Saturday, January 8, 2022

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Healthier Potluck Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad #healthy2022 #lighterclassics #smallchangesbigrewards #salad

The holidays are over...and most of us are eating healthier in the new year. But? It's nearly time the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl parties are on the horizon. That means game day food...which is traditionally heavy on fat, carbs, and calories. Today's recipe is a lightened version of a Southern potluck classic: Healthier Potluck Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad. There are many variations of this popular salad, but all feature broccoli and a tangy-sweet dressing. Most versions include bacon, onion, raisins, and sunflower seeds...and a few even include small pieces of cheddar cheese. I used favorite components to create my ultimate version of this recipe, then I lightened it up. I used broccoli and cauliflower for a color and flavor contrast. I also added dried cranberries and cashews. Because bacon, cheese, and cashews are higher in fat, I either chose healthier versions OR reduced the amount of the ingredient used in my salad. The end result has essential broccoli salad flavor...while also saving fat and calories. To further shave fat and calories, I used fat-free Greek yogurt in place of mayo in the creamy dressing...and I sweetened it with my favorite no-calorie sweetener. The end result is a delicious salad that you can feel good about enjoying!

Healthier Potluck Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad
adapted from Southern potlucks everywhere
Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
  • 2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets, blanched in boiling salted water for about 3o seconds
  • 1.5 cups bite-sized raw cauliflower florets
  • 1/4 cup finely diced purple onion OR sliced scallions
  • 3 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries [NOTE: this ingredient can be omitted if you're reducing your carb intake]
  • 1/3 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/2 cup shredded 2% Colby-Jack cheese
For the dressing:
  • 6 ounces fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 packets sugar-free sweetener [NOTE: I use Whole Earth Stevia & Monk Fruit Sweetener]
  • 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
Step 1: Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine and set aside. Add the broccoli and cauliflower to a large mixing bowl. Then, add the onion, dried cranberries (if using), and cashews. [TIP: to take the sharp "bite" from chopped onion, place in a small mesh colander; rinse with cold water for 30 seconds before adding to bowl.]
Step 2: Add the reserved dressing and use a spatula to ensure that the salad ingredients are evenly combined and completely coated with the dressing. For best flavor, refrigerate the assembled salad for at least 4 hours before serving -- I personally think that overnight is best.
Step 3: Just before serving, add the crumbled cooked bacon to the salad and give it a quick stir to combine. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and serve.
That’s it! This healthier version of a potluck classic tastes so great that nobody will ever guess it's lower in fat and calories. It has the crunchy nuts, smoky bacon, cheese, and chewy dried cranberries that make this salad so versions and proportions that are easier on your waistline. The dressing has the sweet and tangy flavor that makes this salad so popular -- with zero fat! This salad is a great side dish with grilled fish or chicken…but I’ve been known to eat just on its own for lunch. 

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