This Southern favorite mixes crisp vegetables with a sweet and sour dressing. Additional ingredients vary -- anything from shredded cheese to bacon or almonds can join the broccoli and cauliflower. Dressings also depend largely on the cook's personal preferences. They usually have a sweet and sour component, but some contain mayonnaise or yogurt, while others stick to the addition of only oil and spices.
The broccoli and cauliflower may be cut into bite-size florets and tossed into the salad raw, or you might choose to blanch them briefly to eliminate the uncooked flavor. Blanch the vegetables by placing them for a minute or two into boiling water, then draining and setting them in an ice-water bath until cool. Dry them thoroughly before you proceed with the recipe.
Other vegetables that make an appearance alongside the broccoli and cauliflower are slivered red onions, chopped ribs of celery and strips of colored bell pepper. Add any or all to your version.
A dressing for broccoli and cauliflower salad often includes apple cider or red wine vinegar. In that vinegar, dissolve a teaspoon or two of white, granulated sugar or honey to provide a sweet element and blend in vegetable oil at a ratio of 3-to-1, oil to vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper for a satisfying dressing or add some spices and flavorings. Popular additions are a sprinkle of dry mustard, creole seasoning or a teaspoon of creole mustard.
Many broccoli and cauliflower salads have a creaminess achieved by adding a dollop of plain yogurt and mayonnaise to the dressing.
To bring add a salty bite to the salad add any or all of the following:
- bits of cooked bacon
- shredded cheddar cheese
- sunflower seeds
For a sweeter salad, include:
- Plain, slivered almonds
- raisins or dried cranberries
- halved grapes
If you want to choose an ingredient from the salty and sweet sections, do so -- but avoid overloading the salad too much. Good combinations to add to broccoli and cauliflower include red onions, bacon and raisins with a tangy, mayonnaise-free dressing; bacon, grapes and almonds with a mayonnaise dressing; or cheese and sunflower seeds with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and sugar.