There is a certain broccoli salad that's been popular at summer picnics and pool parties for decades. Variations abound, but it typically has both sweet and savory elements, a nutty crunch, and a rich, creamy dressing. It also typically happens to contain more bacon and mayonnaise by weight than broccoli, and often a lot of sugar, almost as if mocking the word "salad."
This recipe achieves a similar taste in a much better-for-you way. It starts with broccoli florets (which are blanched to make them optimally tender) and features toasted nuts, raisins and red onion - just like the classic. But instead of a sugar-sweetened, mayonnaise-heavy dressing, Greek yogurt, mixed with mayonnaise and sweetened lightly with honey, provides a lusciously creamy base in a lighter, more healthful way. And instead of bacon, chopped sun-dried tomatoes add a savory, salty element.
You could add some crisped, crumbled bacon if its omission feels like a dealbreaker, but this way the salad is vegetarian, and acts a fresher tasting counterpoint for any accompanying grilled meats.
BETTER BROCCOLI SALAD
4 servings (makes about 5 cups)
From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.
- 5 cups bite-size (about 1-inch) broccoli florets (about 15 ounces)
- 1/4 cup unsalted hulled sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (oil-packed, or vacuum-packed and rehydrated in warm water)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Fill a mixing bowl with water and ice cubes.
- Add the broccoli to the pot; once the water returns to a boil, cook for about 2 minutes, until the broccoli has softened slightly but is still bright green and crisp. Drain and transfer immediately to the ice-water bath to cool (and help preserve its color). Drain the broccoli in a colander until it is dry.
- Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Transfer to a dish to cool.
- Stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the broccoli, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes and red onion, tossing gently to incorporate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 3 days.
- Stir in the toasted sunflower seeds just before serving.
Nutrition: Per serving: 260 calories, 8 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 11 g sugar
Krieger is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author who hosts public television's "Ellie's Real Good Food." She blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at elliekrieger.com.