RECIPE: HEROIC BROCCOLI SALAD
One of my signature salads - this salad morphed from me adding a few bits of chopped broccoli to my spinach side salad, into it’s own heroic right as a great side dish, but also a satisfying main-course salad (a girl's gotta eat)!
I’ve served this at a few parties and have had many wives come tell me that they’ve never seen their husbands eat salad…much less go back for seconds. That should tell you something!! ;-)
And since broccoli is almost always in the top 5 of any ‘healthy food lists’, this is a crave-worthy way to get it in you! We eat this at least once a week in our house!!
PREP TIME: 15 min
SERVES: 2 as a main, 4 as a side
FOR THE DRESSING
1 sachet TASTE OF TUSCANY spice blend
1 cup (240) ml olive oil
¼ cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey or agave*
1 tsp salt
FOR THE SALAD
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces (about 11 oz/ 315 g)
1/8 cup (20 g) onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup (25 g) grated parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp (30 g) toasted pumpkin seeds
salt and pepper to taste
Click here to buy Spice Blend.
MAKE THE DRESSING
(can be made in advance - keeps for at least 2 weeks in the fridge)
1) Whisk first 5 ingredients together in a bowl, then transfer to an airtight container.
2) Heat a pan over medium-high heat and when hot, add the TUSCANY spice blend and 1 TBSP olive oil.
3) Cook for ONE MINUTE, stirring frequently, until the blend becomes golden brown.
4) Add the toasted spices to the container with the dressing and shake well to combine.
MAKE THE SALAD
1) Mix onion and broccoli with ½ to ¾ cup (120 -180 ml) of the above dressing (to taste) and let sit for 8-10 minutes to soften.
2) Add the pumpkin seeds and cheese and mix well.
Season with salt and pepper as desired and transfer to a large serving bowl, or spoon into individual serving bowls.
This dressing is so versatile you can use it on anything from a simple side salad to a hearty chopped veggie salad. It will last at least 2 weeks in the fridge. See this page for other uses: Balsamic Vinaigrette
You need a bit of sweetness to balance the acidity of the vinegar. That said, it will depend on your taste buds AND your vinegar.
An aged balsamic vinegar will be sweeter (and more expense) than a young one.
So, you may or may not decide you need honey. Just taste it and adjust to your personal preference.
You don’t have to be overly exact on the salad ingredients. When I eat this as a main course I add a bit more seeds and parmesan for that extra protein boost and feeling of ‘richness’.
People have different levels of salt tastes (as well as health requirements) so while I always season the broccoli and onion with a pinch of salt after I toss them with the dressing – this might not be for everyone, so just experiment with what works for your taste buds!
It’s important to let the broccoli and onion soften in the dressing for a bit as broccoli needs time to absorb the dressing. This also takes the bite out of the raw onion, and the chalkiness out of the raw broccoli while retaining all it’s nutrients (i.e. don’t need to cook it).
Recipe & Photo Credit: Cathy Menees