Zippy Broccoli Salad

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Now, before you bypass this recipe citing that it has raw broccoli let me just tell you that it is surprisingly good. Like many young children, I was traumatized by raw broccoli. I liked cooked broccoli, but raw broccoli made me want to shrivel up in disgust. I have a distinct memory of  trying raw broccoli in ranch sauce at my aunt’s house and vowing to never eat raw broccoli again. Thankfully, I decided to break that promise. 

I feel like this has been a common theme as I have expanded my culinary horizons. Just because I did not like a certain food at one point in my childhood does not mean that it is not good. Especially given how greatly one ingredient’s flavour can change based on how it is prepared. 

This recipe is a delicious summer salad. All the veggies are finely chopped and covered in an extremely simple lemon-based vinaigrette. This salad can pack well for a lunch and should keep you nice and full for a while. I use my mandoline to do all of the thin slicing in this recipe, but the same can be achieved with a knife. 

Time: 25 minutes

Yields: 3-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of broccoli 
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ bunch of mint
  • Bunch of green onions 
  • ⅓ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (bit more for cooking)
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Directions:

  1. Heat a large bottomed non-stick pan on medium heat. Once hot add a thin layer of olive oil to the bottom. Add 1 cup of the cooked quinoa. The goal here is to get it nice and crunchy to add some texture. Stir occasionally, for 5-8 minutes, until texture has been added. Set aside in a large salad bowl. 
  2. Prepare the broccoli. Cut the stems off where the heads begin. Cut the tough bottom off the stems and peel them. Either using the julienne attachment on the mandoline or doing it by hand, julienne the broccoli. It does not have to be perfect, just nice small strands. 
  3. Remove the julienne attachment from your mandoline if using. Now, we’re going to shave the broccoli heads. Set your mandoline to roughly a quarter inch and run the top of the broccoli down it. Same idea with a knife, consistently slice off thin layers of broccoli starting from the top of the head. The result should be far from uniform, but will result in nice texture. Add to the large salad bowl. 
  4. We are going to chiffonade the mint, which is just a fancy way of saying cut it into small slivers. Take the leaves and stake them one on top of each other until you have a sizable stack of around 8 leaves. Then roll them tightly from the tip of the leaf to the stem. Now cut this mint cylinder into thin slices. Repeat one more time, it should yield about a half cup of mint slivers. Add to the salad bowl.  
  5. Thinly slice the green onion either with a mandolin or a knife. Be consistent as possible, keeping it very thin. Add to salad bowl. 
  6. Add the pumpkin seeds, the peas, the salt and the remaining cup of quinoa to the salad bowl and mix. 
  7. Now let’s make the sauce. Zest your lemon and then squeeze it. Add the zest and the 2 tbsp juice to a bowl. Add the oil and whisk until incorporated. 
  8. Add the dressing to the salad. Do this slowly, you can always add more dressing but you can’t take any out. Continue adding it bit by bit until your optimal dressing level is attained. Eat immediately or store in the fridge for a few days. Enjoy! 

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