like grilled chicken or salmon.

Before sharing this recipe with you, I made several tweaks and modifications to traditional broccoli salads to get the texture and taste just right.

Shredded Florets – I personally am not a big fan of biting into a large, piece of raw broccoli covered in a creamy dressing.  But, when you give the broccoli florets a few pulses in the food processor, they transform into small florets.  That makes for the perfect bite with room for raisins, bacon, red onion, and sunflower seeds in every bite.  Also, due to the size of the florets, you don’t have to soften the broccoli in boiling water as called for in some recipes.

Creamy – Some broccoli salads barely have any creamy dressing and some have too much.  Finding that perfect balance took some extra effort but it was worth it in the end.  This paleo broccoli salad delivers the perfect amount of creaminess in every bite.

broccoli salad ingredients in bowl
broccoli salad ingredients

Simple Ingredients

  • Broccoli Florets – As mentioned above, I like to add my florets to the food processor and give it a few pulses to get the broccoli in bite-sized pieces.  In order to get 6 cups of shredded florets, you will need about two heads of broccoli, or one big bag of broccoli from Costco.  
  • Raisins – I love the sweet addition of raisins, but you can substitute for dried cranberries or dried cherries if you prefer.  You can also use red grapes, sliced in half.
  • Bacon – No substitutions here.  Freshly cooked bacon is best for this recipe.  I like to bake the bacon in the oven at 425 on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until crisp or the Air Fryer for 5 minutes or more as needed. Once the bacon is cooked through and crispy, I’ll transfer the crispy bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess grease and cool while I prepare the remaining ingredients.
  • Red Onion – Rather than dice the red onion as is called for in most recipes (it’s too much onion for me), I like to thinly slice the red onions and then quarter them as shown in the picture of the final recipe.  Then, I soak in cold water for about 15 minutes to take the bite away.  I find this gives the salad just the right, pungent bite without being too overpowering.
  • Sunflower Seeds – Crunchy sunflower seeds are a classic ingredient in this classic summer salad.  However, if you prefer, slivered almonds make a nice substitute.
  • Avocado Mayonnaise – To avoid the inflammatory seed oils like canola oil found in most store-bought mayonnaise.  I opted for an avocado oil mayonnaise.  Sir Kensington and Chosen Foods are my two favorite brands.
  • Lemon Juice – I used lemon juice in this recipe for two reasons.  First, the dressing is intended to be slightly tangy.  Second, I find that avocado oil mayonnaise has a subtle aftertaste without the addition of lemon juice.  If preferred, apple cider vinegar is an excellent substitute.
  • Onion and Garlic Powder – Usually, I say “fresh is best”, but for this recipe, you can use the powdered version and it tastes amazing.
  • Dried parsley – If you are using fresh instead of dried, cut in half.
  • Green Onions – While I intentionally wrote the recipe with mostly powdered and dried herbs and spices, I recommend using fresh green onions.  There’s no other way to replicate the taste.  To get 1/3 cup of green onions, I would dice about three green onions.
  • Maple Syrup – This touch of maple syrup adds just the perfect subtle sweetness to this dressing.  Honey is a great substitute.
  • Salt – I always use Himalayan salt, but any salt will work for this recipe.  Be sure to taste test at the end and add more salt if needed.  I’m not a huge fan of black pepper, so I omitted. Feel free to add half to a full teaspoon.


This salad keeps well for 3-4 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container.

broccoli salad

Classic Paleo Broccoli Salad with Bacon Recipe

Sarah Erickson
This is an easy, low carb salad that is perfect for summer!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American


  • 6 cups broccoli florets shredded
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • Dressing Ingredients
  • 1 ¼ cup avocado mayonnaise
  • 3 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/3 cup green onions sliced
  • 3 TBS maple syrup
  • ½ tsp salt


  • In a large bowl, add the Broccoli Salad Ingredients. See the tips above on how to shred florets to smaller, bite size pieces, two ways to cook bacon, and how to soak the red onions in water for 15 minutes to take the “bite” out.
  • In a separate bowl, add the dressing ingredients. Give it a good stir, or even better use an emulsion blender, and then pour over the broccoli salad in the larger bowl. Stir to combine completely and enjoy!
Keyword broccoli salad, gluten free, low carb, paleo, salad, side dish, summer cookout

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply