It is easy to understand why broccoli salad is a mainstay of potluck dinners and community gatherings. Not only is it a crowd-pleaser, but also raw broccoli is a clever make-ahead ingredient because it maintains its hardy texture and crunch over time. (This Southern-inspired recipe can be made up to 24 hours ahead, then stored in the fridge.) While most traditional Southern broccoli salads feature a creamy mayonnaise dressing and are finished with bacon bits and grated cheese, this vegan riff offers a punchy vinegar mixture that serves as a quick pickling liquid for the onions and raisins before it’s used as the final dressing. If you are making this salad in advance, leave the toasted almonds out until you are ready to eat.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ½cup golden or black raisins (or dried cranberries)
- ½red onion, finely sliced
- ¼cup apple cider vinegar
- 4teaspoons granulated sugar
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 ½pounds broccoli (about 2 heads)
- 1apple (any variety), cored and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
- ½cup toasted sliced almonds, pepitas or sunflower seeds (see Tip)
- 1cup red or green grapes, halved crosswise (optional)
Step 1To make the dressing, place the raisins and red onion in a small bowl. Add the vinegar, sugar, ¾ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons of water, and toss well to combine. Leave to pickle for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Step 2Peel the woody exterior from the broccoli stalk and discard. Chop the stalk into ½-inch pieces. Chop the broccoli florets into ½-inch pieces. (The pieces do not have to be uniform or the same shape.) Place all the broccoli into a large mixing bowl.
Step 3After 10 minutes, finish the dressing by adding olive oil and sesame oil to the bowl with the pickling raisins and red onion, and stir well to combine. Taste and season with more salt if needed. It should be tangy, slightly sweet, and a little salty.
Step 4Add the raisin-and-onion dressing to the broccoli along with the apple and scallions, and using two large spoons, toss well so that everything is well coated. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste. Taste to make sure you are happy with the seasonings, adding more if needed.
Step 5When you are ready to eat, add the almonds and grapes (if using), and gently toss. Serve at room temperature.