My Favorite Broccoli Salad

Monday, February 8, 2021

A quick note: this is my first submission to an exciting new publication, “Recipes — Long & Short,” a forum for minimalist recipes that cut through the chatter and get straight to the tasty truth! This is the perfect recipe, because when you’re SHORT on time, this bad boy of the cruciferous vegetable world can be ready to eat in only half an hour (including a 20-minute marinade!), but when you’ve got time on your hands, it lasts a LONG time in the fridge, so it’s the perfect salad for meal-prep lunches! Now, without further ado: My Favorite Broccoli Salad!

I am a creature of habit.

I go to the gym at the same time every day, wear my hair in an almost religious cycle of down, half-back, braids, repeat, and haven’t touched the Marie Kondo-inspired organization of my closet since I moved in.

In some ways, this is helpful, healthy even. I mean, who ever heard about flossing too regularly?

Yet at the same time, I confess that my fondness for routine does not always encourage much creativity or spontaneity in the kitchen. For example, about a year ago, my mother innocently served a spinach salad with dried cranberries, crumbled feta, and toasted pecans with balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious, right?

I then proceeded to eat that salad almost every day for lunch for the next… okay, fine, yes, I confess! I still make this salad all the time! It’s so good! I can’t help myself!

The tangy creaminess of the feta, the brightness of the cranberry, the toasty goodness of the pecans — or walnuts or almonds, depending on what nuts I have on hand. And who can resist a good balsamic vinaigrette?

So this Broccoli Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing — which you’ll find mimics the flavors of my beloved spinach salad to an embarrassing degree — makes for a lovely change of pace for my lunches. A concession to spontaneity that rarely requiring a trip to the store, this bright and refreshing salad manages to both satiate my desire for variety and indulge my fondness for constancy.

It’s also insanely quick to whip up, and keeps well for days in the fridge, making it the perfect candidate for lunch prep!

Whether you’re the kind of person who always looking for the next best thing or a staunch defender of your tried-and-true PB+J, try this out for lunch next week and see if you don’t feel as zesty as this little number is tasty.

Favorite Broccoli Salad (adapted from the excellent Cookie and Kate)

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 pound broccoli florets (from 1 + 1/2 pounds broccoli stalks), thinly sliced then roughly chopped (we’re just looking for roughly bite-sized pieces, folks)
  • 1/2 cup raw pepitas, slivered almonds, or chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1/2 an onion)
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried tart cherries, chopped
  • Lemon juice
  • Freshly cracked black pepper (optional)

Honey mustard dressing:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (no need to be skimpy here; I tend to be rather generous with my mustard)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1–2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Protocol:

  1. Toast the seeds/nuts! Pour pepitas/slivered almonds/pecans into a medium skillet over medium heat, and cook, stirring frequently (careful, they’ll burn!), until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. (You can also skip this step by using pre-toasted seeds/nuts.) Pour toasted seeds/nuts into a large serving bowl.
  2. Finely dice the red onion and let marinate in a small bowl with a few dashes of lemon juice while the you assemble the rest of the salad; I find the acidity helps cut some of the intensity of the raw onion.
  3. Having let the seeds/nuts cool down just a smidge, add the chopped broccoli, feta, and cranberries to the serving bowl with the toasted seeds/nuts. Set aside.
  4. In a 1-cup liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients: olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, salt. Whisk until the mixture is well-blended.
  5. Strain your diced onion of excess lemon juice, and add to serving bowl with broccoli, feta, cranberries, and toasted seeds/nuts.
  6. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until all of the broccoli is lightly coated in dressing. Let the salad marinate in the fridge, covered, for at least 20 minutes, or even overnight. If I want to eat this bad boy for lunch, I often whip it up first thing in the morning if I’m working from home, or the night before if I’m heading into the office.
  7. Divide the salad into individual bowls and serve. Leftovers keep well for 3 to 4 days in the fridge, covered. In fact, this salad keeps so well that it has become one of my go-to lunch prep recipes: I make a batch on Sunday and then enjoy it throughout the week. Yum!

Happy snacking!

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A repository of recipes in two forms. Short recipes are ingredients and instructions. Long recipes include some background on the dish, details about which ingredients work best, some experimentation from the author, and links to sources and more details. Caters to all cooks.

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Helen Grace

Helen Grace

Pursuing the simple joys of butter, flour, and eggs, 52 weeks a year.

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