I cannot recall exactly when I first had broccoli salad - but keep in mind I am talking about the last century. You know the salad I mean - broccoli florets, combined with bacon, red onion, raisins etc. I loved it, though it seems to me it became unpopular for a while - and then re-appeared well over a decade ago - especially in commercial salad bars. I have not been able to find any official history on this. It was not part of my childhood. Who might have come up with it? I am laying bets on it being the Best of Bridge ladies. Did you know they are Canadian? The group of seven friends began publishing in 1975, are still friends - and have since sold over 4 million copies of their various publications.
If I am right that it went out of fashion for a while, the comeback might be linked to the attention given to the nutritional value of broccoli. Additionally, I have lost count of the number of times I have read about the connection between broccoli and cancer prevention - undoubtedly that fueled some of the resurgence.
Here's the problem. There are versions of this salad that use a cup of mayo and a half cup of sugar - seems to nullify the nutritional value... Google 'broccoli salad' and you get over 1.5 million results! Among them you can find lighter versions of this recipe, and I am sharing one from @thekitchn that I recently stumbled upon. It uses only a half cup of mayo and two tablespoons sugar. I served it at a family meal and it was a success!
Another interesting feature of this recipe is that it uses the stalk of the broccoli. I was going to use their cheat suggestion of buying a prepped broccoli slaw. These have become so popular that a head of broccoli is now often sold without the stalk! I confess that although I knew one could save the stalk for other uses - e.g. check out my post on broccoli risotto - I did often trash it. No more! So easy to use my food processor's shredding tool. Note: if you do this, cut the stalk into lengths that fit the width of the processor's feed tube and lay these pieces sideways in the chute to get slightly longer slaw pieces. Peel the stalk first if it seems to be not ideally fresh. (Makes 12 x 1/2 -cup servings.)
1/3 cup currants
Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the currants in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes, then drain off the water.
2 lbs broccoli (1 large head)
Cut the head of the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Shred the broccoli stalk in a food processor using the grater disk (the attachment with the holes, not the blade). If your food processor has two grater sizes, choose the larger holes.
1/2 red onion
3/4 cup slivered almonds
Chop the onions into pieces as preferred - little chunks, thin slices, finely chopped.
Optional: toast almonds - on the stove or in a 350 F oven for 5-10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, currants, red onion, and almonds.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 TB lemon juice
2 TB rice vinegar
2 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and a generous quantity of fresh pepper.
Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt or pepper (or sugar?), if needed.
Allow to sit for 30 minutes (or an hour in the fridge) so the flavors can mingle.
Notes and Tips...
- Currants - I prefer currants, but one could add any dried fruit - raisins or craisins - and the latter now comes in a reduced sugar version; organic dried fruit can be used to avoid additives
- Broccoli prep - if grating, cut the stalk into lengths that fit the width of the processor's feed tube and lay these pieces sideways in the chute to get slightly longer slaw pieces. Peel the stalk first if it seems to be not ideally fresh. Buy pre-shredded broccoli slaw as an alternative - usually packaged as 4-6 cups.
- Mayonnaise - you can use vegetarian mayo; I think next time I may even try a mayo / yogurt combo
- Bacon? - not included in this recipe, but add it if you must and remember that turkey bacon is supposedly healthier.
- Make ahead - the broccoli and onions could be prepped, and the dressing mixed. This was edible the next day, but not as fresh and "pretty" - so aim for same day.
- For KB Recipe Attribution Practices please click here.
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