Raw broccoli tossed with fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes, and pine nuts makes a lovely, light side dish.
Kale isn't the only cruciferous veggie that makes a great raw base for a hearty salad. Making this raw broccoli salad is just as simple, and it's a nice change of pace from leafy salads.
Just like when you make a kale salad, the trick to this raw broccoli salad is in the massaging. You use your fingers to rub the oil and vinegar into the broccoli. The acid from the vinegar breaks down the broccoli's cell walls a bit, and the oil adds moisture. The result is crunchier than steamed broccoli but not as tough as totally fresh broccoli.
Unlike a kale salad, though, the broccoli needs to marinate a bit to soften even more. You can do a quick 20 minutes if you're in a hurry, but I think this salad is even better on the second day, when the broccoli has had a chance to sit with the rest of the ingredients and really get to know them.
Italian-Style Raw Broccoli Salad
Your raw broccoli salad will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, so it's a great make-ahead dish!
Yield: about 4-6 servings as a side dish
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 cups small broccoli florets (2 good-sized heads of broccoli will do the trick.)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 1 2.25 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
- ½ cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, drained (roasted grape tomatoes will work, too) or oven roasted tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon capers
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl, toss together the vinegar, oil, and broccoli. Get in there with your hands and massage the oil and vinegar into the broccoli a bit, as if you were making a kale salad. Set this aside for at least 20 minutes. An hour would be better, if you can wait.
- Toss in the garlic, onion, olives, tomatoes, basil, and pine nuts, then season with the salt and pepper. You can serve immediately or refrigerate until you're ready to serve.