If you need a versatile salad that will go with most anything and which almost everyone will love, the Broccoli, Raisin, and Bacon Salad (also known as the BRB salad) is an excellent choice. It goes well with everything from fried chicken to sandwiches to sliced meats and beyond.
This is a popular salad in the south. A version of the recipe can be found in most “church cookbooks,” and the salad will surely be found at any church potluck or dinner on the grounds.
This recipe for BRB salad comes from my new favorite cookbook, The Southern Foodie: 100 Places To Eat In The South Before You Die. It is a featured recipe from Countryside Cafe in Ooltewah, TN, a restaurant author Chris Chamberlain describes as having some of “the finest country cooking anywhere in East Tennessee.”
I made this, with a few tweaks, and can attest that it is the best version I’ve ever eaten. The dressing is thinner and more vinegary than most other BRB salads, which are mostly mayonnaise with small bits of sugar and vinegar. This dressing is equal parts mayo, white vinegar, and sugar. Although it is thin, after several hours or overnight in the fridge, it turns out just right.
Broccoli, Raisin, And Bacon Salad (BRB Salad)
3 stalks broccoli (stalks removed and cut into florets)
1/4 large purple onion, chopped
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese (I used sharp)
3 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled (I used applewood smoked)
3/4 cup mayonnaise (recipe says “not low-fat,” but I used low fat)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
Chop broccoli into small pieces, cutting off and discarding stems. Combine broccoli, raisins, cheese, and bacon in large bowl. In separate jar or blender, mix mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar until smooth and well incorporated.
Pour mayonnaise mixture over broccoli mixture. Stir until all salad is completely coated. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, allowing flavors to blend. Serve salad cold.