Broccoli Salad with Bacon

 

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This is by far one of my favourite salads.  I could literally eat a bowl of this and not feel a pang of guilt.  Oh, and by the way, this salad is equally as nice without the bacon, so it can be vegetarian friendly too…just saying 🙂 .

Raw broccoli never excited me up until these last few years.  It was this very recipe that changed my perception of raw broccoli.

We were at a braai (barbecue) and a friend of a friend had made a Brocolli Salad. I think I fell in love that night with the salad …quite sad hey, but it happens. I got the basic recipe from her and have slightly adapted it with regards to ingredients and quantities. This recipe has become a family favourite.  It is just one of those salads that I could never tire from. It is just perfect on its own with nothing else.  It is THAT good !!! It is totally adaptable as well and can easily be increased for a bigger crowd, also if you want more crunch, you can add more toasted sunflower seeds, and basically just play with the flavours and quantities.

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I make this salad with my Homemade Mayonnaise but using a store-bought mayo is equally as good and tasty.  Although this is not a time-consuming salad, time can be cut down even further by toasting the sunflower seeds, prior to doing the salad and by storing them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. I am a sunflower seed freak and love them on my salads, or for a snack attack, so I permanently have a container of toasted sunflower seeds sitting in my refrigerator.  Also, the bacon can be cooked until crispy and kept in the refrigerator until needed. If the seeds and bacon are cooked and stored before-hand, this salad can be made in the blink of an eyelid.

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Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Refrigeration time:  2 hours

Total time:  2 hours 20 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients:

250 grams chopped bacon bits

150 grams sunflower seeds

1 head of fresh broccoli

1/4 cup chopped white onion

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1- 2 tablespoons white vinegar (or white wine vinegar)*

1 tablespoon sugar (I used brown sugar)

Instructions:

Cook bacon bits until crisp and set aside.

Toast sunflower seeds, by using a small pan on top of the stove on medium heat. Do not use any oil as the seeds have their own.  Constantly keep turning and moving the seeds around in the pan, to prevent burning.  Once done, set aside to cool.

Cut the broccoli florets into bite size pieces.

Chop and dice the onion into small pieces.

Combine the broccoli florets and the onion in a medium-sized bowl.

Then, in a separate small bowl, add the mayonnaise, vinegar and the sugar (this is where I use only half of the vinegar and half of the sugar, then I taste) and mix together with a tablespoon until it is of a smooth consistency and evenly combined. Taste again at this point, and if you feel you need a bit more vinegar or sugar, add a little extra).

Gradually and cautiously mix the mayonnaise mixture in with the broccoli and onion. The mixture must not be a mayonnaise, creamy, watery mess. It must rather be on the dry side, to play it safe, as remember, as this salad sits, natural juices will form. You may find you have too much mayonnaise for the broccoli (I usually always do), if so, don’t use the balance, rather set it aside and place it back in the fridge.  Once you have the consistency correct, and you are happy, toss the mixture together thoroughly.

If possible at this point, place the salad in the refrigerator for at least two hours.  This helps combine all the flavours together.

After two hours, or best just before serving, add the crisp bacon bits and the toasted sunflower seeds, just for some added crunch.

This salad is divine even a couple of days afterwards, so it is nice to know that this salad can be made in advance if necessary.

Enjoy 🙂

*  Decrease the white vinegar to 1 tablespoon if the mayonnaise you use has vinegar in it.  (I use my Homemade Mayo, where there is no vinegar, so feel it needs that extra)

 

 

 

 

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Baby Marrow (Zucchini/Courgette) Noodles with Toasted Sunflower Seeds and Almonds

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Whoever invented the Spiralizer, is a genius !!!  I had been wanting one for months, and finally just took the plunge and bought one…awesome 🙂.  I have had my new toy now for about three weeks, and I love it.  I am still in the throws of experimenting with it and doing meals, so yes, my inventions will be popping up every now and then, if they are blog-worthy :-).

Zoodles! what a cool word…but we call zucchini’s, baby marrows here in good old South Africa, so now what???  Do we have to use a different word???Hmmmmm ??? Well, for now, I will stick with Baby Marrow Noodles, hope that’s okay.

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I am definitely on the vegetarian bandwagon these days, for various reasons. This meal which I concocted is very versatile for sure.  I started off with the vegetarian version which I love.  It is loaded with all the added crunch I enjoy with toasted sunflower seeds and almonds with a dash of heat in the form of a little chilli or two.

I made it to test out, and my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed it for lunch ……and dinner.  For us, it was a winner!

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Ha ha…. I just envisioned puppy dog eyes at the table when yet another vegetarian meal is served…

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So….for the meat eaters, I really can’t have you guys missing out on this healthy meal, so…. I have included an option 1, 2 or 3  (I am so kind). It’s unbelievably easy, it is just a matter of adding the cooked meat to the dish, and that way the meat eaters will be happy.

And…this way, everyone will be chuffed :-).

