Recipe: Light & Easy Broccoli Salad

Recipe: Light & Easy Broccoli Salad

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

In my Southern family, we grew up eating broccoli slaw that had raisins, peanuts, a sweet mayonnaise dressing, and toasted ramen noodles on top. It's a delight. But every time I crave it now and look up a recipe, I'm turned off by the amount of mayonnaise or inclusion of the ramen noodle seasonings packet.

So I set out to modernize this retro slaw with a few fresh tweaks. The result is easy, lightened-up, and still oh-so-crunchy.

Most of the recipes I've seen call for a bag of pre-shredded broccoli slaw. Even the recipes that call for fresh broccoli use only the stalks. And while this would be a fine way to use up stalks if you don't usually eat them, I'm all for using the tops. They shred up a bit fine, but they're perfectly delicious in this slaw.

I will say that a food processor is pretty handy in making this dish. You could finely julienne the stalks and slice the florets into tiny pieces, but it's much, much quicker with a food processor.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

I skipped the ramen noodles and used almonds instead of peanuts, which added a little more crunch and a milder flavor. I also used currants instead of raisins, because I love how their smaller size meshes well with the fine texture of the slaw.

There is mayonnaise in the dressing, but not nearly as much as in most recipes I saw. It's just enough dressing to keep everything moist without making a pool at the bottom of the bowl.

I've eyed this recipe for quite a long time so I was happy to finally give it a go. It's no doubt a versatile, crowd-pleasing salad that will go with just about anything you're serving. Grating the broccoli yourself (versus buying bagged pre-shredded) really does make a difference in terms of taste and texture, so do try to go this route if you can.

As many previous commenters can attest, this recipe is adaptable. If you can't find currants, feel free to use one of the many substitutes suggested at the bottom of the recipe — I personally loved it with dried cranberries and am eager to try it next time with golden raisins. I did make a couple of changes to the recipe based on feedback from you. I toasted the almonds for extra crunch and nuttiness, and lowered the amount of both the sugar and salt in the recipe, as I felt the rice vinegar lent a good amount of sweetness already and the mayo carried a nice balance of flavor as well.

- Sheela, May 2018

Light & Easy Broccoli Salad

Serves 8 to 10

  • 1/3 cup

    dried currants

  • 1/2 cup

    boiling water

  • 1/2 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons

    rice vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 2 pounds

    broccoli (about 1 large head), cut into large florets

  • 4 ounces

    red onion (1/2 small onion), finely chopped

  • 3/4 cup

    sliced almonds, toasted

Place the currants in a small heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the currants and set aside for 5 minutes. Drain off the water. Meanwhile, place the mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and a generous amount of pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Using the shredding disk on a food processor, shred the broccoli. Add to the bowl of dressing. Add the currants, red onion, and almonds and toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt or pepper as needed. Let sit 30 minutes at room temperature or 1 hour in the refrigerator so the flavors can mingle before serving.

Recipe Notes

Quicker slaw: If you do want to skip the broccoli shredding, substitute about 6 cups of pre-shredded broccoli slaw mix for the whole broccoli.

Currant substitution: If you can’t find currants, dried cranberries, cherries (chopped if large), or raisins (regular or golden) can be substituted.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
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