Monika’s Molecular Meals: Low-Carb Broccoli Salad With Bacon, Hazelnuts & Golden Raisins

By Monika Knapp | 6 November 2019 289 views
low carb broccoli salad

This Delicious, Low-Carb Broccoli Salad Is Easy To Make & Is A Sure Crowd-Pleaser!

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If you’re in search of a flavorful, low-carb broccoli salad recipe, look no further.

This broccoli salad is elegant enough to bring to a party, hits every texture note you could possibly want from a salad (Crunchy! Chewy! Crispy!)… and best of all, can be made in about the same time it takes you to watch an episode of The Office.

It requires less than 10 ingredients:

Broccoli (duh)…

Bacon (for that crispy, crunchy, *low carb* goodness)…

Hazelnuts (for your health! And also because crunchy nuts make salads great)…

Scallions (Because scallions, bacon and broccoli belong together)…

Golden raisins (For sweetness, without any white table sugar)…

Feta (Because it’s delicious, low-carb, and cheese makes everything better)…

And to top it all off, a DIY herb vinaigrette that basically makes itself.

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Throw it all together in a bowl, and you’ve got a magical and more importantly, very healthy meal!

(Note: This salad also works great as a side to grilled meats and other “barbecue”-style foods. Sorry… bread and rice, who??)

Here’s how it’s done:

FTH’s Low-Carb Broccoli Salad With Bacon, Hazelnuts & Golden Raisins

Equipment Needed: Oven or toaster oven; cast iron pan or nonstick pan; small saucepan

Recipe Time: Minimum 30 minutes, up to 3 hours

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • One large or two medium heads broccoli, washed and separated into florets (Save the stems! See Recipe Notes)
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked until crispy and broken into bits
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and crushed
  • 2 whole scallions, sliced on a bias
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, quick-pickled as described in this recipe (no need to include the grapes you can also find step-by-step instructions in the Recipe Notes below)
  • 1/4 cup feta, broken up into bits (don’t buy the pre-crumbled feta, please! That stuff dries out and is almost always lower-quality than whole chunk feta.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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Directions:

1) Prepare your broccoli.

I like a fast, crispy broccoli, but my preferred method of broil-and-go may be too bitter for some.

If you do want to broil it, simply toss the broccoli with extra-virgin olive oil, throw it in your oven or toaster oven, and broil it for 5-7 minutes, flipping once about halfway through.

You can also blanch the broccoli in boiling salted water until tender-crisp, then shock it in ice water. This will tenderize it, maintain its bright green color, and also help you avoid the dreaded “soggy broccoli” problem.

Once you blanch it, you can leave it as-is or gently roast or saute it until cooked to your liking.

Otherwise, if you prefer a softer texture, you can steam the broccoli until tender enough for you. It won’t get *totally* soggy, but it won’t be as crisp as other cooking methods.

2) While your broccoli cooks, prep your other salad ingredients.

Whichever broccoli cooking method you use, while it cooks, use that time to prep the other salad ingredients.

Fry (or oven-roast!) your bacon until crispy, set aside on a paper-towel lined plate, and crumble into bits when cool. Save the fat you’ll be using it later.

Toast the hazelnuts over the stove in a cast iron pan, or oven-roast them until aromatic and just slightly darker. If they burn, you’ll have to do this again, so watch them carefully.

Slice your scallions if you want to keep them extra fresh, soak them in ice water.

Prep your golden raisins via the “quickle” method (quickle = quick pickle). Check out the Recipe Notes for a step-by-step refresher!

And lastly, crumble your feta, and feel free not to resist the urge to lick your fingers when you’re done. 🙂

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3) When ready to eat, toss all salad ingredients together and dress to your liking.

This is important if possible, try not to prepare your salad until you’re ready to eat it. It tastes best when freshly made (although it will still keep in the fridge for up to 2 days after making).

Add the broccoli florets, bacon bits, crumbled nuts (try saying that 3x and not smiling), scallions, golden raisins, and feta to a bowl. Add 2 Tbsp of bacon fat, 2 Tbsp of the “quickle” brine, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

Taste it, and adjust with bacon fat, “quickle” brine, salt, and pepper as needed. This is your salad it should taste the way you want!

Serve immediately, and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

  • Broccoli stems have a lot of flavor and are 100% edible. Add them to stocks, slice them and add to salads, pickle them and eat as a crunchy snack… you won’t be disappointed.
  • Here’s how to “quickle” golden raisins: Add the golden raisins to a small mason jar. In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup water, then turn the heat to medium and add 1 tsp coriander seeds, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1 cinnamon stick. When it starts to boil, turn the heat off and pour over the raisins (no need to strain). Let sit for at least 20 minutes.

3 More Low-Carb Broccoli Sides For Elegant & Easy Meals…

I’ve always loved broccoli, so I cook it pretty often including for my friends and family.

So here are 3 more broccoli sides that will fit the needs of even the pickiest eaters in your household or friend group:

 

1) Steamed broccoli with roasted walnuts and tahini.

 

This recipe is vegetarian-friendly and will also please the people in your life who maybe like their food a little bit softer.

Simply steam 1 cup of broccoli florets, and while it’s steaming, roast your walnuts. When the walnuts are done, crush them into small, bite-size pieces.

Toss the broccoli and walnuts together, drizzle with tahini and a little lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve. Easy and yummy!

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2) Blanched broccoli with DIY Caesar dressing.

Blanch 1 cup of broccoli florets in salted boiling water until tender-crisp. While it’s blanching, make my low-carb Caesar dressing, which you can find here.

When the broccoli is your desired texture, drain it and shock the florets in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Dry the florets, arrange them on a platter, and serve with the dressing. Some chopped parsley or dill would work great here too.

3) Crispy broiled broccoli with miso, soy, garlic & ginger.

Broil 1 cup of broccoli florets until charred on both sides. While it’s broiling, blend together a 1-inch piece of ginger with 2 large cloves of garlic, 1 Tbsp of miso paste, and 3 Tbsp of soy sauce. Taste and adjust as needed.

When the broccoli is done, toss lightly with the dressing and garnish with sliced scallions or sesame seeds.

This recipe is probably my favorite of the bunch, because even though it *is* salty, there’s actually no added salt in it.

It’s completely natural, and all of the flavor comes from the soy and the miso paste.

Now, if you’ve heard of miso paste… but aren’t exactly sure what it is… or think it’s something that only belongs in soup at a sushi restaurant… you’re not alone.

But miso paste is actually really easy to find and fun to cook with!

(Just look for it in the refrigerated section at your grocery store, or if your local store doesn’t carry it, there’s always Amazon.)

Miso paste is one of my favorite “secret weapons” to use in the kitchen (especially while I’m dieting)… because not only is it low-carb, low-calorie, and packed with decadent flavor… but it’s scientifically proven to increase weight loss!

A study published in Nutrition Research And Practice found that when a group of obese women added miso paste to their normal diets for just 12 weeks… and didn’t change anything else they ate… they experienced:

  • Decreased mean body weight…
  • Lower body fat mass…
  • And a decreased percentage of body fat.

Who knew losing weight could be so easy (and delicious)? 🙂

Most people don’t realize this (I think because diet experts and nutritionists are so hell-bent on pushing exercise as “the only way” to lose weight)…

… but there are actually a LOT more delicious foods like miso paste, that can help you lose weight fasterwithout sacrificing your favorite treats (or chaining yourself to a treadmill in the gym)…

Feel free to click here and check out 3 of my personal favorite “automatic weight loss” foods.