I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy salad bars. I like piling a random assortment of vegetables, fruits, dressings, nuts and seeds on my plate. It’s so much more fun than getting a regular salad assembled by someone else. I mean, maybe I don’t want just Caesar salad. Maybe I want some Caesar salad, and a spoonful of Waldorf salad to go with it. If I want to plop some baby corns or cherry tomatoes on my mixed greens, I can do that. And if my favorite salad bar staple, broccoli salad, is there, then awww yeah.
Sadly, broccoli is not one of the shining stars of the vegetable aisle. Admittedly, I didn’t like it when I was growing up – and I wasn’t one of those kids who eschewed her vegetables at every turn. I generally ate my peas and string beans without a fuss, and considered carrots and cucumbers to be pretty neat snacks, but unless broccoli was slathered in Velveeta, I wanted no part of it – and even then, I’d bite the florets off the stalks, leaving those behind…possibly concealing them under some mashed potatoes.
But now, I can get down with broccoli. Especially if it’s tossed together with some other veggies, bacon, cheese and a creamy dressing.
Okay, okay, I get it – this might not be that much better than drowning your florets in melted cheese, but this broccoli salad features green beans, edamame, and only a small amount of grated cheddar and bacon. It’s not junk food. In fact, I would go so far as to call it a respectable lunch and/or dinner side. So there.
I did some Internet-digging, and this recipe from Simply Recipes stood out from the rest, mostly because she blanches the broccoli instead of using it raw – and that, my friends, makes quite a difference, nudging broccoli salad over the line between good and hhhyyyyuuuummm. Plus, it makes your broccoli bright green and oh-so-pretty.
Of course, I made quite a few changes, because that’s what I do. As a side note, I will be halving the recipe for the dressing here. I followed the measurements provided in Simply Recipes and ended up with waaaaayyyyyyy too much. You really do not need that much.
Broccoli salad (adapted from Simply Recipes)
4-5 cups of broccoli florets
1/4 cup green beans
1/3 cup edamame, shelled
2 tbsp diced shallots
1/3 cup crumbled, cooked bacon
1/2 cup mayo
1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
Fill a large bowl with ice water.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add your broccoli florets. Cook for one to two minutes, depending on how crunchy you want your broccoli to be (I cooked mine for about a minute and a half). Don’t overcook – you want your broccoli to retain its crunch! Drain the broccoli and dump it into the bowl of ice water, immediately. Let cool and drain.
Drain the ice-water broccoli, then add your edamame, green beans, shallots and bacon to the bowl with your broccoli. Set aside, and make your dressing.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayo, cider vinegar, honey and dijon. Pour the dressing over your vegetables and toss to coat. Top with grated cheddar, and serve, as a side dish or a salad lunch. Or dinner, if you’re one of those salad-for-dinner folks.