Broccoli Tahini Salad

 Let’s get real.

I know the word ‘broccoli’ doesn’t always whip you into a ravenous frenzy, but this fresh twist on that little cruciferous vegetable is so worth raving about!   I went very light on the dressing for these photographs because I didn’t want to scare you away with vegetables soaked in all this brown liquid and…they did turn out pretty.  But I smothered it in sauce afterwards and was 100%  satisfied in doing so. Don’t be afraid to get saucy on a Tuesday night, guys.

This festive crunchy little salad tosses fresh bite sized crispy veggies in a savory creamy dressing.  You’re probably like, “Vegetables worth drooling over?….Chyeah right.”

But this salad…

Such wow.

Much green.

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And….umami!  Some people have heard this word but don’t know the full definition.  It’s science!  Umami is a taste that is basically found in foods rich in the amino acid glutamate.  Commonly referred to as “the fifth flavor,” umami is abundant in foods like beef, chicken, and pork and is commonly described as savory and salty.  This is why some people go bonkers for bacon.  Like I said, science, baby.

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Anyways, the point of this nerdy rambling is that this salad evokes some of the pleasurable sensations we feel when we taste umami. I have many friends who tell me they don’t feel satisfied after eating a meal made without meat.  And this is totally valid!  Along with other likable qualities (likable to some…), meat has such high levels of this umami flavor that the tastebuds become accustomed to this. Dare I say it again, it’s science.  Man, Bill Nye would be SO proud. It’s unbelievably satisfying, but made without a trace of umami-rich meat.  My meat-eating friends helped themselves to seconds, and thirds of this salad.  The dressing contains yummy nutty tahini (basically nut butter made out of sesame seeds and a main ingredient in hummus) with a zing of fresh ginger and the salad features creamy avocado and crunchy cabbage and broccoli.  A perfect and blissful blend of vegetable power, healthy fats from the avocados and seeds, and protein from the beans.

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This is a very fresh salad, and one that should be (and normally tends to be) devoured quickly.  Once made, eat it that day or save it for one more day. After that, you run the risk of harboring a big bowl of very sad, soggy salad.  Ohhh avocados, you temperamental little rascals, you.

This is an absolutely perfect dish to bring to a BBQ, a picnic, or some other social function where you can impress your friends with an absolutely amazing and healthy salad, and beat out that boring bowl of macaroni salad we have all had 85 million times.

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Broccoli Tahini Salad

For the salad:

  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup diced red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 4 T tahini paste
  • 4 T soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • 1 T fresh grated ginger (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3-5 T water, depending on thickness desired
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Start by getting all ninja in the kitchen and slicing and dicing those veggies into small bite sized pieces.  Once the broccoli is chopped, blanch it: boil it in salted water for 2-3 minutes.  Then drain and submerge in icy water.  Drain again and pat dry. This will cook the broccoli but preserve its crunch!
  2. Toss all veggies, the beans, cilantro, and the sunflower seeds in a large bowl.  Save the avocado and lemon for last.  This way you cut down the chances of the avocado getting smashed.  Avocado….why you so sensitive?
  3. Now for the dressing, whisk tahini paste and soy sauce/tamari in a small bowl.  By the way, for those that are mildly interested or curious, tamari is a wheat-free version of soy sauce (and thus a favorite among a gluten-free-sushi-loving crowd).
  4. Whisk in the water, garlic powder, and ginger.  Taste it and add in the appropriate amounts of salt and pepper. Everyone is different in how salty or peppery they prefer their food so I thought I’d leave this one open to self experimentation.
  5. Gently mix the dressing in the veggies.  Once served, keep salad in the refrigerator. Salad, how you so tasty?

Today’s song is amazing.  What I really love about it is that it almost sounds like something that would have been made 50 or 60 years ago, but the album just came out in 2014!  So, not only does it sound legit, the artist is actually still alive and you could go see him on tour if you wanted to!! What a concept! Double score.  This smokey bluesy gem is called “Your love will blow me away” by Son Little. Check it ooooooooout.

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