Broccoli Salad Basics

broccoli on brown wooden chopping board

Since my children have been very young, they have always had a love for broccoli. Did you know that broccoli salad is a very versatile dish that can be made in an endless variety of ways? Here is a breakdown of the most popular ingredients and dressings.

Ingredients:

The first ingredient is of course fresh broccoli. Two heads will do for an average sized salad. Chop the stem off and cut the flowerettes into bite sized pieces.

Next add some chopped vegetables. The favorites are onion, celery, carrots and cauliflower. Just add as much as you like until it looks like a good mix.

Some people like to add bacon. Fry up 6-8 strips until crispy, drain grease and set aside. Crumble bacon after it’s cooled and add to salad just before serving.

Any type of cheese can be used. It can be cubed, crumbled, shredded, or creamed as part of a dressing.

Fruit is often added to these salads, usually raisins. Also popular are grapes, cranberries, chopped apple, mandarin orange pieces, or any dried fruit.

Adding sunflower seeds or nuts to the mix gives the salad a little extra crunch. Almonds, walnuts, cashews and hazelnuts are good examples. Try not to chop the nuts too small. Keeping the pieces larger helps the flavor of the nut stand out a little. Toasting the nuts with a little seasoning is an option as well.

If you would rather not chop up any fruit or nuts just add some trail mix to the salad instead.

Dressings:

The standard dressing for this salad is a basic mayonnaise/vinegar/sugar mix:

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

  • Mayonnaise can be mixed with yogurt to lighten it up.
  • Flavored vinegar can be used or substituted with lemon or lime juice.
  • Artificial sweetener can be used instead of sugar.

An oil/vinegar dressing can also be used:

1/2 cup salad oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar(optional)
1/2 tsp. salt

  • Flavoured cider or wine vinegar is recommended.
  • Spices such as celery seed, onion powder, basil, and oregano can be added.

Your favorite bottled dressing can be used as well. Any creamy or Italian style dressing will work fine on a broccoli salad . A good one to try is cheese ranch.

Here’s a few various items that could be added to make your salad something original:

  • Any canned vegetable such as peas, corn or beans(black, kidney, garbanzo, waxed, etc.).
  • Fresh vegetables such as mushrooms, chives, bean sprouts, green beans, cucumber and bell peppers.
  • Seafood can make it interesting: shrimp, scallops, salmon, and calamari are good additions.

The Method:

  • Add broccoli flowerettes and any other ingredients you are using to your salad bowl. If you are using crumbled bacon or bacon bits add them just before serving.
  • Add your dressing, mix and refrigerate 2-4 hours or overnight.
  • Stir salad again before serving.
green vegetable on brown wooden table

Does your family enjoy broccoli salad?

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