Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Recipe Makeover: Broccoli Salad

This recipe is a little premature for the summer barbecues it is normally seen at, but so what? I mean, there really isn't a "season" for a good salad, in my opinion. This was actually the product of a brain-dead moment where I honestly just couldn't think of a single item to bring to lunch with friends. Is this the cooking equivalent of writer's block??

Anyway, I took a southern classic and healthified it. (Yes, that's a word-healthified). I did a general recipe search to see what kind of variations I could find, and then went with one of the simpler ones. I like the simple dressing, combination of salty, sweet and savory, and the fact that the broccoli is barely cooked. I loved the results. Chris wasn't a big fan of the cold broccoli, but he's from California so what does he know about southern-style barbecues? (I say this with love!). Anyway, it was pretty easy and my lunch-bunch liked it too, unless they were just being polite. But I know them better than that! :)

How is this healthier? Well, I significantly cut down on the high calorie add-ins (raisins and bacon) and I eliminated the nuts. You could add in a few tablespoons of sunflower seeds or slivered almonds, if desired. The pre-crumbled bacon (real bacon) sold in the condiment section is only 25 calories per tablespoon because it contains a lot less fat. And the real healthy kicker is subbing the yogurt for the traditional mayo. This is totally do-able in this kind of salad (See my notes for straining the yogurt following the recipe). However, if the idea of eliminating mayo completely is scary to you, then try doing half mayo and half plain yogurt; or even using a little light sour cream. It reaaally adds up!

"Healthified" Broccoli Salad
Serves 4-6

  • 5-6 cups broccoli florets (I used 2 small heads)
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3-4 Tbs finely chopped red onion
  • 3 Tbs crumbled bacon bits
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, or regular plain yogurt that's been strained*
  • 1 Tbs cider vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbs honey
1. Blanch broccoli florets in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, depending on desired doneness. (I opted for 30 seconds). Drain, and immediately submerge in ice water to stop the cooking process. Broccoli should still be bright green and crisp.

2. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, onion, peas, and raisins. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, and 1 Tbs honey. Add more honey to reach desired sweetness. (I ended up with 1 1/2 Tbs). Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and gently toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. Stir in crumbled bacon immediately before serving.

*Straining regular plain yogurt is important, otherwise the dressing will get pretty runny after a few minutes. To strain, line a mesh strainer with a paper towel over the sink or a bowl and pour yogurt over the paper towel. Allow to strain for at least 20-30 minutes. The yogurt will thicken up to sour cream consistency. Viola!

Original recipe can be found at: Simply Recipes blog.

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