Friday, December 13, 2013

FESTIVE BROCCOLI SALAD plus How to Seed A Pomegranate

As I’m looking at pictures of my lovely Festive Broccoli Salad, thinking about how pretty it is I’m realizing I have a preference for green with white and red. 

The green I knew, I love to wear green, I love to decorate with green, I love green in nature.  

As I look around my kitchen it’s mostly white, with quite a bit of green and with red accents.

In my garden I love lots of greenery, with pops of red flowers, and I learned that white flowers can be seen at night so I have some of those too.

I know that there are those who think the red, white and green color scheme is too common for Christmas, but I loooove it above all other color schemes!

This pretty salad does look rather Christmassy with its green broccoli trees, little ruby red pomegranate jewels, and walnuts that I could have opened with my Christmas Nutcracker…but I didn’t, I opened the bag of nuts instead because I’m lazy like that.  

While Festive Broccoli Salad does look like traditional Christmas, I actually served it for Thanksgiving; it would also be great for New Year’s or any holiday party.  At times of the year when there are no pomegranates (or you just don’t feel like removing all those seeds) dried cranberries would be really great too!

Here’s how you make this pretty dish! 

Cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces; I love broccoli stems so I peel and cut those up as well.  

This looks like a lot of broccoli because it is, keep in mind as you're looking at the photos that this was a  triple batch that I made, but the recipe is for a single batch.

Blanching the broccoli isn't necessary, you don’t have to do it, but I like to do it. 
Blanching the broccoli in boiling salted water for about 45 seconds removes the rawness without cooking the broccoli.

BTW There’s my green and off-white tile, and a red kettle is on the left.

Drain the broccoli and plunge it straight into a large bowl of ice water, this will stop the cooking process leaving you with broccoli that is bright green and still crisp.

Once the broccoli is completely cooled, drain it and allow it to sit in the colander for a good while so that all the water drains out.

Next make the dressing.

Remember that this is a triple batch, so this is a lot of dressing. 

In a medium bowl combine equal part mayonnaise and Greek yogurt; to that add some apple cider, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and some oil.  

I like the flavor of walnut oil, but if you don't have it just use canola oil.

Grate some fresh ginger and whisk that in too.  

Ginger can be a strong flavor so use 1/2 to 1 1/2 tsp. depending on how much you like.

Whisk the dressing until it's smooth, and then season with salt and pepper to taste; refrigerate until you're ready to assemble.

To remove the pomegranate seeds cut the top and bottom off, and score just the skin in quarters.

Now don an apron just in case of squirtage, cuz the juice will stain.  

Get a big bowl of water and gently break the pomegranate into quarters, using the scored lines as a guide.

Using your finger gently pull the pith away and pry the seeds apart.  

The pith will float and the seeds with sink to the bottom of the bowl.

Looks at those lovey ruby red jewels!

Toast some walnut or pecan halves to make them yummier.  

You can use a dry skillet, but I already had my oven on, so I roasted them at 400 degrees for 7 minutes.

Slice up 3 scallions for a mild onion flavor.

I prepped the salad the night before, put everything into separate bags and containers, and put it into the refrigerator.  The salad is ready to assemble (RTA) either right before service or a couple of hours before!

Then I dump it into a large bowl, reserving a few tablespoons each of the pomegranate seeds and nuts for garnish.  Add only about 2/3 of the dressing to begin with and see how you like it; some folks like lots of dressing and some don't.  The broccoli will release more water once the salad is dressed, which will dilute the dressing, so add a little more dressing.

Garnish the top of the salad with the remaining pomegranate seeds and walnuts, refrigerate until service time; using a slotted spoon for serving is helpful.

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.


Serves 4 to 6

For the Broccoli Salad

1              bunch      Broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces (1 bunch of broccoli will yield about 6 cups)
3                            Scallions, thinly sliced
2/3           cup         Walnuts halves
2/3           cup         Pomegranate seeds
1              recipe      Creamy Ginger Dressing (recipe follows)

   1.       This step is optional; it takes the rawness from the broccoli with out cooking the broccoli!  Blanch the broccoli in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 45 seconds.  Drain the broccoli and immediately plunge it into a large bowl of ice water that is standing by.  When the broccoli is completely cooled drain it really well.
   2.       Toast the walnuts either in a hot dry skillet or on a sheet pan in a 400 degree oven for about 7 minutes.
   3.       Reserve about 2 tablespoons each of the walnuts and pomegranate seeds for garnish. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat; but add only about two thirds of the dressing to start, give it a taste, and add more dressing if you like.  Sprinkle the reserved walnuts and pomegranate seeds over the top.  Store in the refrigerator.

For the Creamy Ginger Dressing

½                          cup       Mayonnaise
½                          cup       Greek yogurt
¼                          cup       Apple cider
3                           Tbsp.     Maple syrup
3                           Tbsp.     Walnut or Canola oil
2                           Tbsp.     Apple cider vinegar
½ to 1 1/2               tsp.      Fresh grated ginger
                                        Salt and Pepper to taste

   1.       In a medium bowl whisk together all of the ingredients, add only as much ginger as you like. 
   2.       Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Note:  When pomegranates are not in season, 1/2 cup of dried cranberries can be used instead!

You may also like:

Broccoli Cheese and Rice Casserole


  1. this salad is indeed very hooked to every single ingredient listed...they will make such a scrumptious salad,thanks for sharing :-)

  2. I love a good broccoli salad. The addition of pomegranate makes this salad pop. Pinned!

  3. Ooohhh I love this salad but I never though to added Pomegranates to it! YUM!