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Baby Marrow (Zucchini) Noodles with Toasted Sunflower Seeds

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

600 grams spiralized baby marrow noodles

100 grams sunflower seeds

100 grams raw almonds

a dash of oil (coconut oil, olive oil or vegetable oil)

2 medium-sized fresh red chillies (Not Devil Chillies, these are incredibly hot and will overpower the meal completely)

2 large fresh garlic cloves

freshly grounded salt and pepper, to taste

Then for the meat eaters:

Option 1.  100 grams chopped cooked, left over chicken

Option 2.  100 grams chopped cooked, left over bacon

Option 3.  100 grams chopped cooked, left over chicken and bacon (50 grams each)

and for all 1,2 and 3 options, an extra 100 grams of sunflower seeds to be added when serving.

Instructions:

Dry toast the sunflower seeds by putting them in a small pan on top of the stove.  Do not add any oil as seeds contain their own oils.  Turn on the oven plate to medium.  Turn and toss the seeds around with a wooden spatula. They burn quite easily, so be careful, as burnt offerings with this dish wouldn’t be too cool.  They could even start popping, just warning you… So there could be a scattering of seeds around your stove (just eat them, I do…the perfect snack attack whilst cooking :-)).  Wait until they become a nice golden brown before removing the pan from the oven plate.  Place in a bowl and set aside.

Dry roast the whole almonds the same way as the sunflower seeds were done. Once toasted, chop, place in a bowl and set aside. (I quite like keeping some almonds whole as well, but that is purely optional)

Then once that is done, its chilli time….cut the top of the chillies off, and then with the chilli between your hands, roll the chilli, that will help remove the pips.  If the pips are being stubborn, just slice the chilli up the side and remove the pips with the knife.  Toss the pips aside and wash your hands :-). (probably not a good idea to touch your eyes…..) Then with either a very sharp knife or a pair of scissors, chop or cut the chillies up finely.

Finely chop up the garlic cloves.  I usually get the back-end of the knife and press down on the garlic clove with a little force till it squashes and flattens a bit and then I chop…just so much easier

In a large frying pan, add a little oil, just enough to lightly saute’ the garlic and chilli.  This will only take a minute before the aromas start filtering the kitchen. Add the spiralized noodles and toss very gently to avoid breaking the noodles.

Add the toasted sunflower seeds and toasted almonds.

Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly.

Enjoy 🙂

For the meat eaters…

Follow the above instructions; just after the nuts and seeds have been added, add either the chicken, bacon or both and then taste before seasoning. Bacon is generally quite salty, so if having the bacon option, season after the bacon has been added.

For the added crunch with this meaty dish, add the extra 100 grams of toasted sunflower seeds on serving.

Enjoy 🙂

 

Rustic Semi Healthy Pizza

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This is so super easy, it is ridiculous !  I had 5 or 6 phyllo pastry sheets left over in the refrigerator.  When I unravelled them, I noticed they were torn, and broken, far from repair.  I contemplated tossing them out, but that is far from what I really wanted.  I wanted to do something with them.  Tossing them out would just be pure waste…..So I decided I would just do my best, unravel what I could , put all the pieces together and of course use melted butter over each layer of pastry, and go from there.  I really had no idea what I was going to concoct. Firstly I took out my baking tray, sprayed it with spray ‘n cook and prepared the phyllo pastry.  The bigger pieces I placed at the bottom and basically just layered the bits on top of that.  I folded the corners and edges in, to give it a bit of a rustic looking finish.  The plan was that, that would act as a lip so to speak, to my filling so that my filling would not fall out.

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At that point I had no idea what filling I was going to use.  I had no idea whether this rustic pizza would be going back into the oven, it was a matter of…well….whatever happens, happens. ( I had not even taken photo’s at this point…I did not even know if it was worthy of being photographed!) Anyway, so the rustic base was done, and I decided to put it in the oven to bake until golden brown, with a couple holes made with a sharp knife in the base of the pastry (this just helps release some steam and will prevent the phyllo pastry from puffing up). Whilst that was cooking I had to think of a filling and to be honest, I had not decided until this rustic pizza was out of the oven, so it was a matter of grab, chop and disperse.  Feta, cherry tomatoes, rocket, spring onions and toasted sunflower seeds ended up being the topping and so the Semi Healthy Rustic Pizza was born…AWESOME !!!

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Rustic Semi Healthy Pizza

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  10 minutes

Total time 25 minutes

Serves 1 or 2

Ingredients

5-6 sheets phyllo pastry

about 3-4 tablespoons of butter melted

Topping:

1/2 disc of plain Clover Feta Cheese

8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 spring onion, sliced thinly

8-10 fresh rocket leaves

a sprinkling of toasted sunflower seeds

Instructions

Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees C.

Grease a medium sized baking tray.

Separate as best you can the phyllo pasty.  Put a damp cloth on the remaining pastry so it does not dry out.

Place a layer of phyllo pastry on the baking sheet, and moisten liberally with melted butter.  Continue this until all 5/6 sheets are done.

Then fold in the corners and the sides of the pastry, again moisten with melted butter.

Using a sharp knife, pierce the bottom of the phyllo pastry base a few times.

Place in pre-heated oven, until golden brown. (Check after ten minutes.)

Once the pastry is a nice golden brown colour, remove from the oven and continue to fill the pizza base with the crumbled feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, rocket leaves and toasted sunflower seeds.

(Alternatively you can use any topping you prefer)

Enjoy 🙂