I used to love traditional broccoli salad. After going vegan almost two years ago, I was reluctant to use vegan mayo because of all the oil, so I just didn't make it.
For the last several weeks Troubadour was asking if I could put broccoli salad on our weekly menu. It was starting to sound really good so I had to get creative and think of a way to make it a little healthier and still be vegan. What I came up with is also gluten free and completely delicious. If you are using bacon bits and are on a gluten free diet make sure to check the labels.
My inspiration came in the form of a three pack of Wholly Guacamole I purchased from Costco. The one from our local Costco is accidentally vegan. Between the smooth creamy texture of the guacamole and seeing different articles on how good avocados are for you, my mind wandered and I started thinking......what if made a salad loosely based on traditional broccoli salad, but with a twist.
GUILT FREE BROCCOLI SALAD
1 Large ripe Avocado (make sure the avocado is really ripe)
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp pure Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Garlic, minced
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Soy Milk
3 large Broccoli crowns, chopped into florettes
1/2 Cup Red Onion, chopped fine (or green onion for a milder flavor)
1/2 Cup Carrots, sliced thin or shredded
1/4 to 1/2 Cup raw Sunflower Seeds
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Raisins or dried Cranberries
Vegan Bacon Bits
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. For the dressing - In a food processor or Vitamix blend the avocado, lemon juice, maple syrup, vinegar, garlic and soy milk until smooth. For an extra creamy texture feel free to add a spoon of vegan sour cream. This will add fat and calories though. Set aside dressing.
2. In large bowl combine the broccoli florets, onion, carrots, sunflower seeds, raisins or cranberries, and carrots and stir.
3. Add avocado dressing and stir to coat all the veggies. Sprinkle with bacon bits and fresh ground black pepper and stir again. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
4. Serve when ready. If you are storing it please use an air tight container so the dressing does not brown. This made two large bowls for us for dinner as well as a large lunch serving for the next day. I put the leftovers in an airtight glass dish with plastic lid and the dressing did not brown overnight. If it does brown, it will still taste fine.
** Note the dressing is tangy. If you are not a big fan of vinegar use one tablespoon and taste the dressing to see if you should add the other. It does mellow overnight. You can also use rice wine vinegar which is a little milder.
*** if you want something a little closer to traditional broccoli salad you can also put some vegan cheddar cheese shreds in the salad - Daiya would be good. I did not because of the fat and calories but it would be nice with maybe a few sprinkled on top as a treat.
- Bon Appetit
" The greatest delight the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me and I to them." - Ralph Waldo Emerson