I don’t eat vegan, but I absolutely 100% prefer this version of broccoli salad to the traditional. Another brand new recipe from my Cook’s Illustrated magazine, there was only a method item I changed and I’ll explain why later, but the flavor was perfection. I brought it to a pool gathering and everyone shared my opinion; my vegan friend demanded the recipe and said she’s going to make it and eat the whole thing in one sitting.
So the recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of broccoli and makes the peeled stems a part of the cooking method (technically blanching the stems while the florets steam). I had bought the big bag of cut broccoli from Costco and I sure as heck wasn’t going to be peeling those little stems. I trimmed them and used 1 1/2 lb. of florets instead; I used my steamer basket set in the saucepan, mimicking the recipes’ method. By steaming the broccoli for just 3 minutes instead of leaving it raw as the old school recipe calls for, it turns an appetizing bright green and is slightly more tender so you’re not gnawing away on those raw stems. It’s a bit annoying to food process the dressing; next time I’ll try it in my blender cup and see if it works as well.
Vegan Broccoli Salad
1 1/4 tsp. table salt, divided
1 1/2 lb. broccoli florets, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. sliced almonds, toasted
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. minced fresh tarragon
- Place steamer basket in large saucepan and put about a cup of water in the bottom along with 1/2 tsp. of the salt. Bring to boil, add broccoli and cover. Cook 3 minutes or until bright green. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water.
- Drain well and add broccoli to ice water. Let sit two minutes then remove to kitchen towels to dry as well as possible.
- To make dressing, puree (in food processor or blender) avocado, oil, zest and juice, garlic, pepper and remaining 3/4 tsp. salt until smooth.
- Add sufficiently dried broccoli to large bowl with dressing, cranberries, almonds, shallot and tarragon. Stir to coat. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt as needed. Serve.