With their flowery, showy crowns, broccoli florets get all the love, leaving their thick, knobby stems so often woefully underappreciated.
I grew up in a household that actually valued those stems. My mom would squeeze two meals out of a couple heads of broccoli, stir-frying the florets with pork one night, then stir-frying the thinly sliced stalks with shrimp the next evening. It was not only frugal, but double the deliciousness.
If you ever doubted that the appeal of those stalks, then “Broccoli Salad with Peanuts and Tahini-Lime Dressing” will definitely sway you.
When shopping for this recipe, you definitely want broccoli that’s more stalk than crown. That’s because the stalks are grated to form the foundation of this salad. A food processor makes fast work of this, too. The florets then can be finely chopped or shredded in the food processor, too.
Add all of it to a big bowl, and toss with chopped peanuts and scallions, as well as a creamy yet not heavy dressing made with tahini, lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, garlic and a drop or two of your favorite hot sauce.
I’m not always a fan of raw broccoli because it tends to be so fibrous. But when it’s shredded like this, it becomes more tender yet still crunchy. The dressing also helps to soften up the broccoli just a bit.
The recipe doesn’t include salt, so I added it because I didn’t think the splash of soy sauce provided enough to really make the flavors bloom.
This is a crunchy, hearty salad that tastes wonderfully nutty, and subtly Asian. Any leftover will soften still more in the fridge overnight, but will still maintain its character.
It makes a great side for most anything grilled, sandwiches galore or for roast chicken.
And it’ll definitely make you more grateful for those broccoli stalks.
Broccoli Salad with Peanuts and Tahini-Lime Dressing
(Serves 6 to 8)
2 pounds broccoli (look for those that are more stalk than crown)
¾ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (3 to 5 scallions)
½ cup lightly salted peanuts, finely chopped
⅓ cup tahini
¼ cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons honey or agave
1 garlic clove, finely grated
A few dashes of hot sauce, plus more to taste
Salt, to taste
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro or mint
Trim the broccoli stalks and peel them to remove the tough outer layer. Cut off the florets, leaving as much of the stalk as possible intact, and set the florets aside. Using the shredding or julienne blade of a food processor, a mandoline or a sharp knife, julienne the stems and place them in a large bowl.
Finely chop or julienne the florets and add them to the bowl, along with the scallions and peanuts.
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the tahini, lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, garlic and hot sauce and whisk until smooth. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss thoroughly to coat. Season with salt, to taste. Set aside at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, tossing occasionally, to allow the broccoli to soften slightly.
Just before serving, add the fresh herbs and toss well. (You can refrigerate for up to 8 hours before serving.)
Adapted from a New York Times recipe by Lidey Heuck
More Broccoli Recipes to Enjoy: Lemon, Broccoli and Garlic Deep-Pan Pizza