Growing up, my favorite way to eat broccoli was covered in cheddar cheese. Of course, it was probably more cheese sauce than broccoli but I got a thumbs up from my parents for eating my veggies.
Now, my NEW favorite way of enjoying broccoli is raw in this salad…tossed in a delicious sweet n tangy dressing with hints of smoky bacon, scallions, nutty sunflower seeds and a touch of sweet currants or raisins. Sweet, salty, smoky, crunchy and healthy? Yes, it’s possible!
Plus, this dish can easily be made vegetarian or vegan, plus there are options to switch up the ingredients. Dried cranberries or halved grapes can be substituted in place of the currants/raisins. You can swap out the sunflower seeds for slivered almonds, walnuts or pepitas. If you don’t like mayo, just use more olive oil. Add in some smoked cheddar for the bacon if that suites you. Variety and options, you can’t go wrong!
Take this salad on your next picnic, potluck or BBQ, it travels well and is easy to prepare. I’ve been enjoying a big bowl as a quick lunch at work but it can be served as a side dish with your favorite summer or spring meal!
Smoky Broccoli Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Vegetarian/Vegan option, Refined Sugar-free, Quick, Paleo-friendly
2 medium crowns or stalks of broccoli (about 4 cups)
2 scallions, chopped
2 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled/chopped bacon (nitrate free if possible, omit for vegetarian,vegan)*
2-3 Tbsp sunflower seeds (pepitas, slivered almonds or walnuts can be subbed)
2-3 Tbsp currants or raisins (or dried cranberries or halved fresh grapes can be used)**
For the dressing
2 Tbsp mayonnaise or vegan mayo (I’ve used soy-free Vegenaise)
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey or agave (or could use a tiny dash of stevia)
2 -3 tsp dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
a dash of crushed red pepper (omit if you don’t like spicy)
1. Cut off the stems from the broccoli (save for another use) and cut into bite size pieces.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine ingredients for the dressing and whisk until combined.
3. Add broccoli, bacon, seeds (or nuts), scallions and currants/raisins. Toss to combine and serve!
Yields 4 1/2 cups
*For vegetarian, you can swap out the bacon for 1/3 cup diced smoked cheddar cheese. If you omit altogether, you will lose the smoky element but that’s ok, it’s still delicious!
**If using fresh grapes, the salad won’t keep as long. Will be best if eaten same day or the next day.