Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with smoky bacon, pine nuts and raisins is an updated version of a classic broccoli salad that appeared at most potluck dinners and backyard barbecues that I attended as a young girl growing up in Texas. I loved it but my mother never made the salad because my father didn’t like broccoli. He wasn’t a very flexible person when it came to what he ate. There is no way he would have eaten a raw broccoli salad. Even though the salad had lots of bacon, cheddar cheese, raisins and a sweet mayonnaise based dressing…not once would he ever give it a try.
My husband isn’t much better when it comes to broccoli. He thinks if you are going to eat broccoli, it should be covered in a cheese sauce. Apparently they are not alone when it comes to broccoli, even one of our former presidents didn’t like it. President Bush said “I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!”
With that kind of history, why did I decide to make a broccoli and cauliflower salad? I like broccoli and I’m the cook now! Actually, my husband enjoyed this delicious side dish and I think you will as well.
Broccoli And Cauliflower Salad
- 2 c. broccoli flowerets
- 2 c. cauliflower flowerets
- 2 – 3 strips of thick cut bacon, diced
- 1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
- 1/4 c. raisins (dried cranberries or dried cherries can be substituted)
- 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
- 1 small clove of garlic, grated or minced fine
- 3 – 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- a pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- salt and pepper to taste
Blanch the broccoli and cauliflower in a large pot of salted water until tender crisp, about 1 minute. Drain well in a colander then place on paper towel to absorb any remaining water (a salad spinner works well to get all the water out of the veggies) then put in a mixing bowl.
Fry the bacon until brown and crispy then add to the vegetables.
Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together the garlic, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until it has emulsified. Pour the vinaigrette over the warm broccoli, cauliflower and bacon then toss. Add the nuts, raisins, and grated cheese and toss well. Taste for additional seasoning. A little extra lemon juice or vinegar will add a little more zip if it seems to be lacking in flavor. Once the vegetables are seasoned to your taste, place in a serving bowl. Just before serving top with additional grated cheese, if you wish.
This is a salad for all seasons. In the hot summer months, you might want to refrigerate the salad for a couple of hours for a cool side dish to serve along with grilled meats, hot dogs and hamburgers.. The rest of the year you might want to serve the salad at room temperature, it goes great as a side with a roasted chicken dinner. While I still think the original broccoli salad is good, I think my version is healthier and that makes me happy.
Tell me my friends, what are your feelings about broccoli. Do you like it and do you serve it to your family and friends. Or are you like President Bush and my father and won’t touch broccoli…I’d love to know.