Six Million Dollar Man Broccoli Salad

Six Million Dollar Man Broccoli Salad

I have a nice broccoli bed in the garden and we’ve been eating it at breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week now. In trolling the internet for some new prep inspirations (my fave was a pistou, or cold sauce, made from broccoli stock with broccoli puree!) I found a great concept from, of all people, Paula Deen. She has a terrific flare for tickling the American palate, but the nutritional impact of many of her dishes needs a serious makeover…

So her base idea is fresh veggies, featuring broccoli – good start – but then she adds a CUP of mayo, half a pound of cheese, 8 slices of bacon, and 4 tablespoons of sugar to turn it into a sweet American fat fest! Not so easy to smack down a nutrient powerhouse like broccoli, but like I said – she has a gift.

As they said about Steve Austin: “We can rebuild him”. So to craft my Six-Million-Dollar-Man-makeover of Paula Deen’s broccoli salad recipe, I started by dumping most of the mayo and all of the cheese – serious overkill. And if you’d prefer a protein hit over the fat of the mayo, sub in plain Greek yogurt, but I wanted to preserve the creamy flavor of mayo.

I hung on to the bacon, again for the irreplaceable flavor hit, but kept it minimal, and suggest using turkey bacon or even the pretty decent vegan version, Frontier’s Bac ‘Uns, plus almonds for additional crunch. Bye-bye sugar, hello rice syrup, but just a touch. And finally, I subbed out the white vinegar (much better suited for toilet cleaning, in my opinion) for raw apple cider vinegar. The tasty and far healthier Paula Deen homage is below – feel free to tweak it out in any way you like, it’s a fabulous concept!

2 medium heads broccoli

1/3 cup natural mayonnaise (or plain Greek yogurt)

1 tablespoon rice syrup (or coconut nectar)

2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional for a little kick

1/4 cup finely chopped chives or scallions

2/3 cup additional veggies (I used the de-veined and thinly sliced raw snow peas I had in the fridge- sweet and super-fresh, but I think it would also be terrific with diced raw or roasted red bell pepper or even shredded or finely diced carrots)

1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

2-3 slices cooked and crumbled turkey bacon (or 2 tablespoons Frontier’s Bac ‘Uns)

Chop the broccoli head into bite-sized florets and dice the stems (slice the skins off first if they are tough). Paula keeps hers raw, and mine was fresh-picked so I had it raw, but if yours isn’t super-fresh, just steam the chopped pieces for 2-3 minutes and dump into an ice bath to cool and keep them firm. Drain very well.

In a large bowl whisk together the mayo, rice syrup, cider vinegar and red pepper flakes, if using. Add the prepared broccoli, chives, additional veggies, almonds and bacon and gently toss to lightly coat. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge for an hour or two.