About a week before Christmas, I got a phone call from my brother.

Let me recount it for you.

Daniel: So…I don’t know if you know this, but your parents are cooking ravioli for dinner on Christmas.

Me: Ummm, yes Daniel I know. Because I requested it.

Daniel: It has tomato sauce on it.

I love the kid, really, but he is not coming across as the sharpest crayon in the box right now. He’s better than this. I promise.

Me: Yup, I kind of figured as much. Since tomato sauce is the only sauce your parents know how to cook.

Personally, I would have maybe done a browned butter sauce. With some butternut squash chunks. But it’s hard enough to get them to eat green veggies, let alone orange ones.

Daniel: Well…you know that I can’t eat tomato sauce. So I was wondering what you were going to make. For me.

Me: I mean, I was going to make some kind of vegetable. What vegetable do you think you would eat?

Daniel: Potatoes.

Me: Okay Daniel, I am going to tell you something now. It might blow your mind. We are having ravioli for dinner. That is a starch. Potatoes are also starches. I am not making potatoes to go with ravioli.

Silence. Except for his breathing on the other end of the line. A good sign, in theory, except that it means that he has no other suggestions. How did I come from this family of meat and potato eaters, I can’t really say.

Me: How about broccoli? You eat broccoli. I know you do. You have it in Chinese food all the time.

Daniel: Yeah but I only like it really crunchy. Like, almost raw crunchy. And I don’t think you can handle that.

Wait a second. Was that a CHALLENGE. Did the boy who doesn’t eat anything except for Tex-Mex and Chinese food just CHALLENGE me to cook broccoli? IT’S. ON.

So the thing that I’ve learned about cooking for large groups of family members is that you can’t possibly please everyone. Really. Don’t even bother trying.

It’s something that still gets me every time, since in general I aim to please. But in the end I had to make some choices. Cut the fat somewhere. And so I decided to make this broccoli salad, all the while knowing that I would have two people who wouldn’t eat it. First up was my father who only likes his vegetables very mushy. (He would have fared much better in the early 1900’s when everyone was boiling vegetables until they were limp and listless. I prefer my vegetables to not have the living daylights beat out of them, thank you very much.) The moral being that his predilection, being in direct contrast to my brother’s, meant that he wouldn’t be happy with the dish.

I decided I could live with that.

Then there was my uncle, who has diverticulitis. This salad has almonds in it. I could have left out the almonds. But I didn’t want to.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

So what happened, in the end?

Well. My brother sat there, watching me like a hawk while I cooked the broccoli. I told him not to worry, I was only going to boil it for a minute and then blanch it. There was no way it was going to be mushy.

He insisted on whipping out a timer. And counting down the seconds, screaming at me to drain it and practically pelting me with ice cubes from the ice water after the minute was up.

Daniel, if the ice cubes are on the floor, they can’t possibly be used to stop the broccoli from cooking any more, I tried to explain. All that got me was an ice cube down my shirt.

My aunt also appeared at our house with a large aluminum foil-covered tray in hand. I peaked inside.

Just as I suspected.


Will they never learn?

But this story does have a happy ending. (As most Christmas stories do.)

Maybe it was the mayo. Maybe it was the bacon. (Yes, even I am capable of compromise. But only on Christmas.) But everyone really liked the salad. Even my father ate some (although he did say, Joanne. I think the broccoli and string beans could have been cooked a little more. I didn’t dignify that with a response.)

Like I said before, you can’t please everyone.

But you can come close.

I am submitting this to Souper Sundays!

Also, unrelated side note. I had an awesome dinner last night with Mari of Namaste and her sister! We went to Katz’s Deli for some delicious brisket and/or pastrami sandwiches on rye, and then to this cute little dessert place. Lots of good food and good conversation. It was a blast.

