… A Crisp, Nutritious, and Light Summer Veggie Salad!
I like my veggies really crunchy … almost still raw when cooked … so this fresh summer salad fits right into my preferences. And even though the rest of my family prefers less tooth on their vegetables, they like this salad just fine.
A quick blanching of the broccoli and cauliflower takes the “bite” off of the veggies, while allowing for the texture to remain firm/tender and the colors to stay bright and fresh looking. The bold, earthy flavor of truly raw broccoli, while I love it, is subdued just slightly, so the flavors are less harsh. This is just enough to make those members of the family who may have an aversion to broccoli, or green veggies in general, give a second thought to their ways.
I’ve overcome that aversion a very long time ago and regularly find myself flocking to the broccoli salad in the deli section of many grocery stores. I don’t usually buy any, though, for a couple of reasons. First, typically there is high potential for cross-contamination from another product containing gluten or dairy in the same case. Second, I usually find that the dressing on these salads is either too heavy or there’s too much of it, contains too much salt or sugar, or any or all of the above. So I long from afar, then head on home empty-handed.
Since there’s really not much to making a homemade gluten-free, dairy-free broccoli cauliflower salad, I decided why not create my own. This homemade veggie salad allows me to control the amount of crunch (depending on how long I blanch the veggies and how many nuts I add), the amount of sodium, and the amount of sweetness and carb load we’re going to endure. Rest assured, even with the raisins, it’s minimal with this recipe. This way we’re in complete control, at least when it comes to making salad – we don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea that this control thing is the norm, right? – And none of us has to be empty-handed.
Gluten-free Dairy-free Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
- 2 strips thick-cut bacon
- 2 cups broccoli florets, cut in bite-size pieces
- 2 cups cauliflower, cut in bite-size pieces
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup gluten-free, vegan mayonnaise - I use Earth Balance Mindful Mayo with Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon agave nectar or honey
- ½ cup raw cashew pieces
- On a microwave-safe plate, place two layers of paper towels. Place bacon strips on paper towels, then cover with two more layers of paper towels. Microwave on high for about 4 minutes, or to preferred crispness. Set aside until cool, then crumble or cut into small pieces. Add to a large bowl.
- Fill a medium-size bowl with water and about 12 ice cubes. Set aside. Fill a medium-size pot ½ to ¾ full with water and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and cauliflower to boiling water and allow to blanch for two minutes. Remove veggies from boiling water and immediately transfer to ice water. Stir to chill all veggies and let sit in cold water for about 3 minutes. Drain water, pat veggies with paper towels until almost dry, and add to bowl with cooked bacon. Add raisins.
- Combine mayo, vinegar, and agave or honey in a small bowl. Stir well to combine. Add dressing to veggie mixture and toss well to coat. Chill salad at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve. Add cashews just before serving. They lose their crunch if mixed with the dressing too early.
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™