Broccoli Salad with Hazelnuts and Feta Cheese

I’ve gone on a salad spree suddenly. That’s the only inspiration coming to me these days, Heaven knows why. Maybe it’s the cheese, or the nuts, but I’m not going to go so deep into it. However, it’s going down a treat with all the people I’m feeding them to, so nobody’s complaining. My next post will most probably also be a salad, that’s if the avocado that’s been languishing in the fridge for I-don’t-know-how-long, hasn’t died. 

I first tried this salad in a cafe in Amsterdam, but as interesting as the ingredients sounded, the broccoli was raw, which didn’t appeal much to me, hazelnuts had to be hunted for and the dressing had no kick. However, I thought I’d try to customise it to my taste, so here it is. This has the same dressing as the Georgian salad I made a while ago minus the walnuts. The honey, lemon olive oil dressing is evergreen and can be used on practically everything as it has no exotic ingredients. 

I kept the broccoli florets small, but you can keep it larger according to your preference. Since I didn’t have cherry tomatoes, I de-seeded and diced one small tomato weighing approximately 8 grams. I used Delakis white cheese as that was what I had with me. The broccoli florets should have a bit of a crunch. Blanch them for less than a minute if you want them crunchy and a bit more than a minute if you want them less crunchy. 

The result was a really tasty zingy, nutty, salted cheesy salad which is so simple but also very healthy. You can have it as a side dish or your main meal if on a diet. You can replace hazelnuts with almonds or walnuts, but the beauty is in the hazelnuts here. 

My daughter just gobbled up the salad as she loves broccoli. It was a hit with most people I tested it on. I could keep eating the salad because other than the broccoli – which many people do not like but is a wonderful superfood – what is there not to like! 

Ingredients (serves 2)

Dressing

2  tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
⅓ tsp Himalayan pink salt (if using regular salt reduce quantity)
Pinch of black pepper 

Salad

150 gms broccoli separated into individual florets
1 small tomato de-seeded and diced small or 5 cherry tomatoes halved
¼ medium onion diced small
40 gms peeled hazelnuts dry roasted and halved or very lightly crushed
60 gms feta cheese or white cheese

Get Started 

  • Boil 500 ml of water with 1 heaped tsp of salt. When the water comes to a boil, throw the broccoli in for about 30 to 40 seconds and then remove the broccoli from the water. You can pour cold water over the broccoli to stop them from cooking further. If you want the broccoli less crunchy, keep them in the boiling water for another 30 seconds. Set aside to cool. 
  • Put all the ingredients under “Dressing” in a small glass jar and shake it till they mix to form a smooth emulsion.
  • Place the broccoli, tomatoes and onions in a bowl and pour the dressing on them. Toss the ingredients together with two spoons till the dressing has coated each floret nicely.
  • Then remove the salad ingredients to a serving dish, leaving the excess dressing liquid in the mixing bowl itself. Scatter the hazelnuts all over the salad ingredients, then crumble feta cheese, or place dollops of the white cheese over the top and serve immediately. 

Important Notes: You can prep all the ingredients before hand but DO NOT pour the dressing over the salad until you are ready to serve. The salt in the dressing will suck out all the moisture from the onions and the tomatoes and leave your salad a tasteless and soggy mess. 

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