Broccoli Salad

We recently gave our patio a makeover, adding a large table, new chairs, an outdoor rug, and some plants that are barely alive just a week later (how am I so bad at gardening? Am I really going to kill a mint plant? Is that even possible?). Now, despite the sweltering heat and mosquitoes, we feel obligated to eat dinner outside most days of the week. Neither of us wants to be the first to throw in the towel and admit that it’s just not that fun to sit outside and sweat while eating a hot dinner. It’s a standoff.

Here’s the new patio rug, just behind our foster dog, Freedom (adopt her!):

Until we reach a truce and can come back indoors, we are grilling up a storm. I’ve been making this broccoli salad as an excuse to come back inside and into the sweet, tender embrace of the air conditioning as an alternative to coleslaw with our cookouts.

The variety of flavors helps it to pair well with many types of dishes. It’s a slightly sweet, creamy dish with raisins, toasted pumpkin seeds, and, of course, bacon. I like to serve the salad chilled, but room temperature is also an option (and if you’re forced to eat enjoying dinner outdoors, you’ll find that it is somewhat heated after just a few minutes on the deck).

Broccoli Salad
Serves 4-6

You will need:
  • 3 1/2 cups broccoli
  • 5 slices bacon (optional: 1 tsp. brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup green onions
  • 2 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • drizzle oil and vinegar
  • Salt, pepper, and paprika, to taste
  • 1/3 cup low-sugar dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp. french viniagrette salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Cut broccoli into bite-sized florets (discard most of the stems). Place broccoli in a ceramic, microwave-safe bowl and add three tablespoons of water. Cover the bowl tightly (or top with a microwave-safe plate). Microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes – just until broccoli is slightly steamed. 
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet on medium heat, toast pumpkin seeds, stirring slightly until they’re just starting to brown and they become fragrant. Remove the pumpkin seeds from the skillet and set aside. 
  • Add bacon to the skillet, cook with a touch of brown sugar (optional) until somewhere between crunchy and soft. Remove from skillet and place on a plate with a paper towel to soak up excess grease. Set aside and crumble into small pieces when bacon is cool.
  • In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Serve chilled or at room temperature. 
  • This salad keeps for about four days when covered and chilled in the refrigerator. 

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