Broccoli Stem Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
The first time I saw Broccoli Stem Salad, I’m not gonna lie, my mind was kinda blown. First, I felt bad for a moment about all the broccoli stems I have thrown away over a lifetime, but then I just fell in love with the cool, green, coin-shaped slices and I could imagine how crunchy and yummy they would be in a salad. They’ve got the crunch factor of celery but without the bitterness or stringy texture. And they soak up dressing really well without becoming soggy. I’m going to warn you, even my gastro-adventurous family was giving me strange looks while I was setting aside the pretty florets and chopping the gnarly stems, but STAY THE COURSE. Minutes later, I was swatting their hands away from the bowl so that I could make the salad before they ate all the slices.
I don’t usually follow food trends unless they fit into my lifestyle and sensibilities, but there is a trend I’ve been seeing lately that involves using parts of the vegetables that we usually throw away. This is a trend I can get behind since I really hate throwing food away, plus it will help me attain my Health-ier goal of eating at least 2/3 vegetables. Since I like to buy fresh vegetables and shop at farm stands, many come with stems and leaves attached and sometimes when I’m prepping for chopping and dicing, it seems that the trash pile is as big as the food pile. Some of the parts we’ve been conditioned to throw away are actually better, and more nutritious, than the parts that we’re inclined to eat; such is the case with broccoli.
The first Broccoli Stem Salad I made was a recipe from With Food + Love with a lemony dressing and lots of black pepper. It was just as good as I imagined and would be a fabulous side dish for any meal. While I was on the way home from the Netherlands, I dreamed up this recipe (below) while thinking of what I could make with the 2 pounds of these giant golden raisins that I was lugging home in my bag. (No accident I was dreaming up salads after snacking on Dutch waffles and chocolate for a week, with croissants and milkshakes for breakfast.) I did manage to eat about half a pound of these jumbo golden raisins on the trip, and just found out they are available on Amazon (of course they are)! I got them at a street market and there was no information attached, so I brought home enough to buy me some time to find out how to keep my supply going.
When I got home, there was a package in my mailbox from Mustard & Co., Seattle, WA, and I’ve been using their Dijon mustard to make this simple vinaigrette (whisk a teaspoon or two into a 1:2 ratio of vinegar & olive oil, with a pinch of my favorite salt/pepper blend) which tastes anything but simple. For this particular salad I used apple cider vinegar for the dressing, and then I combined it with the aforementioned raisins, pickled red onion, uber creamy organic goat cheese, and the broccoli stem slices for a creamy/chewy/crunchy, sweet/tangy combination that is EVERYTHING.
Oh, I hate it when this happens when I’m reading a recipe and I’m going to do it to you now, but I’ll be as kind as possible. We’ve got to talk about the pickled red onions. That’s another recipe. Sometimes a recipe within a recipe can make me not make something. If you’re in one of those moods: don’t go away! You could just use raw onion and this will be delicious. You can make this salad with anything you like. In fact, if you hate raisins (Yes, Mo, I know you do) you could use another fruit (I bet mandarin orange segments would be delicious in this, or apple slices; just surprise me, ok?) I happen to be really into these sumac pickled onions lately, that I learned to make from Zahav cookbook. I don’t even measure anymore, I just put some red onion slices in a container with a splash of red-wine vinegar and a spoon or a couple shakes of lemony Sumac (at specialty shops or perhaps TJMaxx, check their spices for some really great stuff). Then let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours or weeks if they last that long.
If, however, you want to make this salad- and I 100% recommend it, here is the recipe:
- Four large broccoli stems, sliced crosswise into 1/4 inch slices
- 1/2 cup pickled red onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 2 tsp dijon mustard, I used Mustard & Co.
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- red pepper flakes, optional
- Toss the broccoli slices, onion and raisins together in a large salad bowl. Sprinke goat cheese on top. Dress with the vinaigrette and let sit in refrigerator for 1-3 hours before serving.
- Combine all ingredients and whisk together until emulsified.
- You can slice the broccoli stems by hand, with a mandoline or food processor. For this salad, I used the food processor though I was concerned that the slices would be too thick. They were perfect and held up to the dressing well. There was a teensy bit leftover and it was delicious the next day.