Broccoli Salad
Serves many, adapted from Simply Recipes

1 tsp salt
1 lb broccoli florets
1 lb string beans
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup cooked bacon, crumbled (The bacon should be really crisp. I mean REALLY CRISP.)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup light mayo (if I were making this for myself, I would use Greek yogurt. Just saying.)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, adding the tsp salt to the water before doing so. Add the broccoli and string beans. Cook for one minute. Then drain and blanch by pouring ice water over them. Put in the fridge immediately.

2. Combine broccoli/string beans, almonds, bacon, and onion in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, and honey. Add to the salad and toss. Chill before serving.

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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40 Responses to Souper Sundays – Broccoli Salad

  1. Chef Chuck says:

    I love the family involvement, sounds very familiar!
    You have a great display, these photos can make you hungry!

  2. Lea Ann says:

    Love the story and love the sounds of this recipe. Can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks for sharing.

  3. That broccoli looks amazing. I am glad it was a success.

    I am so jealous you got to meet Mari! I need to get to NYC soon 🙂

  4. Oh Joanne,ur little stories that lead up to a yummy crunchy delite,get cuter by the min…
    And Daniel is as cute as u and am sure the sharpest crayon around too!!!
    My bro would love this …so would mom…and so would me!!!!
    That calamari recipe was so dang easy to put by that i myself couldn belive the lovely crispiness and flav and i shallow fried it with not too muc olive oil…
    Thanx a ton for that pat …
    And i was gng to be d 1st to leave ya a hi here today(whew at last)if not for my laptop hangn on me again…

  5. Laughing my head off……Great looking broccies

  6. Your family stories are a hoot…

    and I bet Daniel didn’t even say thanks for all your effort

    over cooked mushy veggies are a person bugaboo of mine. Glad they at least tried em. But if they like em mushy, they would have to make the themselves at my house

    Great post

  7. girlichef says:

    Ha! Love the banter…reminds me of my fam 🙂 This is a delicious sounding broccoli salad…and very pretty, too!

  8. You have won already. Great salad. Yes, crunchy.

  9. great story i bet its so much fun hanging out at your place!

  10. yum looks really healthy! I like your site a lot!

  11. Mari says:

    OMG your brother sounds like me! Broccoli in Chinese food is the best! lol

    I am sure your dish tasted amazing! I might have to try it out some time (((hint hint)))

    Woman you have to make it on one of those days for the meetup! you’re killing me lol

    I had such a great time last night…I love that we have so much in common (ex. idiot guys) ha

  12. Hilarious! 🙂 Your Dad sounds exactly like mine 🙂 And the broccoli salad looks amazing! 🙂 So glad you had fun with your friends.

  13. Toni says:

    Your family stories make me laugh. I love it. My dad wouldn’t touch broccoli if it was holding the fountain of youth.

    You used the phrase “cut the fat” which means I must tell you a story. When a good friend of mine was in high school, he broke up with a girl by using the line, “I just need to cut some of the fat out of my life.” Oh dear. I still get on his case about that one.

    Have a very happy new year!

  14. Bob says:

    Heh, I’m fortunate that my family is pretty easy to please, foodwise. In fact, I’m probably the pickiest one outside of my vegetarian sister!

    I also love broccoli salad, I’ve never had one with greenbeans before, I want to try that.

  15. hahha this story was hilarious! i’m actually the picky eater in the family (except when it comes to naners. =D)

    i like my brocolli mushy. sorry =D

  16. Faith says:

    Oh my gosh, that’s too funny! My hubby is such a picky eater too! For a while he actually swore off all veggies except lettuce and tomato. Luckily he’s recently started to branch out.

    I’ve always got broccoli around and I love trying new recipes…your salad sounds delish!

  17. Amy says:

    My Dad is a really picky eater (he blames it on his mother for being a rotten cook, but I think that’s such a lame excuse), avoiding most vegetables, won’t touch fish, beans, lettuce, etc. He will however, eat anything that has chocolate in it.

