The First Mess »

Masthead header

healthy, summer feeling: broccoli, basil + avocado toss


Summer breezes really do make me feel fine. Maybe that’s a bit hokey, but it’s completely true. The celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday translates to a long weekend, big time summer kickoff around here. Families will go up north to the cottages for the first time this year, barbecues in backyards are prevalent, hikes, fireworks, cold patio beers and other libations abound, commemorative mugs with pictures of the Queen adorn the gift shop windows in my town; happy feelings. The warmth, sun, singing birds and lovely breezes draw us all outdoors, ready to enjoy each other’s company and stay in that precious light, later and later into the evening.

This seasonal shift brings me to salads and other cooler preparations for food. I still love a piece of sticky, barbecued tofu or tempeh, a pizza cooked on a hot grill, a summery sauteed succotash, lightly charred veggies and the like, but ultimately I find myself craving salad-y things and cool, tossed together items more often. Enter my secret, hardly-ever-indulged-in love of broccoli salad. You know the one I’m talking about. It has sunflower seeds, raisins, cheddar, other add-ins and a good amount of mayonnaise.  I used to work at a gourmet foods kind of place that made a version with cooked up cavena nuda (an oat-based rice sourced from the Canadian prairies). I had to literally fight myself from grabbing a bite every time I looked at it in the deliciously well-stocked to-go counter. I never felt exactly stellar after consuming it, but the combination of crisp broccoli, creamy dressing and crunchy add ins was pretty bang on to me. A wholesome, home spun version was long overdue in my life.

Another note on salad eating: the default mode of extra flesh-baring in the summertime has me gravitating towards raw foods for sure. A lot of cold weather butt-sitting has been, ahem, brought to my attention lately in some form or another. Don’t get me wrong, I’m crazy happy with life, feel pretty good and still fit into my jean shorts from last summer just fine. But sometimes when a gal slips into a little light dress for the first time and notices the dramatically bright white glow emitting from her (somehow less muscular-seeming) calves, she can’t help but get hell bent on some overall health improvement. A little time spent in the sun (vitamin D woop!) and a few salads later, all’s gonna be fine I’m sure of it.

So I give you a big bowl of broccoli. Yes! With crunchy soaked/sprouted wild rice, toasted salty sunflower seeds (you could use raw if you want to maintain an overall raw preparation), the very traditional golden raisins (you bet), and chive blossoms. The dressing is the best part though. It’s super creamy with avocado, full of basil, healthy fats and citrus-y goodness. I could eat it straight up with a spoon, no problem. The sprouted rice (technically a grass; not a grain) provides some complex carbs, protein, B vitamins, folic acid, and very delicious crunch. It won’t have the same texture as cooked rice, but I think you’ll be fine with that once you enjoy it here. I actually wouldn’t bat an eyelash at the idea of eating the whole recipe for this salad in a day. It would certainly be a fantastic barbecue potluck contribution to sway the steak eaters over to the plant enthusiast side. It’s one of those “Ha! We actually DO eat cool and exciting stuff, suckers!” kind of dishes. Also feel free to add “And check out how toned and tan my calves are!” for good measure.

broccoli salad with sprouted wild rice and citrusy avocado & basil dressing 
serves: 6-8
special equipment: a blender for the dressing
notes: I simply sprouted the rice by soaking it for a day or so, changing the water 3-4 times. The shot above (with the rice in the sieve) shows what stage it should be at. This recipe will make more than enough dressing for the salad–not exactly the worst problem in the world. Don’t have chive blossoms? Just use actual chives or finely minced shallots/red onion/green onion.

dressing:
1 medium, ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 small jalapeno, seeds and veins removed (optional)
1 cup lightly packed basil leaves
salt and pepper
3 tbsp grapeseed oil

salad:
1 bunch of broccoli, large woody stems removed
1/2 cup wild rice, soaked, sprouted and drained
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
salt and pepper
6-7 chive blossoms, broken up into smaller pieces/petals

Make the dressing: Combine all of the dressing ingredients except for the basil and oil in a blender. Blend on medium-high speed until a smooth and creamy mixture is achieved. You may have to stop the motor and push the avocado  down a couple times. Add the basil leaves and oil to the blender pitcher. Put the lid on and slowly bring the speed up to medium-high. Once you have a creamy consistency similar to mayonnaise, you’re set. It should taste sweet, tangy and rich. Adjust seasoning to your liking and set aside.

