It’s spring, but the weather here does not exactly match the season. It’s cool and overcast most days. But it’s impossible to resist the call of the BBQ and eating outside. The question is what to serve, do you have some favorite BBQ sides? Fresh summer tomatoes are still months away. A salad that bridges the seasons is needed. This broccoli salad is perfect. Roasted riced broccoli, crisped on the edges, is the main component. Add in pine nuts, garlic, lemon, dates, red onion, and sheep’s milk feta for additional flavor and deliciousness. It’s briny, crunchy, sweet, and tart. All in a single bite! I find raw broccoli a chore to chew, roasting softens it a little. I found that roasting also adds an additional toasty element. The broccoli chars slightly and crisps at the edges of the sheet pan.
Many groceries carry riced broccoli but I don’t recommend it for this recipe. The commercially available riced mixes contain a large percentage of stem. You want the florets only for this recipe. It only takes a minute to rice the heads in a food processor. Purchase a large head and save the stems for another recipe. Try this garbanzo bean free recipe for broccoli stem hummus. Doesn’t that sound interesting? And a wonderful alternative for anyone watching their carbs.
- 1 large head of broccoli, florets only, very finely chopped in the food processor
- 1 cup raw pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Zest of 1 lemon, organic if possible
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or shredded on microplane
- 4 dates – pitted and chopped into raisin sized pieces
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 ox of feta cheese, crumbled or cut into small cubes
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 additional tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, 220 degrees C
- Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper
- In a large bowl combine the broccoli, pine nuts, olive or avocado oil, zest of 1 lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands and spread on the parchment lined sheet pan.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until the broccoli and pine nuts are starting to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Add the broccoli to a large salad bowl. Toss with the lemon juice, wine vinegar and olive oil. Taste for salt and add as needed.
- Add the red onion, dates and feta. Mix again.
You can either serve this salad immediately or chill for up to 2 days. It’s a great do-ahead salad that won’t wilt once the weather warms. Also, without mayonnaise, it’s good for picnics.