Saturday, November 16, 2013

Recipe for Barely-Blanched Broccoli Salad with Feta and Fried Almonds

Barely Blanched Broccoli Salad with Feta and Fried Almonds is a nice change for Thanksgiving!

(I had to miss Phase One Fridays yesterday so I could post my tribute to Lis, but there are so many Thanksgiving recipes I want to share before the big day that I decided just this once we could have Phase One Saturday; this recipe is something I think everyone would love for Thanksgiving!)

Even though there's a great list of Low-Glycemic Thanksgiving Recipes in the recipe index, every year I have fun testing new ideas that might make it onto the Thanksgiving table.  Last year my favorite new Thanksgiving recipe was probably 100% Whole Wheat Stuffing "Muffins" with Sausage and Parmesan, a dish I worked on for several tries until I got it just right.  It's too early to tell what's  going to be my favorite from Thanksgiving 2011, but I know that this Blanched Broccoli Salad with Feta and Fried Almonds is something I'll be making over and over.  If you like broccoli, Feta, and almonds, be sure to try this dish even if you don't make it for Thanksgiving.

I found this recipe in Fine Cooking Annual Volume 2, and only adapted it a little from the version that Tasha DeSerio created for Fine Cooking.  I did leave out the currants to keep the glycemic index a bit lower, but if you were making this for Thanksgiving some dried cranberries would be a nice addition.  I'm not one of those people who minds raw broccoli in a salad, but in this recipe I thought blanching the broccoli cooked it just enough so it worked perfectly with the red wine vinegar dressing, Feta, and fried almonds.

Trim broccoli into same-size flowerets; then blanch for exactly 3 minutes in boiling water and pour into colander to drain.

Mash together the garlic clove and salt, then add the red wine vinegar and hot pepper flakes and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Crumble enough Feta to make 1/2 - 3/4 cup.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a frying pan, add almonds and fry until the almonds are golden brown.  (Watch them carefully; this only takes 2-3 minutes and they can get too brown rather quickly if you're not careful.)

Drain the fried almonds on paper towels.  (You can season them with salt if you want to, but I didn't)

Whisk the olive oil into the vinegar-garlic mixture to make the dressing.

Stir together the broccoli, feta, and half the almonds and toss with the dressing.  Serve salad right away, sprinkling the rest of the almonds on top.

Barely-Blanched Broccoli Salad with Feta and Fried Almonds
(Makes about 4 servings; recipe adapted slightly from Broccoli Salad with Feta, Olive Oil-Fried Almonds, and Currants from Fine Cooking, created by Tasha DeSerio.)

1 tsp. + 1/4 tsp. salt (I used kosher salt)
1 lb. broccoli crowns, trimmed and cut into same-size flowerets
1 large clove of garlic
2 T red wine vinegar
generous pinch hot pepper flakes (I used Aleppo pepper)
1 T + 4 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 - 3/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese (I used 1/2 cup, which I thought was enough)

Fill a medium-sized pot with water, add 1 tsp. salt, and bring to a boil.  While the water is heating, trim the broccoli crowns and cut into bite-sized flowerets.  (Make them all the same size so they will cook the same amount.)  When water is boiling, add the broccoli, cook for exactly 3 minutes, then drain broccoli into a colander placed in the sink and let it cool.

Mash the garlic with 1/4 tsp. salt.  (I used a mortar and pestle, but you can use anything that will smash up the garlic.)  Mix in the hot pepper flakes and red wine vinegar and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Heat 1 T of olive oil in a heavy frying pan, add the almonds, and fry until they are lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.  (Watch carefully because they can go from lightly browned to burned rather quickly.)  Put the almonds on a plate covered with a paper towel and let almonds cool a few minutes.  (You can salt them if you want, but I thought the salad was salty enough with the Feta.)

After 10 minutes, whisk the remaining 4 T of olive oil into the vinegar-garlic mixture.  Combine the broccoli, Feta, and half the almonds in a bowl; then toss with the dressing to coat.  Serve salad right away, with remaining almonds sprinkled over the top.

South Beach Suggestions: 
Broccoli, Feta cheese, and almonds are all great low choices for a low-glycemic eating plan, and this salad would be good for any phase of the South Beach Diet.  Due to the amount of fat I might consider this a "once-in-a-while-treat" and I wouldn't have nuts for a snack on the day you have the salad.

More Tasty Salad Ideas with Broccoli:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Spicy Broccoli-Jicama Salad with Red Bell Pepper and Black Sesame Seeds from Kalyn's Kitchen
Asian Chopped Salad with Broccoli Stems, Sugar Snap Peas, Radishes, Red Cabbage, and Almonds from Kalyn's Kitchen
Fresh Broccoli Salad with Tomatoes, Black Olives, and Feta from One Perfect Bite
Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Raisins from Pinch My Salt
Chopped Broccoli Salad with Tahini Soy Dressing from Family Fresh Cooking
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. I love broccoli but not so much raw...which means this salad is perfect for my T-Day table!

