Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Broccoli Grape Salad -- A New Waldorf

Broccoli has to be the chameleon of vegetables. It can change as much as Anne Hathaway’s dresses did at the Oscars this week! It can be raw or cooked, chopped or whole, sweet or spicy, in everything from soups to salads to casseroles and main dishes. I really can’t think of a bona fide dessert with broccoli in it, but this sweet Broccoli Grape salad, a riff on the traditional Waldorf Salad, just might make the cut.

It’s a lighter version of the classic Waldorf Salad, the traditional mix of apples, celery and walnuts in a mayonnaise dressing, with broccoli standing in for the apple. Waldorf Salad was mandatory on my mother’s Thanksgiving Day menu. My job was to make the salad dressing. No mixer, no food processor, not even a whisk. Just me stirring and stirring and stirring with a fork, getting the sugar well blended into the mayonnaise.

“Is this good, Mom?” I’d ask.

“Stir a little longer, honey.”

And after a little while, I’d ask again, and she might send me back sighing to my task again. But sooner or later I got it. And I got how much lemon juice to add. If it was too soupy, I’d have to add more mayo. It was a cooking lesson I really didn’t want just then; I wanted to eat the hors d’oeuvres in the living room with the grown-ups and slurp on my Shirley Temple!

Maybe that memory is why I decided to use honey in this dressing instead of the sugar it called for. The original recipe also added sunflower seeds for crunch. But I used dry roasted peanuts instead. I also cooked the broccoli just a little to take some of the raw crispness out of them. Just the right crispness. A nice twist on the Waldorf. I think Mom would approve.

Broccoli Grape Salad
Slightly adapted from Light & Tasty, September 2006

4 cups fresh broccoli florets, cut in small pieces
1-1/2 cups seedless red or green grapes, sliced
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
¼ cup fat-free plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts

Cook the cut up broccoli in a covered dish with ¼ cup water for 3 minutes on high in the microwave. Drain in a colander and run cold water over the broccoli.  Toss the broccoil with the grapes and raisins.  Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt and honey for the dressing.  Pour over the broccoli mixture and toss till everything is evenly covered.   Add the peanuts just before serving.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Makes about 8 3/4 cup servings, about 150 calories each.


  1. Oooh - I like the switch to honey. It's probably sad but I've only recently begun to appreciate broccoli - probably in the last couple of years. Now I love it! And this salad sounds perfect for my tastes!

  2. I love broccoli, and salad as well! This one is exactly what I would love for the lunch with some homemade bread.

  3. This would be just perfect to take to work as a light and healthy lunch! Looks delicious!

  4. This will get made. Love it lightened and broccoli is a hit in our house - it is incredibly versatile!

  5. What would the caloric value be if you didn't use yogart?

  6. What a refreshing salad. I agree, broccoli is a great veggie to add to anything (or to add anything to). I love the sweet, salty, savory combinations like this dish.

  7. I love the story that you shared with us...I have such fondness for recipes that have ties to childhood and days of the past. Thank you so much for sharing such a fun salad with me tonight. I hope you have a weekend full of love, laughter and great food!

  8. This looks and sounds absolutely delicious!

  9. Wow, that looks and sound delicious! Yum!

  10. Rosemary-Loved reading your post, and would like to have this delightful and tasty salad for lunch today. I really need to make more salads, and this one is so refreshing, and unusual!

  11. Such a nice story. I love making food that reminds me of my past. And this is my kind of salad. We usually have these ingredients around, so it's something I must make! Honey is my favorite sweetener - my friend is a beekeeper and we always have her honey on hand.


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