Growing up, a salad was a weekend only experience, usually accompanied with the Sunday roast. It was always the same, iceberg lettuce, topped with grated cheese and carrot and sliced tomatoes. I can't even imagine what my Nanna, born and bred in Belfast, would have done with Endive or Rocket, let alone char grilled Cos lettuce!
Hardly anyone likes to feel they are existing on "rabbit food"! Having an interesting range of salad options makes healthy eating a salubrious experience, rather than a chore.
Once you find al good salad base, you can do your own thing
This is a great 'make-ahead' salad, inspired by the Ripe Deli on Richmond Road in Auckland. The raw broccoli is robust enough to stay in the fridge overnight, or all day if you dress it in the morning before you head out the door.
I wanted this salad as the main event with some grilled chicken on the side, so I have added some Chia seeds and 1/4 cup of leftover Bulgur wheat to bulk it out - I also threw in some fresh spinach and a few raw peas. Ripe's recipe called for cranberries, but my cupboard only had sour cherries, so they went in instead.
Now, if you're counting calories, go a little easy on your portions for this one, the broccoli its smothered in homemade mayonnaise so it's a bit of a treat! I made my own mayo but you could use a store bought low cal version - but where's the fun in that!
If you want a lower calorie version, substitute the mayonnaise for greek yoghurt and add lemon juice instead of white wine vinegar. Add 1 tablespoon of Agave or runny honey to mixture.
RAW BROCCOLI AND SOUR CHERRY SALAD
1 large head of broccoli or 2 small
1 red onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Zest of one lemon
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Freshly milled salt and pepper to taste
1 cups baby spinach leaves and 1/2 cup sliced sugar snap peas (add just before serving)
Cut broccoli into small florets and add into large bowl with onion, nuts, chopped cherries and lemon zest
Mix together white wine vinegar and mayonnaise
Toss everything together and chill overnight or at least 2 hours prior to serving.
Basic Homemade Mayonnaise
In a blender pulse together first 5 ingredients until combined
With motor running, pour in slow drizzle the oil until thick, creamy and emulsified
NOTE: I use a stick blender but any blender will do as long as it has an opening so that you can keep the motor running while you slowly (very slowly) pour in the oil. If you go too fast with the oil, it will not blend together and your mixture will split and not thicken.