Where did the broccoli go to have a few drinks? The salad bar!
Thank you Deb from Smitten Kitchen for this recipe! Deb is an incredible writer, recipe creator, and a huge inspiration for this blog.
I received a signed copy of The Smitten Kichen Cookbook many years ago and it’s one my go-to’s, as evidenced by its many stains and bent pages. It’s always a good sign when a cookbook shows some wear and tear. Be skeptical of anyone who keeps their cookbooks in pristine condition!
I made this recipe on a whim a few years back, and it has steadily stayed in our regular rotation of salads that go well with a piece of roast chicken, a burger, or some sausages. The combination of crunchy broccoli, tangy dressing, sweet raisins, and salty peanuts is irresistible.
Generally, salads with a bunch of mayonnaise are not my jam (or jelly) because they can be goopy or lack flavor. This salad is an exception to the rule because there is so much texture and tang with the buttermilk and vinegar.
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can do what I do – measure 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, add ½ cup of milk, cream or alternative milk, stir to combine, and let sit for 5 minutes. After five minutes, the mixture will thicken and curdle slightly. That means it worked! And we can use this in lieu of buttermilk.
You can also swap out the peanuts for another nut like almonds or pecans, and the raisins for another dried fruit like cranberries.
This is the perfect side dish for a picnic or BBQ, and it only gets better after it sits.
2 heads of broccoli, chopped. Here’s my technique for chopping the broccoli:
Start by cutting at the base of the broccoli head, separating the stalk. Using a knife, remove the tough skin of the stalk. Cut lengthwise and lengthwise again. The slice horizontally so you are left with small pieces, about 1/2 inch or less. Then with the remaining broccoli heads, roughly chop so the pieces are the same size as the stalk pieces.
½ cup roasted and salted peanuts, chopped
⅓ cup dried raisins
½ small red onion, finely diced
½ cup buttermilk, or buttermilk substitute (see note above for how-to)
⅓ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (or 4 tablespoons if making buttermilk substitute)
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Make the dressing: If making buttermilk substitute, start the process. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup, and add ½ milk, cream or alternative milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
If using regular buttermilk, add to a liquid measuring cup. Then add mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and sugar, and stir to combine. Add a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Taste and adjust. Add the finely chopped red onion to the dressing, stir and let sit 5 minutes.
Add the chopped broccoli, peanuts and raisins to a large bowl and mix.
Pour the dressing with red onion on top. Mix well and taste – add salt if needed.