Broccoli salad. Yum! I love salads, and the best ones are always the simplest. The key to simple, yet amazingly delicious, salads are the quality of the ingredients. For this salad we have four key ingredients; broccoli (well that’s a no-brainer, you can’t have broccoli salad without broccoli), dried cranberries (plump red gems of sweet and tart that are a step-up from the traditional raisin), toasted slivered almonds (toasting makes ALL the difference here, people), and red onion (a little spicy kick). Then, we combine all of these beauties with a tangy, sweet, vinegary yogurt dressing and serve. Like a lot of salads, this one is very good the first day, but is even better the second day. That way, the dressing has had time to properly marry with all of the ingredients.
Another thing I love about this salad is the fact that it is super adaptable. Don’t have dried cranberries? Then substitute some dried cherries, even good old raisins would taste good. No apple cider vinegar? In a pinch, red wine vinegar makes an equally tasty (but definitely punchier) dressing. Feel free to experiment with different nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. If you come up with any delicious variations, post them in the comments below!
Yet another thing I love about this salad–I know, there’s a lot of things I love–is the dressing. It is much healthier than your traditional milky dressings, but it sacrifices absolutely no flavor. I daresay, it tops them! You could definitely use the base (yogurt, milk, and vinegar) and flavor it in so many different ways for completely new flavors. Go ahead, experiment!
This recipe is heavily adapted from smittenkitchen (http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/05/broccoli-slaw/)
For the salad:
2 heads of broccoli (stems and florets) washed, florets trimmed and stalk cut into fourths lengthwise*
heaping o.25 cup dried cranberries
heaping 0.25 cup slivered almonds, toasted**
half of a red onion, finely chopped and rinsed well (this is crucial, and takes off the bitter edge)
For the dressing:
0.25 cup plain yogurt
0.25 cup milk
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (with the Mother is preferred)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
freshly ground black pepper
Make the dressing: In a liquid measuring cup, measure in the yogurt and milk and stir well. Add the vinegar and sugar, then add in salt and black pepper to taste. Add in the red onion and set aside.
Make the salad: Slice the broccoli florets according to your taste and throw into the serving bowl. Take the broccoli stem fourths and thinly slice them at an angle. Toss them with the cranberries, almonds, red onion, and florets. When the dry ingredients are thoroughly combined, pour dressing over, toss and serve.
This should keep about a week in the fridge and makes about 6 servings.
*If you don’t like the stem, you can substitute another head or two of florets.
**To toast almonds, place them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toss occasionally until they begin to start browning, then toss almost constantly. Toast until they are a very fragrant and a nice, nutty brown. The key here is to NOT WALK AWAY. I cannot tell you how many times I have ruined completely fine nuts by burning them.