Does anyone else struggle after the holidays to start eating…you know…vegetables? I know after my third slice of pie for breakfast, it’s a super uphill battle to go back to eating anything resembling a normal diet. To cope, I give myself a little transition period where I really dress up my healthy food to trick my brain into eating it. This healthy “holiday detox” broccoli salad—for example—probably can’t magically make your skin clear or your jeans fit more loosely. It can, however, help you get back into a healthy eating groove without trying too hard after a few weeks of overindulging.
Sauteing the broccoli until it’s just finished keeps the soggy-vegetable blues away, while sprucing up the dish with a balsamic reduction and some savory toppings helps the “medicine go down” with minimal effort and willpower. Plus, the almonds add a satisfying crunch. Try it out as a small meal, side dish paired with chicken or fish, or sandwich-filler, and let me know if it helps ;)
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Healthy Broccoli Salad Recipe with Feta & Almonds
Dressing up your broccoli with a balsamic reduction and some savory toppings helps the “medicine go down.”
Makes: 1-2 servings as a light meal, 3-4 servings as a side
- 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons almonds, chopped or slivered
- 1/3 cup feta cheese
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Add the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, stir the vinegar and reduce the heat to medium so that the vinegar simmers to reduce for ten-fifteen minutes. The finished reduction will be somewhat viscous and sticky, but should still pour easily.
- While the vinegar reduces, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the broccoli, stir, and saute for two-three minutes (add two-three minutes if broccoli was frozen). The broccoli should be bright green but still slightly firm.
- Add the water to the skillet with a generous pinch of salt and stir the broccoli, cooking an additional three-five minutes or until tender. If you’d like, chop up the broccoli at this point for a more traditional “broccoli salad” texture, best for sandwiches or omelet filling.
- Place the tender broccoli in a large bowl, and top with almonds, feta, onion, pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Serve warm or cold.
Notes and Nutrition Information
If preparing the broccoli salad ahead of time, keep all of the toppings separate—you don’t want soggy almonds the next day! Cooked broccoli will keep in the refrigerator 2-3 days.
I’ll eat a plate of this for lunch, but it also pairs well with chicken, fish, or a small swirl of pasta in butter. Chopped up, it also works in a sandwich with a touch of extra oil (add it to a grilled cheese with some white cheddar; I promise it’s delicious).
One-third of the recipe as written contains approximately 231 calories, 17 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar and 279 milligrams of sodium.