Even though I fight against the stereotype of vegetarians eating salad all the time, I eat salad all the time. At almost every dinner and sometimes for lunch too. Not just because it is “healthy” – I really like salad. I forget how many vegetables the food pyramid tells us we should eat these days, but I’m sure I eat double the suggestion each day.
When I was working as a personal chef, I got very creative with salads. I am happy to eat the same one over and over at my dinner table but I assumed my clients needed a little more variety. So, I made all different kinds with all different dressings. Recently, I was reading on the Kitchn about things to throw in a salad. All were good suggestions but I stopped at broccoli. I love broccoli, why do I never put it in salad? And then, as I was looking for a side dish to serve with the brussels sprouts dish, this lovely ensemble spoke to me.
Now I have to be honest. There are days when I can sit and wait for words to come to me. Words that would potentially describe how delicious this was, how I wanted to drink the dressing, how clean (and yet satisfying!) it felt to eat this salad, but this is not one of those days. Rather than delay and stall, I figured that I would just offer the recipe up to all of you and tell you simply that if you love broccoli and if snap peas are starting to make an appearance in your markets, get right on this.
Ottolenghi calls for string beans in this salad as well, but I left them out. You can bulk this salad up by adding a couple of handfuls of spinach. I had a seed mixture called Gomasio in my spice cabinet which I used here. It is a mixture of white and black sesame seeds mixed with Japanese sea salt and it was extra delicious in this recipe. You can find it here.
1 pound broccoli, cut into small florets
½ pound snap peas, strings removed
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
3 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. nigella seeds
4 tbsp. tahini paste
¼ cup water
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp. tamari
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. hazelnut or other nut oil
Make the dressing
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. The dressing should be smooth and thick but with a pourable consistency, adjust the water as necessary. Taste and add more salt if you like. (This will most likely be more dressing than you need for the salad. Cover and refrigerate the leftovers.)
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the broccoli and snap peas and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with very cold water. Drain again and then dry with a kitchen towel.
Place the vegetables in a large bowl. Scatter the cilantro leaves and the seeds over top. Drizzle with dressing and serve.