Broccoli salad was one of those sides that I always politely ignored, despite its near-inevitable appearance at almost every potluck I’ve ever attended.
Because AGAIN with the mayo.
No one knows more about defeating the purpose of eating a vegetable by coating it with mayo than a Minnesotan does.
I kid, I kid! If I didn’t poke fun at my fellow Minnesotans, how else would they know that I like them?
But seriously, broccoli salad is pretty damn good. It’s one of those minimalist salads that has surprisingly more flavor than you’d anticipate. I mistakenly judged the broccoli salad book by its cover for far too long.
I was flipping through an old church cookbook (one of the many in my collection) recently and came across my grandma’s recipe for broccoli salad.
How cute is this!? Circa 1993 and spiral-bound!
The recipe calls for just seven ingredients, including the dressing. Easy.
Of course, that got me thinking. How amazing would this salad become by adding some south of the border flavors?
Rhetorical question. The answer, of course, is very.
I didn’t want to complicate things too much, as the beauty of broccoli salad lies in its simplicity. Pretty impressive really how you can transform the flavor of raw broccoli with just a few ingredients.
Some broccoli salad recipes call for the addition of apples or dried cranberries, something to give it a hint of sweetness. Mini sweet peppers provide a subtle hint of sweet and a lovely crunch (and red and orange peppers give a beautiful pop of color). I decided to added shredded cheddar cheese to the mix, because, well, cheese. And instead of sunflower seeds, pepitas lend a Mexican flair.
As for the dressing, chipotle en adobo peppers impart a beautiful smokiness with a touch of heat. While my grandma’s recipe doesn’t specify the type of vinegar, I’m assuming white. Though I opted for the mellower, slightly sweet tang of apple cider vinegar for this recipe. And should you have some Mexican oregano lying around, toss in a pinch or two to add a subtle earthiness.
And with those few additions/modifications, I present to you, Not your (Grand)Mother’s Broccoli Salad. Slightly more effort than my grandma’s recipe, but worth the flavor twist.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- 1 bunch broccoli, chopped small
- 8-10 strips bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
- ¾ cup raw pepitas
- ½ medium red onion, minced (or add the whole thing if you want a more prominent onion flavor)
- 5-6 mini sweet peppers
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 chipotle en adobo pepper
- 1 pinch Mexican oregano (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- For the dressing. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, and process/blend until combined.
- For the salad. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl. Add about half or so of the dressing and stir. Assess the level of dressed-ness, and add more, a bit at a time, until you achieve the dressing level desired. Stir until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Instead of mini sweet peppers, bell peppers of any color make a great substitute.
Add some jalapeno peppers or red pepper flakes to kick up the heat.