Friday, September 18, 2015

Crisp Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Bacon and a Creamy Honey Balsamic Dressing - Easy to Make Ahead and Sure to Please a Crowd!

There's really nothing more fun than a simple, easy night of grilling with your friends or family on a lazy summer weekend. As I live in the Houston area, we BBQ and grill pretty much year-round. Which means that I am constantly on the lookout for new side dishes to serve with whatever tasty items that my husband manages to invent himself (I'm not gonna lie - he's a grill master. I work hard sometimes to keep up or stay ahead of him on the weekends!). So, when I'm served a new dish at someone else's house and the hubs asks me to get the recipe, I know that it's a keeper.

That's what happened recently at a friend's house. Another friend brought a broccoli and cauliflower salad as her contribution to the meal, and I HAD to grab it for us to use (I'll agree on this one, it was good!) Her salad was awesome, but, of course, I am never known to follow a recipe exactly as written. So off I went, adding, subtracting and modifying just a bit. My results were fabulous and we have a new family favorite side dish. I would love nothing more than to give credit to the original source, but I'm not really sure where it came from. From a friend of a friend and who knows where else? But, I will say that the Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar added a nice sweet tang to the sauce and everyone who ate my version loved it! The sweetness was noticed and appreciated, but it didn't overwhelm any other part of the dish. So, if you're tired of the same old slaw and potato salad, give this a shot. I'm pretty sure you'll love it!

Crisp Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Bacon and a Creamy Honey Balsamic Dressing
by Chris
Adapted from a recipe given to me by the lovely Miss Katy P.

1 1/2 cups raw broccoli, cut into thumbnail-sized dice
1/2 cup raw cauliflower, cut into thumbnail-sized dice
1/2 cup raw celery (about 2 stalks), cut into thumbnail-sized dice
1 cup of peas (frozen or canned - if frozen, no need to defrost)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups mayonnaise (I used one cup of regular Duke's and one cup of Hellman's Light)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Honey Ridge Honey Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar
1/4 cup chopped sweet/yellow onion
1/3 cup (heaping - almost a 1/2 a cup) Parmesan cheese, shredded
Pinch of salt, to taste
1 12-ounce package of original bacon (not thick cut), diced/ cubed, cooked, and cooled (l cut my bacon with kitchen shears while raw and baked on an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet at 400°F for about 20-30 minutes. I drained the grease and also stirred/mixed the bacon 2-3 times during cooking. Drain on paper towels until cool.)

In a large bowl, mix the broccoli, cauliflower, celery and peas. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, mix the sugar, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Honey Ridge Balsamic Honey Vinegar, onion, cheese and salt. Reserve the bacon to be added just before serving. Stir the dressing (in the medium bowl every 10 minutes for 30-40 minutes, total. After 30-40 minutes (when the dressing has had a chance to mingle/come together), add to the vegetable mixture in the large bowl. Stir gently to combine well. Continue stirring the vegetable and dressing mix at room temperature for another 30-40 minutes, every 10 minutes (you want the dressing to really soak in to the veggies). Place the salad, covered, in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours, overnight is best. Refrigerate the bacon separately in a zip-top bag or a well-sealed container if using the next day. Remove the salad about an hour before serving time, and stir a couple of times more to reincorporate all ingredients (there may be a bit of extra liquid in the salad, but it will be absorbed when you add the bacon). Combine the bacon into the salad mixture any time within the hour before serving, mixing 1-2 times again. This is a really simple recipe and totally worth your time. Hope that you enjoy!


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