Picnic and cookout time is upon us in the Mid-Atlantic. Time for family gatherings and outdoor parties: grilled burgers and dogs, pasta salads, potato salads, macaroni salad, baked beans.
They are all great foods – but I have been watching my carbohydrate intake for a few years now so I like to make sure there is a low-carb selection among all those high-carb dishes for me to eat with my burger. A lone burger (no bun) on the plate is just plain sad.
This salad is not only low-carb but raw broccoli is so very good for you and even better when it’s organically grown. Now, because a low-carb dish can be high fat (fats are not too worried about in a low-carb lifestyle), you may want to substitute lo-cal dressings, fat-free cheese and a turkey meat – that is your prerogative. It will be just as yummy!
I recently took this to a baseball team cookout and TWO DADS gave me fist bumps and a great big thank you, then they promptly had 2 huge servings – wow did I feel proud (I made sure to serve myself some before it was completely finished off).
So here in all it’s low-carb (high-fat) glory is the easiest salad you will ever throw together!
Broccoli – 2-3 heads
Mini Pepperonis – I have used packaged bacon in the past but it does not hold up well, it gets soggy
Grated Cheese – I like a medium cheddar and a large grate – about 1/2 cup – stir in just before serving
Chopped Red Onion – this is optional but adds a nice “bite” – about 1/4 cup
Sweet and Sour Salad Dressing – may also be called Poppy Seed Dressing – about 1/2 cup
Mayonnaise – about 1/2 cup, or 1 part dressing to 1 part mayo
Milk – may be necessary to thin the dressing
Chop Broccoli, including the stem – use as much stem as you are comfortable with compared to the amount of “head” – into very small pieces. Mix everything together EXCEPT the cheese. Adjust amounts of ingredients to your liking and thin the dressing if it needs it. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat or transport. Transport salad and reserved cheese in a cooler. Stir in Cheese just before serving.
The Cheese will get gooey in the dressing, that’s why you will want to toss it in just before serving. If you opt to use bacon crumbles, stir them in at the end with the cheese as they too will get soft.
Substitute low-fat products for the pepperoni, cheese, dressing and mayonnaise – you could use non-fat sour cream for the mayo also.
Raisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruits and chopped nuts would be absolutely yummy. I think I would not use the pepperoni or bacon in that case but that is just MHO.
You can change up the dressing – kids may not like the sweet and sour taste, they may go more for ranch in which case you can just use ranch dressing, although I still like to cut the strong dressing flavor with something like mayo or sour cream.
My 2 year-old grandson loves this salad – he especially likes to pick out the mini pepperonis – he is not very much into meats yet so with this dish he can get quite a bit of protein (between the cheese and pepperoni) and not realize it or taste it – so I think this is a very kid-friendly recipe.
I like to keep a large bowl of this prepared in my fridge to snack on – toss in some cheese and eat!
I hope you enjoy!
~ Kyle Travers ~ Chief Mom Editor and Owner of Boutique Elli’Ette – Knot Dresses & More