What is the best broccoli salad? For years I thought it was this raw broccoli salad with avocado and roast almonds.
But it was hard to chew.
And difficult to digest as well.
So I forgot about broccoli salads for years.
And then after prepping a batch of my beautiful boiled broccoli one day I had the inspiration to turn it into a salad.
As I said in the title, ‘best ever’.
And I don’t make such claims lightly.
While you can make this with pre-cooked broccoli, I think it’s slightly better when the hot broccoli gets tossed in the dressing and left to marinate for a few minutes.
And this is one of the rare occasions where red wine vinegar really is best.
Don’t worry vegetarian friends, I’ve got you covered in the variations below!
There are 7 ingredients listed but I don’t count olive oil ;)
Best Ever Broccoli Salad
- 2 heads broccoli
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon miso paste or dijon mustard
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley or salad leaves
- shaved parmesan to serve
Bring 1cm (1/2in) salted water to the boil in a medium saucepan. Chop the broccoli into bite sized florettes and finely slice the stems. Simmer broccoli, covered in the pot for 4 minutes or until no longer crunchy. Drain.
Return the pot to the stove and cook bacon on a medium high heat until crispy.
While the bacon is cooking make the dressing. Combine vinegar, miso or mustard and olive oil in a small jar or the base of your salad bowl. Whisk / shake until smooth and creamy. Taste and season remembering you’ll get salt from the bacon and broccoli.
Toss warm broccoli in the dressing and stand for a few minutes. When the bacon is cooked, toss into the salad along with the parsley (stems finely chopped and leaves coarsely chopped) or salad leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Serve with shaved parmesan on top.
Substitutions Best Broccoli Salad
short on time – cook broccoli and bacon in separate pans at the same time. Using defrosted frozen broccoli will save on chopping time ( no need to boil it – just saute in the pan with the bacon to warm).
vegetarian – replace bacon with smoked or toasted almonds, sunflower seeds or any other nuts (except peanuts – wrong flavour profile). Or smoked tofu.
vegan / dairy-free – as per vegetarian and also replace cheese with chunks of avocado or sun dried tomatoes.
more substantial (carb lovers) – toss in torn sourdough bread chunks, croutons, steamed grains like quinoa or brown rice, steamed sliced potatoes or cooked pasta.
more substantial (low carb) – serve with poached eggs or cooked chicken, canned salmon, sardines or canned tuna. Or add roasted almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts or sunflower seeds.
Low FODMAP – skip the broccoli stems.
different herbs / greenery – basil is nice in summer. Or use oregano or chopped chives. Baby kale leaves or any salad leaves are also great.
parmesan alternatives – it’s hard to go past parmesan but crumbled feta or blue cheese also works really well.
different vinegar – red wine vinegar is the best here. My next choice would be sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar. And then white wine vinegar.
creamy salad – replace dressing with miso mayo. Will feel a bit more like a caesar salad.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
broccoli – will keep wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for about 2 weeks or sometimes a little longer. Can be frozen (if you have time chop before freezing so it will defrost quickly in the pan).
red wine vinegar / extra virgin olive oil / dijon mustard – keep them in the pantry.
miso paste – unopened paste can be kept in the pantry, once open needs to be refrigerated.
bacon – freeze it.
parsley – will keep in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag for a few weeks. Can be frozen or make a parsley oil by packing the leaves into a clean jar and covering with extra virgin olive oil.
salad leaves – are highly perishable. My first path would be to use them for another meal (salad for breakfast!) but if that isn’t possible you can pop them in the freezer. They will wilt down but can then be used anywhere you’d use wilted greens. At least this way they won’t go slimy.
parmesan – keeps for longer in a chunk so only grate when you’re cooking. I wrap in waxed paper or baking paper and then keep in an airtight container or a sealed ziplock bag. I prefer this over just wrapping in cling wrap because the air in the container allows the cheese to breathe and not sweat but the container / plastic bag prevents from drying out in the dry fridge air. Either way will keep for months.
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the parsley and parmesan separately. Can be left at room temp for an hour or so but any longer pop in the fridge. Will still be delicious after a week in the fridge but if serving for company best to serve within 24 hours because the broccoli loses its beautiful green colour over time. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, toss in the parsley and shave over the parmesan.
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Have fun in the kitchen!