Chop the broccoli into very small florets. They shouldn’t be bigger than the end of your thumb (see photo above). Place florets into a large bowl with the sprouted rice, raisins and sunflower seeds. Pour about 3/4 of the dressing over the broccoli mixture. Give the salad a good seasoning with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Place salad into your serving bowl of choice. Garnish with chive blossoms and a sprig of basil if you like.

You might also like…

wild rice salad + proper zucchini

I had been dreaming up this combination for awhile.  I love spaghetti with pecorino, lemon and lots of black pepper. ItView full post »

asparagus salad + sesame chili lime dressing

Spring vegetables are starting to come up in a more prevalent way in and around southern Ontario. On a late night/earlyView full post »

roasted butternut and corn salad + garden herbs

So I was perusing the catering menu on Ottolenghi’s website (you’d be surprised how much time I spend doingView full post »

pin it subscribe tweet this post share on facebook email to a friend
Joyce23/05/2012 - 8:40 pm

Ooh! I can just imagine how awesome the texture of this salad would be from the seeds and wild rice. I’m definitely going to make this soon. Thanks for sharing!

Rachel23/05/2012 - 8:47 pm

This salad screams summer to me, as if I needed another reminder of the changing seasons! I bet the crunchy raw broccoli and creamy avocado are wonderful together! Perhaps I’ll make this with my purple and orange cauliflower from this week’s CSA.

Aman C23/05/2012 - 8:50 pm

Yay, looks delicious! I’m gonna make it tonight! Thanks a lot!

Brooke (The Flour Sack)23/05/2012 - 9:31 pm

Oh my goodness!!! This looks completely incredible… I am absolutely making this this weekend! I will report back when I do :)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar23/05/2012 - 10:01 pm

This salad is stunning! Love this idea!

Cookie and Kate24/05/2012 - 12:47 am

Oooh girl, this is my kind of meal. I just want to stick a fork in it. It’s salad weather around here, that’s for sure! The sheer thought of putting on a swimsuit has motivated me to start doing lunges across my apartment. Computer bum no more!

Kathryn24/05/2012 - 5:08 am

I need some serious work before any of my flesh is on display; this salad looks just the ticket.

autumn24/05/2012 - 6:21 am

I too have fond memories of broccoli salad and for me it was my grandma’s and also less-than-virtuous. I love that the creaminess in the recipe comes from avocado instead of mayo!

Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn24/05/2012 - 8:32 am

I’m not a big fan of mayo, so am constantly avoiding the creamy salads at BBQs – but using avocado to get the creamy factor is such a great idea! You got my wheels spinning!

Dara24/05/2012 - 9:02 am

This is a beautiful salad! I am loving the flavors and colors.

Tine24/05/2012 - 10:28 am

I definitely gonna make this salad! Beautiful colors, beautiful taste!

Margarita24/05/2012 - 10:40 am

I love the healthy goodness packed in this fresh salad! Indeed a salad for healthy, glowing skin and a sexy body!

Sarah24/05/2012 - 11:03 am

I have never sprouted rice! Very cool, chica.

Kevin (Closet Cooking)24/05/2012 - 8:17 pm

That avocado dressing sounds so good!

sarah24/05/2012 - 9:56 pm

This looks so good, so delicious and healthy. Just what I need on a day like today {when I put chocolate in my coffee and made banana bread, ha}

myfudo25/05/2012 - 4:14 am

I love broccoli! The avocado adds more flavor. I am making this definitely…

Becs @ Lay the table25/05/2012 - 8:52 am

Wow, I’ve never seen sprouted rice before, got to try this.

Jeanine26/05/2012 - 11:58 am

Yum! I love all of these textures. I used to love that mayonaise-ey raisin-ey broccoli salad so I’m excited to try your healthier version :)

[...] Broccoli, Avocado, and Rice Salad – This is one of the more interesting (and beautiful) salads I’ve seen lately. Though I couldn’t get a picture to show you – I definitely recommend heading over the her blog and checking it out – it’s well worth the time! This salad features broccoli, wild rice, and an avocado dressing. I like the idea of combining veggies, fats, and grains all in one dish – it’s a meal in itself! [...]