    Whenever he and my mom visit, I spend weeks ahead of time trying to figure out something that all of us will like. The sad part is my mom is a wonderful eater, but doesn’t get to enjoy most foods because who wants to make two separate meals every night. If Paul was like this, I would divorce him…

  18. Pam says:

    Luckily everyone in my family pretty much eats anything I put in front of them.

  19. Katy ~ says:

    Gads! Men! And LOL about the potatoes. It all sounds like my family.

    Yumm…broccoli salad sounds really really good!

  20. Karen says:

    Potatoes and ravioli. Sounds okay to me! 🙂 I love the green beans in the brocc salad… crunchy, that’s the way I like them, too.

  21. sophia says:

    I hate mushy broccoli, too. I had no idea potatoes is a veggie. Lol.
    But hey, bacon makes anything better! Your bro will wolf this down!

  22. that conversation is too funny! I don’t understand why so many people think of potatoes as a vegetable. My husband does too. It’s not a veggie!!!

    This looks pretty good, but I hate mayo so I’d go with your greek yogurt suggestion too 🙂

  23. doggybloggy says:

    I think you are pretty cool! sorry thats all I’ve got today but I mean it!

  24. Kim says:

    I love your family stories too! They remind me of my own family. I have been eyeballing a similar recipe in Ellie Krieger’s book which does use the greek yogurt. Something about this salad seems so satisfying. It must be the crunchiness of it?? It looks really appealing to me 😀

  25. Donna-FFW says:

    I love this post.. its so fun! You are such a sweet sister, and your sense of humor is beyond charming!

    Broccoli salad looks great.

  26. Yep, sounds like a family! I absolutely love your stories, and of course the recipe looks scrumptious!

  27. abigail says:

    Looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it out.

  28. Karine says:

    Ha ah these potatoes! If we could hide them :).
    But that is indeed a cute family story. And you have a great salad here too.

    Happy New Year! 🙂

  29. This look like a fab broccoli salad. You have such fun interactions with your family.

  30. Debinhawaii says:

    Funny story! It looks like a wonderful salad–thanks for sending it along to Souper Sundays.

  31. So funny!
    At the Christmas table my sons want only dark turkey meat, a leg preferabley, and a pile of mashies to rival Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Nothing else.
    My daughter wants a little tiny bit of white breast meat with no reminders that it came from a living thing. She can’t see bones or carcass or anything all day long. No mashies either but lots of veggies and cranberry sauce.
    Hubs has to watch sugar and carbs and I try to cook the meal so everyone has what they like! Plus we had a foreign exchange student for dinner who, thankfully, ate everything. Whew!
    (Which is to say that she was a guest and not a dish 😉
    Families are funny that way…
    I love your story and your veggies!

  32. i am the same way – I hate it when veggies are mushy and have no crunch/bite to them!!

    oh man, I just love broccoli so this salad sure does sound like a winner!

  33. s says:

    Ah..what a fun read…and the salad looks out-of-the-world GOOD!!

  34. Michelle says:

    OH such a pretty Salad and I have the green beans in it!

    Sounds like you were talking to my brother instead of your own. Men…I swear they are all the same!

  35. What a delicious and unique salad. My Dad would say the same thing – he hates crispy veggies – it’s mushy all the way for him. Happy New Year!

  36. comfycook says:

    I just made a broccoli salad, as different as night and day, from yours. Now, I want yours.

    I will try to blog mine by Sunday. See if I can take elements of yours and add it to mine.

    They both have broccoli.

  37. Erica says:

    I love your writing style! Happy new year.

  38. Kerstin says:

    LOL, I can’t believe he whipped out a timer! It is hard cooking for large groups, but your broccoli salad looks like a big crowd pleaser!

  39. Chef Chuck says:

    Healthy Broccoli! The blend is so inviting!

  40. Marisa says:

    Yum yum! Loving the addition of bacon here. Can see myself eating this and only this for a light lunch.

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