Broccoli is one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. If you've been eating it steamed or raw with dip, I understand that you may not be a fan. In this case you need to widen your horizons and try something new. The king of brassicas can be quite exciting when prepared correctly and pared with bold, bright tasting ingredients. This salad is a perfect example. Not only it's full of flavor thanks to ras-el-hanout, it combines the best possible textures in one dish: crisp broccoli; chewy, sticky dates; and crunchy toasted pistachios.
Get the recipe here.
While the original recipe called for raw broccoli, I decided to blanch it for a short period of time before adding it to the salad. The reason being that raw broccoli is hard to digest and for some people, myself included, not so pleasant to eat. Blanching the broccoli for 3 minutes softens it just enough that it remains crisp, but is not too hard. I thought that adding dates, pistachios and jalapeno was a great idea, as it creates a variety of tastes and textures that complement the broccoli, making it really shine in this recipe.
Combining ras-el-hanout with bright lemon juice and vinegar and garlic in the dressing creates a lot of flavor, and the longer the salad sits, the better it gets. Broccoli soaks up the dressing, and the result is a delicious, satisfying and definitely not boring salad. There's a bit of spice, a bit of sweetness, a bit of crunch and a whole lot of flavor that keeps you craving for more. It literally makes my mouth water as I am writing this, so you have to try it.
If you are not familiar with ras-el-hanout, it's a Moroccan spice blend that was created by North African spice dealers who would mix together the best of what they had on offer, thus creating a heady, aromatic signature blend. It's an earthy, vibrant mix made with cumin, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, allspice, cloves and salt and pepper (recipe included). Already prepared blends are available on Amazon or at Middle Eastern food markets, though the spice contents may be different, since there are so many variations of this seasoning. You can substitute ras-el-hanout with garam masala or curry powder. I did not test the recipe with these spices, but it sounds good, feel free to experiment and find your favorite flavor.
Still not excited about broccoli? Keep reading, we are not done yet! Broccoli's health benefits are well-known and often talked about, but it is also a powerful beauty food that nourishes not only the skin, but also the joints and connective tissue around the body to help you move fluidly. Because it's high in calcium, magnesium and zinc, broccoli helps keep your bones strong, and also keeps your body more alkaline. When your body is more alkaline, you retain calcium better in your bones. Another great feature, especially for women, is broccoli's high concentration of folate and iron, which keeps the blood healthy, the circulation flowing and anemia at bay. Iron's absorption is optimized in the presence of vitamin C, and because broccoli has both, it's an ideal combination. Broccoli helps prevent moving issues associated with aging, like osteoporosis and arthritis, keeping you moving youthfully and gracefully.
Broccoli contains vitamin A, which has collagen-smoothing and repairing properties, as well as the important minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants, making it a fabulous anti-aging food. It also has a compound sulphoraphane, which may reduce inflammation and skin damage from the sun. *
With so many benefits and a variety of ways to prepare it, broccoli really deserves a better place at our table. This salad is just one exciting way to eat it, but there are tons of other recipes to try, and they will be coming soon!
Get the recipe here.
This recipe is
Refined Sugar Free
*Excerpts from the book The Beauty Detox Foods by Kimberly Snyder, C.N.
What other kinds of recipes would you like to see? Let me know!