Thursday, July 23, 2009

Paula Deen's Broccoli Salad

This is the first year I've had a vegetable garden, and it's been quite a challange for me. As you read my posts over the next several weeks, you'll come to understand just how ignorant I am about vegetables! Here's an example: I had no idea that broccoli produced flowers. If I had harvested my broccoli on time, I should still be as ignorant!! LOL!! I guess it makes sense, "broccoli flowerets" - flowerets has the word "flower" in it (am I making any sense??). Well anyway, I went out one morning to check my garden and there they were!! Honest, they weren't there the day before!! I quickly cut out my two heads of broccoli and brought them inside.
One thing I discovered is that the broccoli heads didn't get as big as the ones at the grocery store. I'd say they were about 1/2 the normal grocery store size. I didn't fertilize at all this year, so that could have been the reason. So now I had two heads of broccoli and needed to do something with them. I started looking at some recipes online and found a good one for Paula Deen's Broccoli Salad. It was a warm day, and I didn't feel like standing at the stove, so this was a good alternative. And we were grilling out that night, so this would be a nice side dish. After rinsing and trimming off the flowers, here is what my cut up broccoli looked like:
As you can see, it is just slightly yellow and some of the flowerets are not quite as compact (meaning, they were kind of spindly). This means I took too long to cut the head. I was probably off by about a day or two. Oh well, live and learn! Paula's recipe called for 6 - 8 slices crumbled cooked bacon, but I substituted Hormel's real bacon bits. Also, her recipe had cubed cheddar, and I substituted blue cheese, and added sliced sundried tomatoes for the cherry tomatoes (this was on the fly, so I used what I had on hand!) After putting that all together, here is what the dry part of the salad looked like:

For the dressing, you combine mayonnaise, white vinegar and sugar:Combine the dressing and the broccoli, and "WaLa!" - Broccoli Salad!! :)

This was an excellent side dish to a grilled dinner - a little sweet and sour. The homegrown broccoli was excellent - not as tough as grocery store broccoli and a little more flavorful. So for not knowing how to grow broccoli, and realizing last minute I needed a broccoli recipe, this was excellent and a keeper. Everyone in my family loved it and we had some leftover for the next evening! Here is the recipe with my modifications to the side. Hope you enjoy!!

Paula Deen's Brocccoli Salad

(with my adaptations for items on hand!!)

1 head broccoli

6 - slices cooked bacon, crumbled (I used 1/2 package Hormel Bacon Bits)

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup raisins, optional (I used golden raisins for their sweetness)

8 oz sharp Cheddar, cut into very small chunks (I used a handful or two of crumbled blue cheese)

1 cup mayonnaise

2 T white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes (I used 1/2 cup thinly sliced oil packed sundried tomatoes, drained and rinsed)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim off the large leaves from the broccoli stem. Remove the tough stalk at the end and wash broccoli head thoroughly. Cut the head into flowerets and the stem into bite-size pieces (I only used the flowerets). Place in a large bowl. Add the crumbled bacon, onion, raisins if using, and cheese. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, stirring well. Add to broccoli mixture and toss gently. Serve and enjoy! (That last line was my comment!!)

***Tomorrow's Post: Italian Penne Pasta Salad***


  1. I want to start a vegetable garden!!! Haven't had time to do it though :( That salad looks great and I can just picture having it during a summer barbque :) Your broccoli looks scrumptious :)

  2. I've made Paula's broccoli salad before and it's SO good! I like the addition of sun dried tomatoes - sounds good!

  3. That looks wonderful! I'm definately going to have to try that one.

  4. I want some NOW. This looks delicious. I have to try this. I think it will be a success.

  5. Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm really excited to be cooking with a Paula group. This salad looks yummy. I was trying to figure out how to follow your blog.....I'm seriously challenged on the computer.

  6. I made this tonight and it was a big success. I had to return to thank you. I like the idea of the golden raisins being added. They taste sweet and they bring the color into the look.