I pulled this recipe for Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad from the September 2011 issue of Southern Living Magazine and placed it in my recipe folder a year ago. It seemed like an odd combination of ingredients and I wasn’t sure that I’d like it, but I was curious so in my folder it went.

I remember thinking at the time that this recipe would either be great or it would be awful, and today I put it to the test. It was fabulous. From the tangy sweet and sour dressing to the crunchy broccoli,  pecans, and red onion; smoky bacon, cool crisp grapes, and chewy bow tie pasta this salad has everything a salad lover craves and more–it’s a regular party in your mouth. I made a couple of  revisions to the recipe to suit my taste and reduce the preparation time and I’ve noted them below. I hope you enjoy this pasta salad as much as my family did.

Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad

1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted (I didn’t bother to toast them)
1 16-oz. box bow-tie pasta (cooked al dente)
1 lb. fresh broccoli
1 cup mayonnaise (I used Duke’s mayonnaise)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (I used a jar of Hormel real bacon pieces)

Prepare pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, separating the florets into small pieces with a paring knife. Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar in a large bowl, add broccoli florets, pasta, diced onions, grapes, bacon, and pecans. Cover and chill for 3 hours (or eat it immediately like I did because it’s so darn good and I couldn’t wait). Give this refreshing salad a try and let me know what you think.

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