  2. I'm not one of those people who loves raw broccoli, so I love the idea of blanching it first. Also, when it's warm it will absorb a little bit of the dressing. I'm always looking for more green dishes to add to my holiday menu.

  3. Lydia and Joanne, so glad this appeals to you guys. I thought blanching the broccoli really helped it work with the Feta here.

  4. I just want to eat handfuls of those fried almonds! : )

  5. David, they were delicious in this. Such a simple idea but it really bumped up the flavor.

  6. Lydia, I once made a broccoli pesto - I think it's from 101 Cookbooks - and it also used a barely blanched broccoli. Amazing what it does to the veggie, and those of us anti-crudites (like me!) definitely appreciate the change

    I am sure I would love this salad with feta and all - perfect for a light lunch

  7. I <3 broccoli, in all states of doneness. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing it.

  8. This sounds like a delicious recipe that wouldn't be too heavy. I like broccoli in any form, and I want a big scoop of this!

  9. I love the sound of broccoli pesto!

    Lauren, me too. One of my favorite snacks in the world is raw broccoli dipped in low-fat ranch dip!

    Deborah, thanks! This was really quite light and very tasty!

  10. I bet the almonds add a nice crunch. Great salad!

  11. This salad seems to have it all - the fresh taste from the broccoli, a little crunch and nuttiness from the almonds and creaminess from the feta. I could eat this for days!

  12. Thanks Maria. The fried almonds were so good.

    Dara, I don't think I'd ever get tired of it either!

  13. Yum! I love feta and love broccoli and the amounts you combined are so visually pleasing as well as delicious. Blanching was a great idea too, thanks!

  14. I can't take credit for the idea of blanching the broccoli, but I did think it worked perfectly in this recipe!

  15. I don't eat broccoli as much as I should but this is a very encouraging recipe for it. I Think I would actually love it. You are always so good at choosing the right ingredients, Kalyn.

  16. Nisrine, you are so sweet. I think we just have the same taste, because all your food looks good to me too.

  17. Man o man does that look good. I like that the broccoli is barely blanched. I like a little crunch left in broccoli.

    And the fried almonds! That puts it right over the top!

  18. Thanks Curt. Frying the almonds is really a trick I'm going to remember.

  19. Fantastic! I love broccoli or cauliflower with nut kernels!
    The more non-processed they are the higher the vitamin content!
    Thanks for sharing!

  20. So glad you like it. We thought it was both nutritious *and* delicious!

  21. This looks delicious! I never fry almonds, instead I just bake them lightly. I will be making this soon for dinner and maybe I might add in a few dried cranberries too.

  22. I like the idea of baking the almonds. And cranberries would be great in this!

  23. I hate overcooked broccoli and either steam it or blanch it like you do. Would love to try it with some feta and some toasted almonds. I just toast them on the stove, no oil needed, just watch carefully.

  24. Jeanette, I agree that barely cooked broccoli is best. I've toasted almonds in a dry pan too, but frying them really did make them so flavorful.

  25. This broccoli salad looks amazing! Even raw...why not, right? Ha.

    Now its off to see if my wife, "The Hungry Wife," would be as so kind as to try this version. =P

    Check out her broccoli salad recipe for a more southern, classic spin on broccoli salad. It's very delicious as well.


  26. Love love love this dish. It's become my favorite salad and favorite broccoli dish. I can't get enough of it. Thanks for your great blog and recipes. Keep up the good work and Happy Thanksgiving.

  27. Bonnie Happy Thanksgiving to you too, and so glad you have been enjoying this!

  28. My Mom made this (at my request) for Thanksgiving. It was DELICIOUS! My whole family loved it, even my sister-in-law, who isn't too fond of broccoli. We will definitely be making this recipe again and again - thank you!!

  29. Jenn, that is great to hear. So glad you liked it!

  30. Do you think I could omit the almonds? Would it taste just as good??

  31. You can definitely omit the almonds if you choose to, but I can't honestly say it would taste as good because the fried almonds are fantastic in this recipe. Maybe use less almonds?

  32. Dear Kalyn, I made this delicious salad for lunch today. My extremely picky toddler gobbled it down in 5 seconds asking for more. I also added lemon herb wild rice and chicken marinated using your savory marinade recipe. Thank you so very much!

  33. I served this tonight for my extended family gathering. It was wonderful!!! My sister even asked me for the recipe. I will definitely make this again. It was so easy and delicious!

  34. Katharine, so glad it was a hit with your family!

  35. My CSA has given me broccoli for two weeks in a row. I've been roasting it, but this gives me another great option!

  36. I could live off salads like this. So delicious!!

  37. Oh, i am so in love with this recipe! I can't believe I've never seen it before... Not a raw brocoli fan, but love it cooked. This is just perfect.

  38. I love it that people are re-discovering this recipe because it is completely a winner!


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