The weather in Atlanta is warming up, so I've got to stop roasting all of my veggies and find new, cold dishes to make. Of course, it's also helpful if I can find something that lasts a couple of days for lunches and snacks. Thus, my current salad pursuit of a great broccoli salad. If you've ever been to Breadwinner Cafe in Sandy Springs, you might understand my feverish attempt to replicate their broccoli dish. They have mastered the balance of fresh, raw broccoli with sweet and savory bits that make my mouth very happy. For months I've been all over the web in search of the perfect recipe and I've been mostly disappointed. For my tastes, the "traditional" broccoli salad is too heavy on the mayonnaise and lacks enough contrast in textures.
So, what follows is what I've pieced together from my assorted trials. Ready? Here's your shopping list:
- 5 cups of broccoli tops
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1/2 of red onion, diced (put in cold water for 15 minutes if you want to mellow the taste of the onion)
- 1/2 cup craisins (feel free to reduce to 1/4 cup if you want to save calories)
- 1/2 cup cooked & crumbled bacon (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped or sliced almonds (optional)
- 2/3 cup lite mayo
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar (plain vinegar works too, but it's less flavorful)
The first thing I do is make the "dressing" so that the flavors have time to settle together. For that, whisk together the last three items on your shopping list; mayo, sugar, vinegar. Taste and make sure that you taste as you go and that you like the flavors. Remember, if you don't like it in the bowl, you won't like it in the salad! If the consistency seems too thick, add a little bit more vinegar. Put in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Next, chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces. You don't want to have to use a knife to eat this salad!
Next, chop the onion (put in ice water for a 10-15 minutes if you don't want a strong onion flavor) and grate the carrots. Add to the bowl with the broccoli. Put in the craisins at this stage as well.
Add the dressing to the bowl and toss together. My goal was to have a light coating of the dressing, so you should add more or less depending on your taste.
Put in the fridge to chill through. This is a great dish to make the night before a party because the longer the flavors hang out together, the better. I also like making this salad because if I need to change the laundry or stop the dog from destroying something, nothing gets burned or ruined!
I toss in the nuts and the bacon right before serving because I don't like either of them sitting in the dressing too long.
Always serve this dish in a glass bowl. The colors are too pretty to hide!