Your (grand)ma's broccoli salad gets a bold flavor update with a chipotle dressing and the addition of tex-mex ingredients.
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.
What is broccoli salad?
Broccoli salad is made with broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces, and dressed with a mayo-based dressing. Sort of like a broccoli coleslaw if you will, but with broccoli florets. It also typically contains a few other ingredients, like sunflower seeds, bacon crumbles, minced onions, shredded carrots, etc.
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. Why not a Chipotle Broccoli Salad?
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.
What ingredients do I need to make Chipotle Broccoli Salad?
- Red onion
- Sweet peppers
- Cheddar cheese
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.
Broccoli Salad Dressing Ingredients
- Apple cider vinegar
- Chipotle en adobo pepper
- Mexican oregano (optional)
- Salt and pepper
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 chipotle flavor twist.
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Not Your (Grand)Mother's Broccoli Salad
Chipotle Broccoli Salad
- 1 bunch broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 8-18 strips bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
- ¾ cup raw pepitas
- ½ medium red onion, minced
- 5-6 mini sweet peppers
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Chipotle Broccoli Salad Dressing
- 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
Chipotle Broccoli Salad Dressing
- Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, and process/blend until combined.
Chipolte Broccoli 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.
Add some jalapeno peppers or red pepper flakes to kick up the heat.