Easy Broccoli Salad

DSC_8896 I’ve had a few requests for a few of my quick and easy recipes from my adult children, Cameron and Chelsea.  The list keeps getting longer and I am going to start checking a few off.  This salad is high on that list.  If you are thinking, broccoli salad, who doesn’t know how to make that? Well, this post is for my son, who’s asked for my basic version.  This like most of the recipes I have made for years, had no exact measurements, my recipe that was, a little of this, and a dollop of that.  Spring is finally here, and  it’s BBQ weather season.  I was marinating chicken to grill and thought, “what a great time to make broccoli salad, Oh yes… and measure the ingredients”.

Use this is as a guide  to make Broccoli salad.  The ingredients can easily be changed up depending on what you have on hand.  Check out below for a list of the substitutions I use depending on what is in the pantry or refrigerator.

Ingredients:

  •  5 cups broccoli florets
  •  8 ounces (1/2 package) bacon
  • 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (optional*)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave, honey, maple syrup or sugar
  • dash of Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut up the bacon into bite size pieces and fry until crisp.  Set aside to cool in a bowl lined with paper towel.
  2. Wash and cut up broccoli florets in bite size pieces.  Place in a bowl large enough to toss all the ingredients in.
  3. Thinly slice half of a red onion.
  4. Shred cheddar cheese.
  5. Roast nuts in oven set at 375° for 5 minutes on a lined baking sheet or toss in a pan on the stove top for 3 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the pine nuts.
  6. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, and agave to a bowl.  Whisk until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add all the ingredients to the large bowl with broccoli.  Pour the sauce over the top and toss until combined.
  8. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until ready to serve.

*Substitution ideas:

  • This salad is very versatile.  Originally, I never added cheese, but after my children tried my girlfriend Angie’s version that included lots of yummy cheddar, it was a requirement.  Don’t be afraid to mix it up, I’ve made this using various cheeses.  One of our favorites is a mango stilton which is available at our local grocery store.
  • I often substitute bacon for turkey bacon, prosciutto, pancetta or pea meal bacon.  Of course you may omit it entirely if you like.
  • Red onion is a must for me, but if you’re not a raw onion fan, replace with leeks, chives, green onion, or thin slivers of water chestnuts, radish or jicama.
  •  I swap out the pine nuts with almonds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts or cashews.  If you have an allergy to nuts add sunflower, or pumpkin seeds. dried peas, or soy nuts for that extra crunch.  Be sure to give them a quick roast, it really does bring out the flavour.  If you have a couple extra minutes try candying the nuts.
  •  I love adding dried chopped cranberries to this recipe, you of course could add raisins.  My children had so many raisins when they were little they tend to avoid them now, however in this salad, not a raisin is left behind.
  • For the sweetness I use either maple syrup, honey, agave, sugar, and coconut sugar.  I try to avoid sweeteners if I can now but I have made this sauce with them and it turns out fine.
  • Add 3-4 cups of pasta to this for a Broccoli pasta salad.  You may need to make more dressing.

So go ahead, make your own salad using ingredients that you and your family loves.  Make sure to share your ideas or your yummy combination in the comment box below.

I love storing left over salad in these small mason jars with plastic lids.  They are the perfect size to add to a lunch, as this salad is still great the next day.

DSC_8899

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8 thoughts on “Easy Broccoli Salad

  1. Nancy Cleghorn says:

    I love this salad!! One of my favs! What I love about this dish is you can personalize it with what you like, and I love the idea you added pine nuts! Will try that next time! Thank you, Mina!

    Like

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