Broccoli Salad With Cashew Dressing
Eating broccoli can get a little bland from time to time and this salad is the perfect way to pep it up and make it a little interesting. It is packed full of antioxidant power and detox enhancing nutrition that will do your body good during this winter. Dressed with a creamy and delicious cashew nut dressing, which is a new favourite of mine, and then sprinkled with a few seeds and raisins that add extra flavour and perfect sweetness. Cashews are perfect for adding creaminess without the use of dairy and up the overall protein and monounsaturated fat content as well as being high in essential minerals such as zinc, selenium, magnesium and iron.
Broccoli is a fabulous vegetable for the winter season as it is great for boosting the immune system. Just a single cup provides more than your daily need for vitamin C. And vitamin K. As well as a balanced supply of B vitamins – all of which help support healthy immune function + energy levels. Broccoli also boosts the body’s natural detoxification systems and is packed with detox enhancing compounds that fight to protect and keep our cells healthy and young looking.
Since this post is all over broccoli, I figured I’d shed some light on whether raw or cooked broccoli is more beneficial. While many may think that raw broccoli is far more nutritious than cooked, research confirm that eating it raw or lightly steamed is the most beneficial as this preserves the most nutrients, antioxidants + anti-cancer compounds and make them easier for the body to absorb. And by “lightly steaming” I’m talking no more than 3-4 minutes. This means your broccoli will still have quite a lot of crunch and look almost raw. The timing is important as over cooking broccoli (and most other vegetables for that matter) will ruin much of the nutrition and result in a significant loss of nutrients, which will leach into the water. Boiling, microwaving and over-steaming are all far less beneficial as they result in quite a significant loss of all those great nutrients you want to make sure you get. So if you don’t have a steamer or a strainer that fits into one of your pots (+ a lid that fits), I’d highly recommend getting one as it’ll make you get a much better nutritional bang for your buck when it comes to your vegetables. Bottom line… if you like raw broccoli, eat it raw. And if you prefer it cooked, lightly steam it for just a few minutes before chopping it up. Whatever makes you eat more broccoli, do that!
Keep in mind that if you save the water that the broccoli is cooked/steamed in and reuse it for another dish, you are able to hold on to those nutrients. I like to save the water in the fridge and reuse it when making baby purees for my baby girl. You can also use it for making oatmeal and other baby/toddler meals to up the nutrition value.
- 2 heads of broccoli (600 gm), finely chopped (lightly steamed before chopping)
- ¼ cup raisins (dried cranberries are a great alternative)
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- 2-3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup cashews
- ¼ cup water (omit if pre-soaking cashews)
- 2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp tamari sauce / liquid aminos
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast (OPTIONAL)
- salt + pepper to taste
- Wash and chop the broccoli into small florets (if you don't like raw broccoli, you can lightly steam it for 3-4 minutes before chopping).
- Combine broccoli, raisins + pine nuts in a large bowl and toss it together lightly.
- Place all the dressing ingredients in a high speed blender and blend on high until completely smooth. Omit water if you're pre-soaking your cashew nuts. Add salt + pepper to taste and add more water if needed for a thinner consistency.
- Pour the dressing over the broccoli salad and mix well using a spoon or cover the bowl with a lid and shake it up well.
- Top off with pumpkin seeds and a few extra pine nuts and serve.
- Lasts well in the fridge for 2-3 days.