Coming up on 6 years of sugar-free, whole foods centered eating, I find myself making fewer elaborate treats and more simple dishes. If you’ve ever been to any church potlucks, you’re probably familiar with Broccoli Salad. This seemingly humble cold salad–chock full of crunchy broccoli florets, smoky crumbled bacon, sweet cherry tomatoes, and sharp cheddar coated in a tangy dressing–has moved into the starring role of my lunch rotation. What is so appealing about this nutrient-packed side dish, in addition to the contrasting flavors (sweet n’ salty, tangy n’ creamy), is the ease of preparation. The biggest hurdle I face when it comes to eating veggies is the demanding prep work. This no-cook salad quashes that excuse. If you have a knife, a bowl, and a few spare minutes, you can make this dish!
Speaking of knives, this Zwilling J.A. Henckels knife has valiantly weathered many a recipe testing session these past few years (see it in action here) including this one, chopping relentlessly through veggies, chocolate, and occasionally my index finger. It’s a workhouse of a knife, and I’m hoping to acquire the smaller model before moving out in a few months to attend medical school. It will be sad to part with my favorite kitchen tools (and best ever taste testers – thanks, Mom and Dad!), but exciting to move on to the next chapter.
With med school on the horizon, I’ve put together a couple of projects to leave you with a few more healthy indulgences before I hit the books. They’re printable pamphlets with 10 recipes and color photos for each, and they’ll be coming your way before the end of May. The savory book features my favorite pizza crust, a new bread recipe, chicken tenders, keto-friendly cornbread, and a couple of simple, beautiful dishes that can be taken from your lunch box to a dinner party. After many cups of coffee and late nights spent perusing Southern Living for inspiration, I’ve assembled a recipe collection that will hopefully inspire you with its photography to add some new dishes to your sugar-free, low carb repertoire. My mother graciously donated her antique kitchenwares to support the cause, so keep your eyes peeled for some vintage treasures you might recognize!
A sneak peek of my Cauliflower Souffle
The recipe in this post, a teaser from the savory book, is adapted from Paula Deen’s Broccoli salad. My lightened up Sugar-Free Broccoli Bacon Salad slashes the calories without sacrificing flavor. To make this dish low carb and diabetic-friendly, I eliminated the sugar, reduced the amount of cheese, upped the tomatoes, and swapped out the raisins for crunchy, toasted sunflower seeds. Rest assured that even with the modifications, it’s still a potluck-friendly crowd pleaser.
-I recommend shredding the cheddar to ensure that every forkful of salad is sufficiently cheesy!
-Dicing up the red onion very finely is also advisable. Larger chunks can have too much of a “bite”!
-Feel free to play around with the ratios and ingredients. You can substitute sliced, toasted almonds for the sunflower seeds. I used sunflower seeds to keep the dish nut-free, but add the ingredients that suit your dietary needs.
-To avoid the unhealthy omega-6 heavy soybean oil found in commercial mayonnaise, I whipped up a thick, silky homemade mayo using Extra Light Olive Oil.
If you’ve never made homemade mayo, get yourself a stick blender (aka an immersion blender) and 2 cup glass measuring cup, stat! Using this handy little set up, there’s no whisk, no drizzling, and mercifully, no danger of the mayo breaking. Compared to the other methods of making mayo, it’s a cinch. The recipe for the mayo is coming soon, so be sure to check your emails for the post notification!
- 1 head (368g, 13 oz) broccoli
- 8 slices (40g, 1.4 oz) crisp cooked bacon, drained and crumbled
- 1/2 cup (75g, 2.6 oz) finely diced red onion
- 4 ounces (113g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated or cut into small (1/2″) cubes
- 1/4 cup (35g, 1.2 oz) sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
- 1 cup (236mL) mayo
- 2 Tablespoons (15mL) apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup (50g, 1.7 oz) stevia blend*, Truvia, OR white sugar
- 1 cup (2.6 oz, 75g) cherry tomatoes, halved
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse off tomatoes and broccoli thoroughly and pat dry. Trim leaves from broccoli stalk and cut off the tough end. Chop the stalk into 1 inch slivers and cut the head into very small florets. Place broccoli pieces into a large mixing bowl. Add in the bacon bits, onion pieces, cheese, tomato halves, and sunflower seeds. In small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together mayo, sweetener, and vinegar. Grate in black pepper and add a pinch of salt. Pour dressing into veggie mix and toss gently to coat. Keeps for one week in the fridge.
- *If you want to make your own stevia blend for this recipe, use 1/4 cup erythritol + 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract. In this recipe, I used Trader Joe’s. It is one of the few non-bitter stevia brands on the market.
- Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 252 Calories; 25g Fat; 6g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 20mg Cholesterol; 326mg Sodium.