I wouldn’t say my former roommate Shannon burns water when she boils it, but when invited to a Friendsgiving she will bring canned cranberry sauce. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I love the stuff and am always glad to see her and the can.
But she does step out of her comfort zone from time to time and actually cooks things. When we lived together I remember her making her boyfriend-now husband a chicken dish with some sort of preserves. And recently she sent me a 911 text asking for help with a broccoli salad.
The problem du jour: Her recipe called for plain greek yogurt but she picked up vanilla instead. I don’t blame her, there are 900 yogurts in the aisle but I can never find what I want.
I told her sour cream could be subbed for yogurt but no dice. I don’t keep sour cream in my fridge on the regular so why would Shannon? I sent her a recipe for a broccoli salad that skipped the yogurt/sour cream completely and she was able to cobble together lunch for the next day.
So I set about making a broccoli salad that uses the bare minimum. If you’re committing to making broccoli salad then hopefully your fridge has some green in it and I made that the base of the dressing. Then you’re not stuck subbing ingredients or being forced to head back to the store.
Six ingredients. 7 if you add cheese and you should always add cheese.
Lemons, garlic and broccoli are roasted until blackened and some parts of the broccoli is soft while parts of the florets are crunchy. I use both the florets and stems that people like to ignore so you’re getting the max use out of the veg. And if you’re really opposed to the stems, even though there is no flavor difference, they get buzzed up into the sauce and you don’t know what you’re eating.
Speaking of buzzed up, I’ve realized that I use my food processor wayyyyyy too much. Ok maybe not too much but I am sometimes cleaning the bowl and blade multiple times a day. If you don’t have a food processor then use a blender or whatever thing you have to chop things up real small. Shannon, you just got married so I’m sure someone bought you a food processor type item recently.
With your device of choice; the broccoli, garlic and lemon juice gets pureed into a thick sauce. A little bit of olive oil and water thins it out. Then you toss the sauce with the broccoli florets and your carb of your choice. I used farro but Israeli couscous or pasta would be just as good. Whatever you’re using, try and make sure it’s cold. Every time I’ve made this salad the farro has been warm and when it meets the sauce it looks gloopy. Is that a word?
It doesn’t taste bad but looks a little gnarly. If your lunch needs to be pretty then use cooled grains/pasta and maybe you will have a more picture perfect salad. To me pretty is cheese so chunks of parm are sprinkled on top and I suggest you follow suit and do the same.
Sidenote: Shannon also now makes mousse so she is ready for her own cookbook and dinner parties galore.
- 6 cups of chopped broccoli, stems and florets
- ⅓ cup olive oil, divided
- 3 garlic cloves, skin on
- 1 large lemon, quartered
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups cooked farro
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roughly chop your broccoli. The pieces should be bite-sized. The florets will be eaten whole while the stems will be pureed into a sauce.
- Toss broccoli, quartered lemon, and garlic cloves with 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of olive oil and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
- For the farro, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and stir in 1 cup of farro. Lower the water to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Let the farro cook until the water has been absorbed and the farro is tender when you bite it. This should take about 20-25 minutes.
- Set farro aside and let cool.
- To make the sauce; add half of the broccoli(I pick out just the stems), the juice from the lemon, and garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor. Blend until the broccoli is a thick puree. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of water to thin the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- To assemble the salad; mix together the cooled farro, broccoli florets and broccoli sauce. You can also add chunks of any hard cheese that you like or shredded chicken.