How To Shred Broccoli So That It Stands Up To Thick Dressings

Most of us enjoy broccoli for its fluffy and fibrous florets, often discarding the harder stalks. However, broccoli stalks have as much potential as florets to be tasty additions to raw salads. The trick is in the preparation.

Florets are easy enough to shred, but the stalks require a little more effort. First, separate the floret crowns from the stalks. You can reserve the tops to steam, roast, or sauté in a different dish or shred them with a rough chop or grater for the salad. After you've isolated the stalks, trim the hard, darker green, woody exterior until you're left with only the light green or white stems. You can use a julienne peeler to create matchsticks out of the stalks. If you don't own a peeler, you can cut the stalks lengthwise into thin, flat slabs and then slice the slabs horizontally into matchsticks.

Julienned or cut thinly into matchsticks, broccoli stalks are substantial enough to stand up to thick, creamy salad dressings. They'll retain their crunch while the florets macerate, providing a wonderful depth of texture.

Creamy broccoli salad ideas

While soft lettuce will become mushy and soggy under the weight of thick dressings, broccoli serves as a tasty and sturdy foundation. Raw broccoli has a noticeably sharper, more bitter flavor than steamed or sautéed broccoli, which is all the more reason to slather on thick, creamy, complex dressings.

A sweet, tangy coleslaw dressing with mayonnaise, sugar, mustard, and seasonings would coat the broccoli and temper its flavor. You could throw it in with a package of coleslaw mix for easy assembly. Tahini sauce is another thick dressing that would taste delicious over a Mediterranean-style broccoli salad with shredded kale, red onion, pine nuts, and cherry tomatoes, topped with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.

For an Asian twist, you could combine the sliced stalks of broccoli with julienned carrots, jicama, bean sprouts, green onions, and red bell peppers before you smother it with a rich, creamy peanut sauce. Cubes of tofu or edamame beans would add a chewy texture to punctuate all the crunchiness. You could even use broccoli florets and stalks with crunchy croutons and roasted chickpeas instead of kale for a winterized Caesar salad.