July 25, 2012

Broccoli and Zoodle Summer Salad: 38 Power Foods - #5 Broccoli

When I was younger, I wasn't a broccoli fan.  Shocker, right?  It had absolutely nothing to do with the taste or me being a picky eater but a family story involving broccoli cooked so long that it turned grey.  Adding to the prejudice was the oddly sweet broccoli salad my mother would bring to picnics (sorry, Ger) and a green jello concoction with broccoli in it appropriately called "Green Stuff."  Seriously, how was a kid supposed to like broccoli when the adults insisted on mistreating it?

I grew up and so did my palette, and now I thoroughly enjoy broccoli and broccolini.  Which is great because it boosts immunity with beta-carotene, perfect for a lady who works in a hospital.  It also has been shown to regulate blood pressure, aid in dieting by providing fiber, and contains an antioxidant indole-3-carbinole that is anti-carcinogenic.  Good stuff, but probably not found in the cooked-to-death grey broccoli.

This salad was a result of overzealous purchase of local veggies and garlic in the kitchen transition.  I also picked up some nifty new peelers: a julienne peeler and a serrated peeler!  The serrated peeler will be able to get soft skins off of fruits while the julienne peeler makes adorable noodle like strips from hearty vegetables like zucchini and squash.  Before we switched to the linky party format for foodie friends friday, I featured a recipe about "zoodles" from Angie at A'lil Country Sugar and I've been thinking about using the zoodles in a faux pasta salad ever since!

They are a snap to make: just peel the skin and the "peel" with the julienne peeler.  To avoid the potential sticky zucchini juice, I put the strips into a cold water bath before blanching in salted boiling water.  Fresh local corn, cremini mushrooms, and broccoli florets were sautéed over medium heat in olive oil and added to the blanched noodles.

The star of this dish, however, is definitely the roasted garlic vinaigrette.  I bought about 10 heads of garlic because they were on super sale so I roasted half for an hour at 400 F (full instructions here) to freeze and store.  Roasted garlic, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil buzzed up with my immersion blender was a revelation.  I need to make this dressing every week!  It was mellow and sweet from the garlic with the bite of lemon that pairs so well with broccoli while getting all into the nooks and crannies of the florets.  Seriously, go make this now!

Also, it may be before my time, but I had Dana Carvey's chopping broccoli song stuck in my head whilst writing this post . . .

Broccoli and Zoodle Summer Salad
1-2 zucchinis
1 crown of broccoli, chopped into bite sized florets
1 cup of corn
1 8 oz package of cremini mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
2 lemons, juiced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teeny squirt of honey
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by preparing the zoodles.  Peel the skin and then use a julienne peeler to get noodle-like strips of the zucchini, avoiding the seeds.  Blanch for about 2 minutes in salted boiling water, drain.

In a large saute pan, begin the rest of the veggies by sauteing the mushrooms in about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  When they begin to brown, season with salt and pepper, add the corn and broccoli, and let cook another 2-3 minutes until the broccoli has just deepened in color.

To make the dressing, buzz up all of the ingredients with an immersion blender (or real blender or food processor).  Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Combine the zoodles, veggies, and dressing and serve up.  Enjoy!


  1. Looks great! And thanks...now I will be singing the broccoli song in my head the rest of the day! ;)

    1. My sister had never heard of it, so of course we had to pull it up on YouTube! Time suck of Dana Carvey stand up, love it lol

  2. Thank you for the shout-out. And that salad looks out of this world fantastic. I love veggies, and this would be perfect to try. And no sugar! I'm in! I'm going to pin this so I can try it soon.

    1. Thanks for the inspiration! Let me know how it turns out!

  3. What a beautiful and healthy way to enjoy all the wonderful summer produce that's in season.

  4. This makes me want to go out and buy a julienne peeler so I can make zoodles too.



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