A classic creamy broccoli salad has long been my favorite potluck side dish. I’m always delighted when I show up to a party and see a bowl of it set out on the table… there’s just something about the combination of sweet, creamy dressing, crunchy broccoli, and smoky bacon that I can’t get enough of. But I have great news – this salad takes all of those wonderful things but adds tender, chewy rotini to the mix so you get the comfort of carbs with your broccoli salad. It’s really the best of both worlds.
This has all the classic components of a broccoli salad – the broccoli (of course), red onion, sunflower seeds, bacon, dried cranberries (but raisins are fine too if you prefer!) – so you get tons of delicious crunch but it’s also a pasta salad at heart, thanks to the rotini.
And that signature sweet and creamy dressing? Well, it works just as well with a pasta salad as it does with a veggie-based one.
This salad is sturdy enough that it makes for great lunch meal prep – it only seems to get better in the fridge – and I love to bring it to picnics and parties for that same reason, but also because it fills the need in so many categories. Pasta salad, green salad, veggie dish? This one does it all!
Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad
5m prep time
15m cook time
- 4 cups broccoli florets, chopped
- 12 oz rotini pasta
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, vinegar, mayonnaise, sour cream, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Add drained pasta, broccoli, red onion, cranberries, and sunflower seeds to bowl. Toss to combine.
- Chill until ready to serve (at least one hour), then add bacon, toss again, and enjoy.
Recipe adapted from The Country Cook.