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Broccoli Bacon Pasta Salad

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1 (6 ounce) box gemelli pasta
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 (16 ounce) bags frozen broccoli florets
1 (16 ounce) package bacon, crisply coked and crumbled
1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 cups dried cranberries

Broccoli Bacon Pasta Salad

Make a classic Broccoli Bacon Salad better with the addition of tart cranberries and tender pasta.

  • Serves 8
  • Easy

About This Recipe

The famous salad of broccoli with bacon and grapes has been around for a while. While this salad is delicious, I wanted to stretch it a bit and make it more of a main dish. So I added pasta, and changed up the dressing. Therefore, Broccoli Bacon Pasta Salad was born.

This salad is fresh and full of wonderful flavors, even though it’s made with frozen broccoli. It’s ideal for a summer meal and is even great as a snack.

You can use fresh broccoli to make the salad if you’d like; just remove the florets and cook them in simmering water for a few minutes until they are tender. Drain and continue with the recipe. And you can add any veggie you’d like to this salad. Just use your own tastes and it will be delicious.

I make a big batch of this recipe and just leave it in the fridge and we eat it until it’s gone. These types of salads are the best way I know to save time and money in the kitchen and save my sanity on hot summer days. (Serve it with Creamy Cheesecake  for a fabulous meal.)

Why this recipe for Broccoli Bacon Pasta Salad works:

  • The combination of tender and slightly bitter broccoli with smooth and slightly sweet pasta, and crisp and salty bacon, is one of the bet combinations in the kitchen.
  • Don’t overcook or undercook the pasta. Pasta should be cooked to al dente. That means “to the tooth” in Italian, and the only way to tell if the pasta has reached that description is to taste it. It should be tender but with a bit of resistance in the center.
  • Add the pasta to the dressing while the pasta is just drained and still hot. That way the pasta will absorb some of the dressing and be more flavorful. And the texture will be preserved.

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Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain.


Sauté the onion in butter until tender.


Prepare the broccoli according to package directions; drain and set aside.


Prepare the bacon.


In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, vinegar, sugar, and honey mustard.


Add the pasta, cooked onion, broccoli, bacon, and dried cranberries and stir to coat.


Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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