One of my favorite picnic foods is Broccoli Salad. You know, the creamy, mayonnaise-laden "salad" with super crispy bacon. It's a mainstay at picnics and backyard BBQs across the country. But it's so unhealthy, and I much prefer a fresh side salad in the summer. I've lightened up this summertime staple, and made it healthy enough to eat a giant bowlful.
- 2 broccoli crowns
- 1 15.5 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed (Don't wash your strainer, we will reuse when we blanch the broccoli. I used Cannellini beans, but Great Northern would work as well. I wouldn't recommend Garbanzos, as they are a little too flavor-forward for this salad.)
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1/3 C raisins
- 1/2 C chopped walnuts (I used raw walnuts, but you could toast them for a nuttier taste.)
- 1/2 C olive oil
- 1/3 C white wine vinegar
- 3/4 C plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 T honey (Add more as needed)
- Salt + Pepper to taste (roughly 1/4-1/2 t of each, less salt)
- Chop the broccoli into small pieces.
- Blanch the broccoli. Blanching is super easy, all you have to do is find a pot with lid and fill with a little bit of water (~3 inches). Add the chopped broccoli, cover with lid, and bring to a boil. As soon as the water starts boiling, keep an eye on the broccoli. You want to cook it a little, but not too much! When it starts to look really bright green I will stick a fork into a stem to see how cooked it is or run it under cold water and taste it. As soon as the broccoli is just shy of being fully cooked, remove the pot from the burner, dump the broccoli in a strainer, fill pot with cold water and ice cubes, and put strained broccoli back in pot (not on burner!). The ice cold water stops the broccoli from cooking any longer and will get you to blanched perfection (basically, still crunchy). You want to let the broccoli take an ice bath for a little, so put the pot to the side.
- Make the dressing. Combine olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt + pepper, and honey in a jar. Screw on lid, and shake to combine (super easy way to make dressing AND you can store extra in jar in fridge for later-in-the-week salad dressing). Add the Greek yogurt to the jar, screw on lid, and shake again. Taste the dressing and see if it needs more honey/salt/pepper depending upon your taste.
- Combine white beans, diced red onion, raisins, and walnuts in a large bowl.
- Strain the cold broccoli and add it to the large bowl as well.
- Pour about half of the jar of dressing into the large bowl and toss the salad. Add more dressing as needed, but we don't want to make it a soppy mess, so start off with half of the jar.
- Toss salad again, and enjoy!
- You could definitely add bacon or turkey bacon if you're really missing the taste, but as is, the salad is a great vegetarian option. It could stand alone as a main course, or work as a picnic side dish.