My broccoli apple salad is a side which can take you from the holidays, through the winter, and off to a cookout in the summer. It’s pretty enough to be on the table at Christmas or Thanksgiving, substantial enough for a cold day in February (with easy to find winter produce!), and who doesn’t love a great make-ahead cold salad in the summer?
Do you know what today is? My daughter’s birthday! I can’t believe she is already 13 years old.
She is currently as tall as her short mom, though with longer arms, so she can already get things for me. Just a few more inches and she will be in reach of the top shelf in the kitchen. 🙂
No cake because she wants to make a fancy layer cake with red velvet and dark chocolate frosting so we are going to have to put aside a weekend afternoon soon to do that. Since I’ve never made a layer cake in my life (if you check out my recipe archive, there are zero fancy cakes!), it is probably going to be lopsided and funny looking, but I’m sure it is going to taste awesome.
But enough about that. This post is about my new favorite broccoli salad! Broccoli and apples and creamy dressing make for a broccoli salad very different from the ones you see in buffets and salad bars.
For one thing, I cook my broccoli. As with my main course Chicken and Broccoli Salad (love this salad! you should totally make it!), I like the broccoli crisp-tender, not raw. In fact, I’m not sure why raw broccoli salads are considered to be the standard! Who decided that a vegetable which has always been tastier cooked should be raw in a salad? Not me.
I ditch the sugar, instead adding dried cranberries and diced apples to provide a more subtle sweetness. One with fiber and vitamins and flavor. Much better to my taste buds than a sweet dressing.
As for the dressing, I’m honestly not sure what dressing those sweet bacony broccoli salads use, but it doesn’t matter since I like a tangy buttermilk dressing mixed with some mayonnaise and sour cream. It’s simple to whip up, a little lighter than many creamy dressings (especially if you use light sour cream and mayo), and ties all the flavors together into a harmonious whole.
With all the main parts of the salad figured out, I just needed some bite – thinly sliced red onion, and some crunch – roughly chopped pistachios. If you can’t find shelled, roasted pistachios at the store, feel free to switch to pecans or walnuts (roast them up though!). I love the pistachios here, but I do know they can be hard to find.
And that’s it! A simple salad packed full of flavor which is easy enough to make any weeknight and tasty enough to make for company. It may not have eclipsed my Caesar Salad in my daughter’s eyes (to be fair that is her absolute favorite salad), but I know I’m going to serving this apple broccoli salad regularly.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Creamy Broccoli Apple Salad with Pistachios, Cranberries, and Red Onion
- 1 1/2 lb broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
- 1 medium apple, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup roasted pistachios, chopped
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- Set out a bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 2-3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge the broccoli into the ice water to stop its cooking. Once the broccoli is cool, drain the broccoli again and blot it dry with towels.
- Whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I usually use about 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper.)
- Combine the broccoli, apple, onion, parsley, and cranberries in a large bowl. Pour about 1/2 of the dressing over the salad and toss to mix it well. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl. Top with the pistachios just before serving. And serve with the remaining dressing on the side.