Lj27/05/2012 - 7:46 pm

I made this salad and took to a Menorial Day family gathering. It went over very well! I didn’t have sunflower seeds so I used chopped almonds and it worked fine. I especially liked the avacado dressing because it was very rich and creamy with no mayo, so I didn’t have to worry about serving something that might have gone bad on a long hot carride. Thanks for the recipe, I will be checking back for more:)

Recipe Roundup « Curious Joys28/05/2012 - 4:29 pm

[...] – Broccoli, Basil + Avocado Toss [...]

Laura Heck29/05/2012 - 12:00 am

I made this last night, minus the sprouted rice because we didn’t have enough time to sprout it ourselves. Added some chopped white onion and diced avocado to the salad and it was absolutely delicious! Definitely a favorite for summer. We had baked red snapper and jalepeno cheddar grits too, such a good meal all together!

Koko29/05/2012 - 12:09 pm

I LOVE the sound of this recipe. Just amazing….broccoli, avocado….mmmm!

[...] Dinner: A heaping plateful of one of the most genius salads I’ve encountered (and I’ve encountered my fair share of salads, believe you me), the Broccoli Salad with Sprouted Wild Rice and Citrus Avocado Basil Dressing from Laura at The First Mess. [...]

[...] It’s easy to whip up a pasta salad and fun to get creative with the ingredients.  But what about opting for a green salad to accompany the meat?   Broccoli Basil & Avocado Toss looks sure to satisfy the veggie part of the equation. {from The First Mess} [...]

{Monday Mentions} Things I am.20/08/2012 - 8:29 am

[...] Broccoli, Avocado and Wild Rice Salad. Woah! Stop.  Dinnertime. (yes I did) [...]

Claire25/02/2013 - 9:09 pm

Just made the dressing for this salad (rice is soaking now) and totally DID eat some of it with a spoon. Yum. Not sorry.

[...] From: The First Mess [...]

smoothiejunkie06/06/2013 - 6:10 pm

My rice has been in water for 4 days and now just beginning to sprout. Good thing I didn’t make the rest of the salad for dinner last night. I’m using Lundberg Black Japonica Rice… is there something else out there that sprouts quicker?

Thanks

Laura Wright07/06/2013 - 4:48 pm

Hi there, I definitely recommend/specify wild rice for this recipe (like this one: http://www.lundberg.com/products/rice/packaged_rice/Wild_Rice_Organic.aspx). I’ve never tried sprouting any other type, so can’t speak to how long they would take.
-L

Sherry17/07/2013 - 1:09 pm

That is the MOST divine dressing that has ever graced my taste buds! It’s a lifetime keeper. I’ll be using it on everything I can think of. Thank you!

[...] and Wild Rice Salad With Citrusy Avocado and Basil Dressing via The First Mess Last but not least, here’s a salad that looks and tastes more elegant than most piles of raw [...]

Cass01/10/2013 - 10:29 pm

Hi, this looks delish and I can’t wait to make it! I’m in Australia and can’t get chive blossoms – is there anything I can substitute it with?

Thanks

Laura Wright02/10/2013 - 8:23 am

Hi Cass, you can just use chopped up chives and it would be all the same :)
-L

[…] this is likely a salad like none your Memorial Day pack has had the pleasure of tasting. Give the Broccoli Salad with Sprouted Wild Rice and Citrusy Avocado & Basil Dressing from the folks over at The First Mess the side-dish spot at your picnic spread. Everyone will be […]

Sarah10/01/2014 - 12:01 am

Made this for dinner tonight- really good! The dressing was amazing. Super complex. We are on a paleo diet so I subbed out the rice for some “rice” we made with cauliflower! Worked great.

[…] scoop of beans, then smother the whole thang in some kind of awesome sauce. I particularly love this one (creamy and tangy), this one (spicy and peanuty, though I swap agave for white sugar) and this one […]

[…] what I whipped up; wild rice and broccoli salad with an avocado and basil dressing, and a chickpea salad with a mango dressing. I also cooked some sweet potato fries and warmed up […]

Pat11/06/2014 - 1:30 pm

Hi,
I’ve made this amazing salad several time and have recently (finally) gathered all the ingredients to make it again. We have another recipe (an unhealthy but delicious pasta dish) which my family devours as soon as it’s made. My daughter has named it crack (as in crack cocaine) due it’s immediate effect. So today I made your salad and as soon as I tasted it after a long hiatus, I immediately had to name it ‘crack2′. HA! This is delicious! Incredible! Thank you!

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*