salad

BBQ Broccolini Salad

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Disclosure: This recipe and blog post were created in partnership with Mann’s Fresh Vegetables (Mann Packing Company). I was compensated for my time and provided with product from Mann’s. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Casey Seiden Nutrition!


The Fourth of July has come and gone, so we are firmly into summer now, which means it’s barbeque season! Sadly, living in New York City affords me limited access to an outdoor grill, so I take a more liberal view of what barbeque means throughout the months of July and August. By traditional definition, barbeque is “a meal at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors, on a rack over an open fire”. When I get the chance to do some grilling at my in-law’s house in the country I take full advantage, but in our city apartment, barbeque means cranking up the oven’s broiler to quickly get a nice crisp and char on some salmon or chicken, and also getting creative with “grilling” vegetables!

Have you ever thrown vegetables on the grill before?

Grilling can transform a vegetable side dish or salad into something truly spectacular! Heating them in such a way brings out their natural sweetness, while also lending a smoky flavor. It also has the nice effect of creating a more crisped, yet still soft texture, which many people don’t associate with veggies.

 However, not all vegetables are well-suited for tossing straight onto the grill. Many are small and oddly shaped, but I’ve happily found a new favorite that can get grilled up with minimal fuss- BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli! I’ve teamed up with Mann’s Fresh Vegetables to showcase their baby broccoli in a barbeque-style summer salad.

 BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli is actually a cross between two vegetables- gai lan and broccoli- and has a sweeter, milder flavor compared to regular broccoli. Plus, since it can be eaten from flower to stem, these larger pieces of BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli are easy grillers whereas broccoli florets may be a bit small and annoying to turn. But do you want to know the best part? My husband, who reeeally dislikes broccoli, will gladly down some charred BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli!

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 Tossing some vegetables onto grill helps boosts the fiber content of your summer barbeque spread. Animal proteins that you may be grilling up- like chicken, ribs, and fish- contain zero dietary fiber, but in just three stalks of BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli there is about 5 grams of fiber. Most of us could stand to get more fiber in our diets for improved gut health, blood sugar balance, and heart health, so why not include it in the form of deliciously grilled vegetables!

 And even though we associate winter with cold season, that doesn’t mean keeping up with micronutrients like vitamin C isn’t important in the summer. The good news if that BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli contains 130% of your daily vitamin C needs, alongside other nutrients like vitamin A, calcium, vitamin E, folate, iron, and potassium.

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 I don’t know about you, but I’ve got my tongs ready to get this BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli “grilling” and put together this summertime BBQ salad! If you have access to an outdoor grill, replace the broiling steps in this recipe with your outdoor flame.

 BBQ BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli Salad- serves 2

 For the salad:

  • 1 package Mann’s BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli

  • Olive oil spray

  • 2 small ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob

  • 1 tablespoon diced jalapeno

  • ¼ cup chopped red onion

  • Juice of 1 small lime

  • Salt, to taste

  • 4 cups mixed greens

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • ½ lb. shredded chicken breast (I used a rotisserie chicken)

 For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

 Instructions

  1. Heat the oven’s broiler to high. Spray the BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli with some olive oil and transfer it to a baking sheet. Broil for about 15 minutes or until the BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli stars to brown and crisp. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let cool.

  2. While the BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli is cooking, prepare the dressing by whisking together the yogurt, barbeque sauce, and avocado oil in a small bowl. You want the texture to be thin and pourable, so add a tad more oil or a small dash of water as needed.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the corn kernels, diced jalapeno, and red onion. Drizzle the lime juice over the mixture and season with salt to taste.

  4. When the broccoli is cool enough to handle, roughly chop the stems into 1 inch pieces.

  5. Plate the salad by layering 2 cups of greens onto each plate, then top each bed of greens with ½ cup cooked quinoa, equal amounts of chicken, BROCCOLINI® baby broccoli, and corn salad. Drizzle with the barbeque dressing and toss to coat and combine flavors.

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Plum Cucumber Salad

What do you consider cooking? Does cooking have to mean turning on a heat source? Or can it simply be getting hands-on with food by chopping, mixing, and serving? When I talk to patients, friends, and family about getting in the kitchen, people often shly admit to me that they don't know how to cook. When I ask them how they define "cooking" they start talking about their appliances- the stovetop and oven mostly. While I think those are invaluable kitchen fixtures that help prepare meals, they are not the end-all-be-all to cooking!

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Cooking can be as simple as picking up a knife, whatever kind you have in your kitchen, and guiding it through some fruits and veggies. Cooking can also be opening up a can of beans. It can also mean mixing ingredients in a jar and shaking them to make a dressing. None of these steps required a heat source, yet I consider them all methods of cooking!

That's what I wanted to showcase with this refreshing Plum Cucumber Salad. It's a raw recipe that's perfect for summer and anyone trying to add more plants into their diet.

If you've never mixed fruits and vegetables together in a salad you're missing out and I welcome you to try this recipe! The sweet, soft plums perfectly compliment the crunchy cucumber. To round it out, add in your favorite legume- I used canned chickpeas, but you could certainly do white beans or even edamame. And for the finishing touch, a nutty but sweet dressing that honestly goes well on any summer salad.

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I hope you all enjoy and find more opportunities to "cook" salads like this one. And don't forget to tag @eat.well.together on social media when you make this salad for a chance to be featured and help spread the message of easy cooking!

Plum Cucumber Salad- serves 4 as a side salad

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized kirby cucumbers
  • 1 pint small red and yellow plums, about 10-12 plums 
  • 1 can rinsed low sodium chickpeas, or 2 cups cooked from dried
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. To prepare cucumber, slice in half lengthwise, then cut those halves in half so that you have 4 long spears. Cut those spears into small-medium sized pieces (see photo for reference if needed, but really whatever size you like to munch on is good!).
  2. Slice plums in half, remove pit, and cut into quarters. To a large mixing bowl, combine cut plums, cucumbers, and chickpeas.
  3. In a glass jar (with a lid, such as a Mason or Weck jar), combine the tahini, honey, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Shake vigorously until combined, then drizzle over salad. Serve as a side at your next picnic, or make into a more complete light lunch by serving over spinach leaves and adding a whole grain, such as wheatberries or bulgur.