Beyond the obviously large amount of fresh broccoli, there is absolutely nothing else about this dish that is remotely good for you. Candied cashews, bacon, mayonnaise and sugar set the backdrop for a ridiculously delish side salad that is designed for the most gluttonous of all outdoor activities: the BBQ. It’s the kind of salad you secretly re-spoon to your dish two or three times, right after you had that second burger and waaay too much beer. It’s ok, these days are good and easily off-set by an earnest workout and nothing but miso soup the next day.
I guess what I am saying is don’t feel guilty about this one. It’s a treat. Enjoy it!
I created this version from the dozens of variations out there, and I hacked my local Whole Foods’ version as well. I have to admit, I’ve been buying their Broccoli Crunch for years at $9.99 a pound quite happily until I realized that I could in fact make it on my own quite easily.
To this point, I’ve made quite an abundant recipe. Because despite what I said above, I see no reason why this can’t be eaten over the following week, as a single dish with a big glass of ice water or iced tea for lunch. All weekday cravings should be satisfied (sweet, salt, bacon) and you’ll still have had a healthy serving of broccoli which always does a body good.
Broccoli Crunch Crunch Salad (or as we prefer to call it, Broccoli Crack Salad…you get the reference…and no I’ve never done any kind of hard drug.)
Total cook time: 1 hour
3 1/2 pounds fresh organic broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup raisins, packed
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cups candied, honey roasted or almond toffee cashews, broken up a bit
1 pack of bacon (I prefer Applewood Organics)
2 cups mayonnaise (I prefer Hellman’s)
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons of honey
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1. Place bacon in a large skillet. Cook over medium high heat until crispy (but not burned). Set aside on paper towel to drain and cool. Crumble into small pieces when cooled.
2. In a large salad bowl toss together broccoli, raisins and red onion.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayo, white sugar, vinegar and honey. Add ground pepper to taste after the mixture has been evenly blended. Pour over broccoli mixture, toss and coat.
4. Place cashews in a large sealed bag, spread into a single layer on the counter, cover with a towel and pound a few times with the flat side of a meat tenderizer or mallet. It’s ok to leave some bigger pieces, you just want quite a lot of little bits so they can nestle up inside the broccoli and mix throughout the whole salad. Add to salad, toss once more to mix everything evenly, cover tightly and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Normally, because I’m sort of psycho about what I feed my kid, I would omit the sugar and honey all-together and sub for agave. Don’t do this. The salad needs the deeper, stronger flavor of honey and the white sugar makes it the kind of sweet we need here. Also, don’t even think about using turkey bacon or low fat/vegan mayonnaise.
For those wanting even more flavor explosion, I could see adding a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice into the dressing. I’d also try sprinkling some really great French fleur de sel over the top right before you dive in to really blast out the sweet/savory mix.