This healthy Broccoli Salad with bacon and cheddar is a reinvention of the classic my Grandmother used to make. This version is only 170 calories and 4 grams of net carbs per serving! It’s super easy to make and it only takes 20 minutes!

a side view of a wooden bowl heaped with broccoli salad with bacon

I originally shared this recipe on January 2, 2013. I have updated the images and some of the text today.

Why I Love This Healthy Broccoli Salad

This Broccoli Salad always makes me think of my Grandma Ginger. Her version of this broccoli salad was much more indulgent, but I think you all will appreciate my healthier version of her recipe. The broccoli is raw and crunchy, the bacon is salty and smoky, and the cheddar is tangy and sharp.

This combination of flavors and ingredients is one we come back to every summer, and it always makes me think of Gramma Ginger. Pair it with your favorite grilling recipes, burgers and cookout classics.

Recipe Highlights

  • I like to make the creamy Greek Yogurt dressing directly in the mixing bowl of the salad. It saves an extra bowl to wash! 
  • This recipe only takes 20 minutes to whip together – it’s so quick and easy!
  • My healthier version is lower in carbs and fat than a lot of broccoli salads.
  • Vermont extra-sharp cheddar. Need I say more?
a close up of broccoli salad with bacon

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

An overhead view of the ingredients and a bowl of broccoli salad.

Greek Yogurt

There are broccoli salads without creamy dressing, like this vegan broccoli salad of mine, but in the case of this Healthy Broccoli Salad, I wanted it to be creamy just like the classic! So I used a half cup of Greek Yogurt and only 1/4 cup of mayonnaise for the base of the dressing. Greek yogurt saves you about 700 calories per batch!

Vinegar

I like the way the apple cider vinegar really amps up the dressing. It makes the taste a little tart, which makes the broccoli seem sweeter by comparison. It also balances the salty bacon and cheese.

Mustard

I added a relatively bold amount of brown deli mustard to this broccoli salad dressing to play off the cheddar cheese. It makes it taste cheesier, that way you can get away with only using 4 ounces of cheese per batch. If you’re not a big mustard fan or prefer a more mild dressing, drop the mustard to 1 tablespoon. If you’re wondering if you can sub in Dijon instead, that is fine, but it is much stronger than Brown Deli mustard, so only use 2 1/2 teaspoons of Dijon.

Bacon

I am a firm believer in everything in moderation, and I love the way a little bit of bacon makes a bowl of raw broccoli simply irresistible. The key is to use just enough to give the salad flavor, without adding too many calories, or saturated fat. I found that 4 strips of crispy cooked bacon are just enough to give the broccoli salad that smoky bacon flavor, but keep it on the healthy side.

You can either cook your bacon on the stove, in the microwave (use lots of paper towels!), or here’s how to cook bacon in the oven. Whichever way you choose, make sure to cook it until it is crispy and then drain it well to eliminate excess fat.

Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese

To get the most flavor for the calories, choose the sharpest available cheddar. I am partial to those from Vermont, but wherever you are, look for Extra Sharp. You’ll find that one cup (4 ounces) is all that’s needed to make this broccoli salad taste great! 

Vegetables

There’s chopped raw broccoli – obviously – and minced shallot, but I also added fresh fennel to this salad. I love the way the flavor is slightly sweet, and it really helps to balance the savory bacon, cheddar, and tart Greek yogurt dressing. If you do not care for fennel, use celery instead. Either are great because they add a nice texture and crunch and bulk up the serving size! 

Step By Step Instructions To Make Low-Fat Broccoli Salad

Step 1: Combine Ingredients

Whisk the yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Then, add your bacon, shallot, broccoli, fennel, and cheddar, and stir everything together to coat it with the dressing. Simple as that!

An overhead view of a wooden bowl with broccoli salad and a blue ceramic dish with sliced fennel in it on a gray wooden table

FAQs and Expert Tips

Can I make broccoli salad ahead?

This broccoli salad is a great make-ahead recipe because it doesn’t get soggy or lose its appearance at all. You can make it up to two days in advance. The dressing can be made 5 days in advance! 

Does the broccoli have to be raw in broccoli salad?

Yes! The crunch and freshness of raw chopped broccoli is one of the major appeals of broccoli salad. The dressing helps moisten the broccoli while adding some sweetness, and trust me, you will love it.

What To Serve With Broccoli Salad

Broccoli salad is pretty much perfect for any summertime gathering because it does sit so well. Unlike a tossed green salad, it doesn’t wilt at all. It is also great at room temperature, so it is a really nice recipe to make for a potluck or covered dish.

I like to make it when we have friends over for a barbecue. Typically I will make grilled steak or barbecued chicken

As far as other side dishes to serve with the Broccoli Salad, I would probably choose vinegar-based dressings, as opposed to more creamy sides, so this Vegan Potato Salad would be great with it. Or Asian Coleslaw is always a favorite. 

Additional Recipes To Try

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Broccoli salad from overhead with a dish of fennel next to it.

Healthier Broccoli Salad


  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Diet: Low Fat

Description

You will probably want to make a double batch because everyone will want seconds of this Broccoli Salad Recipe! It’s a healthier version of the classic version my grandmother made with Bacon, Cheddar and creamy dressing, but it is still absolutely delicious!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, preferable low-fat or non-fat
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 5 cups chopped raw broccoli
  • 1 cup finely chopped fennel bulb
  • 1 cup shredded shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, preferably Vermont (4 ounces)

Instructions

  1. Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Add bacon, shallot, broccoli, fennel and cheddar and stir to coat with the dressing.

Notes

To Make Ahead: The dressing can be made up to 5 days ahead. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. The salad can be made in its entirely two days ahead. Stir again to redistribute the dressing just before serving.

Note about the Mustard: I added a relatively bold amount of brown deli mustard to this broccoli salad dressing to play off the cheddar cheese. It makes it taste cheesier, that way you can get away with only using 4 ounces of cheese per batch. If you’re not a big mustard fan, or prefer a more mild dressing, drop the mustard to 1 tablespoon. If you’re wondering if you can sub in Dijon instead, that is fine, but it is much stronger than Brown Deli mustard, so only use 2 1/2 teaspoons of Dijon.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup each
  • Calories: 170 cal
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 7 g

Keywords: Healthy Broccoli Salad, Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Raw Broccoli Salad, Healthy Broccoli Salad Recipe, Low Fat Broccoli Salad