This growing season has been amazing.  We have literally eaten a truck load of broccoli since the middle of May.  Sometime in mid-June I posted “heads are gonna roll” because we were harvesting huge heads of broccoli and getting ready to plant our next rows. I think I had close to 40 plants in seed trays just ready to go into the ground.  I brought them down from our planting station, put them in the middle of the garden for the next day and called it a night. The next morning I came out to water and found that ALL my starts were eaten by a large family of orange colored slugs.  The entire tray was gone.  Needless to say, the slugs are gone now as well.  After a week of searching for more seeds, I replanted and we’re about a week out from putting these babies in the ground.  We’re a little late, but we’ll be fine.  We have time to grow these rows, harvest and plant more rows for harvest in mid-October. These next few months provide us with what we need for our Broccoli Cheddar Chive soup.  A big and little kid favorite for the beginning of the school-year.

There are so many ways to enjoy broccoli.  Fresh out of the garden we just eat it with dips, chopped and put into salads, chopped and tossed in with bone broth and ramen and sometimes we make that deli broccoli salad with bacon. You know the one?  It’s not the same recipe in this house. I’ve modified it so it’s not soaking in sugary sweet mayo based dressing. This version is lighter, more flavorful and colorful.  See what you think.   It’s a great salad anytime, but for a summer side to grilled proteins and corn on the cobb, it’s fantastic!

ORGANIC BROCCOLI BACON SALAD with DRIED APRICOTS & CRANBERRIES

Makes 6 side portions 

This is a kicked up version of the broccoli bacon salad that you see in the grocery store.  Often a favorite, this version has far less sweet sugary dressing and lots more flavor and color!  Of course, you can omit the bacon OR try this very interesting recipe for Vegan Bacon.  (I have not tried the vegan bacob, but it looked good) https://www.theedgyveg.com/2016/05/30/vegan-bacon-make-vegan-bacon-using-rice-paper/

INGREDIENTS  

  • Greek Yogurt – 1/3 cup 
  • Mayonnaise – 3 T
  • Red Wine Vinegar – 2 T (organic apple cider vinegar is just as good!)
  • Honey – 2 T (you can add a little more if you like it a little sweeter)
  • Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper – 1/4 tsp each
  • Green Onion (white and green parts) – 1/4 cup finely chopped
  • Red onion – 1/3 cup diced
  • Dried Apricots – 1/3 cup diced
  • Dried Cranberries – 1/4 cup  (or dried cherries or raisins)
  • Organic Broccoli Florets and Stems – 5 cups florets and 1/2 cup stems
  • Organic Italian Parsley – 1/4 cup finely chopped
  • Fresh Organic Dill (optional) – 2 T chopped
  • Roasted Unsalted Sesame Seeds – 1/3 cup
  • Bacon – 5 to 6 slices, cooked to a crisp, julienne cut into 1 inch pieces (try to get good bacon with less fat.  Like center cut) 

HOW-TO

The stems of broccoli are quite good when added to salads or stir fry. BUT you only want to use the tender parts near the florets. The bottom of the stems tend to be woody.  With a carrot peeler, remove the outer skin of the stem. Julienne the stems into one inch lengths.  

Bring 2 quarts of salted water to boil.  Add florets and stems and blanch for 2-3 minutes.  Toss immediately into an ice bath to stop cooking process. Drain and set aside.

Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, honey – whisk until well incorporated.  Add in green and red onion, apricots and cranberries, broccoli florets and stems, parsley, salt and pepper and dill if using.  Chill at least one hour.  Just before serving add in bacon and sunflower seeds.  This salad actually gets better with time.  So if you make a lot, you’ll thank yourself the next day!