Broccoli Salad is an incarnation of broccoli even the most stubborn of broccoli haters can’t hate. The reason for this is 70% due to the presence of bacon, 15% due to the sweet, creamy, tangy dressing that one could lap off a plate (I said “one”, that was not a confession… nor was it not a confession… hmm), and 15% due to the fact that your mom probably made it, and you’re probably at a barbecue.
Yes, every summer barbecue, especially those of the potluck persuasion, have (or SHOULD have!) a broccoli salad. The classic is broccoli + raisins + red onion + sunflower seeds. Mine has cashews. Only because my sunflower seeds were rancid. Which, in an unusual twist, I discovered prior to putting them in the salad. What a concept!
Anyway, the cashews were a delicious swap – you can use either. Or even sliced almonds. But the salty, toasted sunflower seeds are the tops.
Do you want to know a secret? You can toast nuts in the microwave. Yep. Spread them on a plate, high power for 1 minute, shake ’em around, back in for another minute… and TA DA!! Beautiful toasty nuts.
Toast your nuts. They taste way better.
I add thinly sliced bell peppers to my broccoli salad, not just because they add a gorgeous pop of colour against the green landscape, but also because that’s how Calhoun’s does it. If you went to university in Vancouver, you know Calhoun’s. It is a 24 hour coffee shop 10 minutes from campus. Crappy coffee, crappy food, crappy lighting (sorry Calhoun’s, if you happen upon this…) – but it’s packed with studiers, always.
And yes, I was among the Calhoun’s crowd for 5 years (that’s how long my program was, I didn’t do a “victory lap”…). When I wasn’t devouring a stale rice krispie square the size of my face, I was virtuously spearing soggy spears of broccoli from the pool of dressing in their crestfallen rendition of the broccoli salad.
Funny, regardless of how bad it was, here I am, adding peppers to my mom’s revered broccoli salad with a sigh of nostalgia…
Okay, I’ve shown you the broccoli, now I want to show you some behind the scenes cuteness.
See this face? This is the face that was staring at me from my photography perch (surfing the back and arm of the sofa with one white-knuckled fist clutching the blinds, in case you were curious). This face says:
Now this, this right here is the intense focus face, the target is honed in on, and the eyes start to cross. ADORABLE, right?
And now we have arrived at the launch of operation thief-the-bacon. This is him looking me directly in the eye while he sloooooooooowly inches his open mouth toward the bacon hoping it will fall in at a rate so gradual that my weak human eyes won’t notice.
The bacon didn’t fall in. I’m sure he is still hopeful for the next time, though.
Without further adieu, grab some broccoli, secure your fork, and eat your veggies. The delicious way. You know, with bacon.
- 1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized florets
- 1 red pepper, cut in thin slices
- 1/2 red onion, cut in thin slices or minced
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup cashews, toasted
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp vinegar (I used white wine vinegar, but you could just use white vinegar)
In a large bowl, combine broccoli, onion, raisins, cashews and bacon. Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Pour over broccoli mixture and toss well to combine.