I love how flexible broccoli bacon salad is in that the ingredient amounts can easily be varied and it still turns out yummy. This recipe is also easily changed by choosing your favorite additions.
For the dressing, I usually mix it in a liquid measuring cup. I usually just eye the amounts. Mix together:
1 cup (real) mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2-3 tablespoons white vinegar (although any vinegar will work; I have used taragon vinegar, rice vinegar, or even red wine vinegar which just changes the color a bit). I like to add some celery seeds as well, just because it makes me feel like I am being fancy.
The first four ingredients below are standard for a broccoli bacon salad, and then add whatever other combinations meet your fancy. Do not add all of the ingredients, just a few of the additionals to make a fun flavor profile. Change it up each time you make it for something new or to meet the season (i.e. cranberries for Thanksgiving, apples for Fall). Add the dressing and mix it all up. The hardest part is the work on the cutting board chopping. This salad is best if left in the refrigerator to marinate at least 5 hours, but overnight is better.
4-5 cups of chopped broccoli (I never measure, just chop away until there's a good amount in the bottom of the bowl).
Chopped (or cut into ringlet halves) red onion (a whole small red onion or half of a large)
Cooked crumbled bacon, about 8 slices (I used the "fully cooked" bacon and stick it in the microwave, let cool, and then chop on my cutting board)
1 or 2 cups cheddar cheese (for the quick variety, I will add a 2 cup pacakge of shredded sharp cheddar cheese; for the gormet and healthier variety, buy a yummy block of cheese and cut into cubes).
Pecans (or walnuts, or almonds)
1 cup broccoli slaw (I like to add this for pot luck dinners to quickly make the salad larger)
Chopped apples (I would add this right before serving to the apples do not brown)
Chopped pears (add before serving)
Halved cherry tomatoes