Festive Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
Food is so much more than food. It’s often times deeply entrenched in memories with family or friends around a table.
Food memories are not solely based on the food and the nutrients a certain dish provides for us but the setting in which we eat that food – the company, situation, and emotions involved.
Do you remember the first meal that you ate with your future in-laws?
I can remember that meal like it was yesterday! My husband was my first and only boyfriend. I had no idea we were going to get married back in grade 12. I just wanted to make a good first impression.
His mom made dinner and I cannot remember what was on the table that night, other than my least favourite food in the entire world – mashed potatoes. Ugh. Ever since childhood I had hated them with a passion. I’m not sure if it was the texture or the way my mom made them but I refused to go near them. In this particular situation, I didn’t want his family to think that I was a picky eater so I took a scoop and scarfed those suckers down. I’ve matured since then and over the years have learned to like them decently, as long as they’re made with copious amounts of butter, salt, pepper and garlic!
Fortunately, this not-so-pleasant food memory can be contrasted with some pretty amazing food memories of holiday meals eaten at my in-laws.
Throughout the 6 years I dated my husband and now 12 years of marriage, at least once a year at Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter dinner a beautiful broccoli and cauliflower salad has had a place of honour at the table. Typically my sister-in-law made it because she has this uncanny super power of breaking up the broccoli and cauliflower into the smallest, daintiest pieces that makes the salad look superb and makes eating it very easy.
So, in memory of my mother-in-law at Christmas this year, I wanted to share this family favourite recipe with you – the Robinson Family Festive Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad, complete with a delicious white wine vinaigrette dressing.
Here are the two things that I love the most about this salad:
First, look at those colours! Deep green, red and white. It’s absolutely perfect for your Christmas table, but can certainly be made any other time of the year. Especially if you are serving turkey, potatoes, buns or anything else pretty bland in colour, this salad contributes a splash of colour and contrast to the mix.
Second, the vinaigrette dressing is a refreshing change to the typical mayonnaise-based broccoli cauliflower salad, which also commonly has bacon and cheese as other ingredients. Although there is nothing wrong with bacon, mayo or cheese, (I do enjoy all 3 of those!) it can be a bit heavy and doesn’t lend itself to keeping well in the fridge if there are leftovers.
I should also add that this salad can be made the day prior to serving – dressing on and everything, which helps to simplify your last minute holiday table food preparations.
Colour, taste and deeply rooted food memories … this salad has it all for me, and I hope it will bring joy to your table this holiday season too.
The Robinson Family Festive Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad, complete with a delicious white wine vinaigrette dressing.
1 cauliflower head
1 broccoli head
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, mined
2 Tbsp white or cane sugar
1 Tbsp fresh ginger root, minced
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
Wash and trim broccoli and cauliflower. Cut each into small bite-sized pieces and place into a large heat-proof bowl.
Wash and cut the red and green pepper into small pieces, almost mincing. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, stir together all of the dressing ingredients (white wine, white wine vinegar, water, olive oil, garlic, sugar, ginger root, salt and pepper). Bring to a boil, stirring, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over the cauliflower and broccoli; toss to coat well. Stir often until cooled to room temperature. Then add in the peppers and parsley.
Cover and refrigerate at least for a few hours or overnight, tossing often.
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with a slotted spoon.
This salad can be made the day prior to serving – dressing on and everything, which helps to simplify your last minute holiday table food preparations.
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