Broccoli Salad with Apples and Cashews
Picnics, potlucks, and beach days require a salad with some staying power. Broccoli Salad with Apples and Cashews is bright, colorful, and crunchy. Plus, it won’t go limp on you.
Pulling it all together is a lip-smacking dressing from the 1970s.
Honey Mustard Dressing
While the combination of honey and mustard has been around since ancient times, honey mustard salad dressing has been on the scene since the 1970s. I guess for some people, that is considered ancient times. For me, those were junior high school days.
During junior high, I had given myself the worst haircut of my life and contemplated dropping out of school. It was just going to be a quick trim of my bangs. Thirty minutes and several inches later, my scissor-happy hands had inadvertently crafted a mullet.
I had Joe Dirt’s hairstyle before Joe Dirt existed.
My mother, however, saved the evening. She had made a new chicken recipe that had a delicious sauce that was all the rage: honey mustard. It was addictingly good and distracted my truant thoughts.
Honey mustard and honey mustard salad dressing started showing up not only on our dinner table, but at restaurants, school lunches, and potlucks. Sweet and tangy, very yellow or nearly brown, honey mustard was suddenly everywhere. And I loved it.
This honey mustard dressing is equal parts honey, mustard, vinegar, and oil. It is simple but supremely satisfying on salad greens, chicken tenders, or vegetable salads like this one. I’d even add that it is an antidote to a bad haircut.
Another key ingredient in this salad: shallots.
Pinky and rosy on the outside, and lavender on the inside, shallots are part of the onion family. Onions are the loud, notice-me extroverted members of the family while shallots are the cool introverted siblings. Their milder and more delicate flavor works well in salads and salad dressings.
When sliced in rings, they bring a softer oniony flavor to your favorite green or pasta salad. They can also be caramelized and added to sauces, roasts, and soups. When dusted in flour, they can be quickly pan-fried to shattery crispness and used as a topping on just about anything.
Because their cellular structure is different from that of onions, shallots more easily break down in meltiness in both cooked and raw forms. Finely chopped shallots added to salad dressings will soften but continue to provide flavor for a good two weeks. Unlike garlic, which spoils quickly once cut, shallots in a vinaigrette keep well.
- You might not feel like blanching the broccoli, but I assure you it is a worthwhile step. Raw broccoli can be tough to eat, especially if it isn’t cut into bite-size pieces. Blanching ensures the broccoli is tender-crisp plus it stays a pretty, bright green.
- Most grocery stores carry shallots, but if you can’t find them sub in red onion instead. Red onion has a sharper bite than shallots, so soaking the slices in cold water will help tame it.
- If you are making this salad a day ahead, don’t add the cashews until just before serving time to retain their crunch. Another salad that keeps well: Lemon and Herb Potato Salad.
- 5 cups broccoli florets
- 1 red-skinned apple
- 1 green-skinned pear
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup shallot, thinly sliced
- ½ cup roasted cashews
- ½ cup dried cranberries
Honey Mustard Dressing:
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Boil 6 cups of water in a kettle or saucepan. While the water boils, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and water. Set aside.
- Place broccoli florets in a large bowl and pour boiling water over it to cover. Allow to blanch for 3 or 4 minutes, then drain the water. Plunge the broccoli into the prepared ice bath to stop the cooking process. Allow to cool for 3 or 4 minutes, then remove the florets with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Core and chop the apple and pear. Leave the skins on for color and fiber. Toss the pieces with lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Add the apple, pear, shallot, cashews, and cranberries to the broccoli and toss to combine.
- Pour the honey, vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper into a screw-top jar. Cover and shake to emulsify.
- Drizzle the salad with some of the dressing (you will have some leftover) and stir to coat everything.
Keywords: broccoli salad with apples and cashews