We’ve been on vacation, then I was playing catch up at work so my post is overdue. Broccoli is a staple in our house and Omar can eat amazing amounts of it. A 3 pound bag of broccoli florets from Costco lasts about a week in our house. My dear husbanders is perfectly content eating steamed broccoli every day, but steamed broccoli doesn’t make for very exciting blog posts.
I recently made a simple broccoli pasta salad for lunch. This was nice and light and the leftovers made for great weekday lunches. I went heavy on the broccoli so this is more of a broccoli salad than a pasta salad. The key to a good broccoli salad is blanching the broccoli, it gives that great bright green flavor and mellows the broccoli so it isn’t bitter. If you are making this for a general crowd, you probably want to decrease the broccoli so the broccoli to pasta ratio is not as heavy on the broccoli. Also, we like our salads very lightly dressed, so I don’t use all of the dressing. I recommend starting the salad with a little over half of the dressing and adding additional dressing to taste.
BROCCOLI PASTA SALAD
For the broccoli-pasta
Approx. 4 cups broccoli florets (as few as 2 cups will work for non-broccoli lovers)
1 13.25 oz. (13.5g) box of rotini or penne (I used whole wheat rotini)
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
½ small red onion, roughly chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
½ cup finely grated parmesan
For the dressing:
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup good olive oil
Blanch the broccoli. To do this, fill a large pot with enough water to almost cover the broccoli. Bring the water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. When the water is boiling, place the broccoli florets in the water and cook for 1-2 minutes. TIP: 1 minute will yield crunchier broccoli, 2 minutes gives you bright, green, and firm broccoli. DON’T COOK FOR MORE THAN 2 MINUTES! It is tempting because the broccoli will be green and beautiful, but any more than 2 minutes will give you mushy broccoli, and no one wants that!
While you are waiting for broccoli, fill a large bowl with ice water. As soon your one 1-2 minutes are up, scoop the broccoli out of the boiling water and dunk it immediately into the ice bath. This stops the cooking and keeps that gorgeous green color. Leave the broccoli in the ice bath for a few minutes to cool, the drain the broccoli and set aside.
Make the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain the pasta and set aside. To make the dressing, whisk the lemon juice, vinegar, honey and oil together.
Combine the cooled and drained pasta and broccoli with the red pepper, red onion, and tomatoes.
Toss with dressing (I use just over half of the dressing to start) and parmesan. Add additional dressing, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.