Share on Pinterest

Bacon, Apple, and Broccoli Salad

By December 20, 2017Recipes
Reading Time: 3 minutes
The next Whole Life Challenge starts in:

I don’t usually like raw broccoli. Not in a green salad and certainly not by itself. It’s just too crunchy. If crunchy is your thing, more power to you, but I like my salad to be a little more tender.

So when I decided to take on the challenge of creating a raw broccoli salad, I tried a technique I’ve used with kale that I suspected would do the trick. Just like with the kale, I massaged the broccoli with lemon juice and salt. After a nice rub down and sitting for an hour, the broccoli lost much of its “rawness” and turned into a really nice, tender salad.

Even if you don’t typically enjoy raw broccoli, try this broccoli salad and I bet you’ll change your mind.

New Call-to-action

Bacon, Apple, and Broccoli Salad

I massaged the broccoli with lemon juice and salt. After sitting for an hour, the broccoli turned into a tender salad. Even if you don’t typically enjoy raw broccoli, try this broccoli salad and you’ll change your mind.

Category Bacon, Paleo, Salad, Side Dish
Compliance Level Kickstart, Lifestyle, Performance
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 5
Author Michael Stanwyck


  • 4 cups broccoli broken into small florets
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Jonagold apples cored and diced
  • 1 small red onion halved, and sliced thin
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • Rendered bacon fat approximately 3 tbsp
  • 4 Tbsp red wine vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you like to cook your bacon on the stovetop, skip this step.)
  2. Toss broccoli florets with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Rub the broccoli lightly between your hands for 2-3 minutes (don’t skip this as it’s important to soften the broccoli).
  3. Add apples and red onion, toss additionally, and set aside. The longer this all sits, the better. I like to leave it for an hour.
  4. Cook bacon until crisp. My preferred method is to put the bacon in a pan in the oven and cook it for about 18 minutes, until golden and crisp. Whichever way you prepare the bacon, once it’s done, remove it from the pan and set aside to cool. Hang on to 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat, though.
  5. When bacon is cool (about 2 minutes), break or slice it into bite-sized pieces and toss with broccoli mixture.
  6. Just before serving, whisk the rendered bacon fat and red wine vinegar together and toss with salad.

Recipe Notes

Note on the broccoli: I like to use only the florets for this. I cut them off at the top of their stems. The florets will soften in the massaging process, but the stems won’t do that. So I don’t waste the rest of the broccoli, I grate the stems in the food processor and use the grated stems to make my creamy crunchy vinegar vegetable slaw.

Note on slicing onion: Cut the non-root end off the onion and slice the onion in half at the root. Then lay the onion half flat and cut half-moon shaped slices off the end, as thin as you can.

For ultra-thin slices of vegetables: if you don’t have one already, get yourself a Japanese mandoline. It’s really the only way to cut super thin slices of almost anything. At its thinnest setting, it’ll make thin ribbons of the onion. You’ll also love it for any thinly sliced vegetable: carrots, radishes, cucumber, zucchini, etc.

Michael Stanwyck on FacebookMichael Stanwyck on InstagramMichael Stanwyck on Twitter
Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.