Romanesco and Broccoli Salad with Quinoa, Cashews, Blueberries, Tofu, and Roasted Carrots or Sweet Potato is a marvelous health salad. It is as satisfying and delicious as it is nutritious.
Techniques. A little forethought makes a huge improvement in cooking.
* Open bagged pre-cut florets and invert them into a bowl? No. Look closely at the expiration date. Choose the freshest possible, because once cut, vegetables drop in nutrition and vitamin levels within 5 to 6 days of being cut. Often those florets are drying out, which means they lack flavor and crisp texture, and they absorb more dressing increasing calories. At least, rinse them well before using, ridding them of bacteria. Fresh is best.
* Fresh broccoli heads with firm stalks or bagged pre-cut: Rinse. Soak them in cool water for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain well, then make the salad. I promise this simple technique greatly enhances broccoli salad.
* Raw broccoli, not your favorite? Briefly steam. In a covered pot, bring water to a rolling boil. When the pot is filled with steam, place the florets in a colander inside. Steam for 1 minute. Remove. Immediately rinse under cold water to stop cooking and turn broccoli a gorgeous bright green. It remains crisp, but without rawness, which is very appealing and easier to digest.
* For 3 ounces (85 g) florets, purchase 4 to 5 ounces (113 to 142 g) fresh broccoli heads. Use about 1/8 head romanesco. Make this dish with all classic broccoli, all romanesco, or a mix.
* Vinaigrette doesn’t have to be a boring grab-the-oil-and-add-vinegar dressing. With forethought and planning, the components of the vinaigrette will enhance and emphasize individual flavors composing this salad. For example, the walnut oil and almond oil bring out the sesame and raw cashew flavors. The mild sweetness of the honey vinegar make the blueberries and sweet potato or carrots pop in flavor.
4 servings. Makes about 6 cups (1.4 liters volume) salad.
1 cup dry tri-color quinoa (6.5 ounces or 184 g = boiled 2 3/4 cups or 651 ml volume)
1 cup raw romanesco florets, pre-soaked (3 ounces or 85 g)
1 cup raw broccoli florets, pre-soaked (3 ounces or 85 g)
2 large scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/2 cup raw cashews (3 ounces or 85 g)
1/2 cup dried blueberries (3.5 ounces or 100 g)
1 small tangerine, orange, or mandarin orange, peeled and separated into sections
1 pad fried tofu tossed with sesame seeds, diced
1 roasted large carrot, diced, or small sweet potato, peeled and diced
Salad Dressing: Adjust according to your preference.
3 tablespoons (44 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) walnut oil or toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) almond, sunflower, or grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons (44 ml) honey vinegar or 2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
Fresh broccoli sprouts
Shelled raw or lightly toasted sunflower seeds
Prepare the romanesco and broccoli. Meanwhile, boil the quinoa. Make the salad dressing. Put the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Pour the salad dressing over and toss. Cover well and chill for 30 minutes before serving so flavors develop. Just before serving, garnish with fresh broccoli sprouts and sunflower seeds. Plate and enjoy every bite – it is luscious!