Broccoli and Sweet Sesame Salad

March 24, 2011

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.

One Year Ago: Zucchini, Tomato, and Swiss Cheese Pie
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Broccoli and Sweet Sesame Salad
Adapted from Plenty
Serves 4

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.


  1. This looks fabulous, Dana. I’m always looking for new ideas for salads that don’t involve just greens and dressing. Also, I love gomasio and often look for excuses to sprinkle it on things. ;)

    Comment by Amy — March 24, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

  2. I love salads. And it’s always a variation of the same thing: greens and whatever vegetables with have around. The dressing is always the exact same thing I only vary the kind of vinegar.

    It shows in your blog that you love salads – 42 recipes and 20 Salad Dressings. Your dressing is very appealing. I love Tahini and wish to incorporate it into more of my cooking.

    Comment by Annika — March 24, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

  3. I’ve become a big salad eater these days as well…it makes me feel so good to know I’ve just had a big bowl of various veggies along with some chickpeas or white beans…ahh good stuff. Broccoli is actually one of my favorite mix-ins (along with roasted brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potato, roasted asparagus, roasted zucchini, and black olives :P) so I know this salad is something I would adore. I’m headed to the farmer’s market to seek out some sugar snaps! If they’re there…you know what I’ll be eating for lunch all next week!

    Comment by Joanne — March 24, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

  4. Lots of delicious, and so good for you. I could definitely enjoy some of this right now. You may have just planned supper for me.

    Comment by Sprinzette @ Ginger and Almonds — March 24, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

  5. This looks amazing. I just saw a recipe the other day for roasted broccoli for tahini sauce, but didn’t even think of making that into a salad, which is weird because one my favorite dressings is a tahini one. Can’t wait to try your version!

    Comment by Spicy Bohemian — March 24, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

  6. Dana, that dressing looks so good! I love the ingredients, and I’m a huge fan of broccoli…so many options! I need to eat more salad on a regular basis, since my husband isn’t big on it, I don’t make it enough since it’s just the two of us! He would love this one though! Thanks :)

    Comment by Eva — March 25, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

  7. I eat salad all the time also. Love to try new ones. Nice colors in this one.

    Comment by Helene — March 28, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

  8. What a pretty salad. The flavors in the dressing are right up my alley.

    Comment by Cookin' Canuck — March 28, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

  9. I must try this at some point, I confess to never adding broccoli to salads.

    the tahini dressing sounds perfect with it….

    Comment by SallyBR — March 28, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

  10. Love the sound of this salad! Broccoli and snap peas are two of my favourite vegetables.

    Comment by Ashley — April 17, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  11. […] when Dana tweeted about a recipe for a Broccoli and Sweet Sesame Salad she recently posted, I made sure my next trip to the grocery store included the snap peas and […]

    Pingback by Broccoli and Sweet Sesame Salad « eggs on sunday — May 5, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

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