Bring a pot of water to boil. Chop broccoli into very small florets and set aside. Fill a large bowl with cold water and a cup of ice cubes.
Add a generous pinch of salt to boiling water and add broccoli. Boil for 20 seconds. Drain broccoli and transfer to prepared bowl with ice water. Let broccoli sit in cold water for a few minutes, until cool. Drain and lay broccoli out onto some paper towels to drain. Allow to continue air drying while you prepare other parts of the recipe.
To a small mixing bowl, add poppyseed dressing ingredients, then whisk together until smooth and combined. Set aside.
Add finely chopped red onion to a small bowl of cold water and let sit 5 minutes, then drain. This takes some of the “bite” out of the raw onion.
To a large mixing bowl, add dried broccoli florets, bacon, drained raw onion, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, and cheddar cheese. Toss with citrus poppyseed dressing (start with about half the dressing, and increase to your liking).
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Toss and serve.
Letting the broccoli salad sit in the fridge for 30 minutes or more allows the flavors to really combine, and will make for a more flavorful salad. Can be made up to 24 hours in advance, which makes it great for a party!
4 1/2cupsfresh broccoli, cut into small floretsabout 2 heads of broccoli
5slicescenter cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4cupred onion, finely chopped
2/3cupdried cranberries(reduced sugar would work too)
1/3cuproasted sunflower seeds
1cupsharp cheddar cheese, cut into very small cubes(or shredded if you prefer)
CREAMY CITRUS POPPYSEED DRESSING:
2/3cupcanola mayo(or regular full-fat mayo)
1Tbspapple cider vinegar
zest of 1 small lemon
zest of 1/2 orange
1-2Tbsplemon juicefreshly squeezed
pinch of black pepper
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