Yesterday I spent the better part of my day at the laundromat.  That is not to say I hated it, I kind of like going to the laundromat; I like the efficiency of being able to finish 6 (yes, 6) loads of laundry in 2 hours.  I like the low rumble of the machines.  And I like being able to sit and read a good book while I’m being “productive.”
See, doing laundry isn’t that bad.  It’s the after-laundry that I’m not a fan of.  I hate, hate, hate, putting clothes away.  I always have, I always will, which is why I usually live out of my laundry bag for a couple of days before I actually, grudgingly, get around to doing that dreaded chore.  Sorry, but that’s real life.

So yesterday, when I got home with my two giant, full laundry bags of clean, sorted, folded clothes, I surprised myself.  I immediately, without even thinking about sitting down, took out said clean clothes and put them away.  All of them.  Even the hanging ones.

Mom, are you reading this?  Is this what you’ve always talked about when you say “you should keep your clothes nice?”  I get it now!

This salad is kind of like me putting my clothes away–it takes just a little bit of work, but not more than 30 minutes, and the pay off is a well balanced, delicious dish, or in the other case, a clean apartment and unwrinkled clothes.  This metaphor is starting to break down.

My point is, make this slaw and you’re mother will be proud.  Let’s go with that.

This slaw is a little bit of chopping, a little bit of mixing, and a whole lot of crunch.  Start with two heads of broccoli.
Cut those into small florets, discarding the stems or saving them for a broccoli soup or vegetable broth.  Then, cut the florets into slices, which seems tedious and may take a while, but is crucial to the overall texture of the slaw.  We’re looking for uniform crunch.  Add your sliced broccoli to a large bowl, then add about a cup of shredded carrots.
I got those at Trader Joe’s and they were long and a little thick and very, very crunchy.  I loved them, but any shredded carrots will do.

Meanwhile, in a dry skillet over medium heat, toast some slivered almonds until they smell toasty and are a light golden brown.  Careful now, they’ll burn!
Throw the toasted almonds into the broccoli and carrots, then add some dried cranberries.  Chop up about 1/4 cup of fresh basil and add that too.
That’s your salad, now you need dressing.  In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup light mayonnaise with 1/4 cup fat free sour cream.
To that, add the zest and juice of one lemon, 1/2 a small shallot, minced very fine, and salt and pepper.  Stir well, then pour it over the slaw mixture.
Toss it all together until it is well combined and the dressing is well distributed.
Serve this as a side dish to take to a picnic, a potluck, or eat it alongside some broiled fish, as I did.  It’s the perfect alternative to your everyday cole slaw, and with all that raw broccoli, it’s packed full of nutrition.
This is crunchy, crunchy, crunchy.  From the broccoli to the carrots to the almonds–if you’re craving a crunch, this is it.  The dressing gives it a smooth creaminess and a nice bite with the lemon and shallot without being completely overwhelming.  All that crunch and tartness is mellowed by the unexpected burst of sweetness from the dried cranberries.  It’s a symphony of balance, and makes me long for summer.
This broccoli slaw is the kind of side dish that makes you feel a little better about your Oscar-night pizza binge.  It feels responsible, like putting away your clothes when they ought to be put away.  Or drinking more water than caffeine in the course of your day.  You probably don’t need that in a salad, because you’ve probably been putting your clothes away since you were 6.  But if you do, this is that kind of salad.
Here’s the recipe!

Creamy Crunchy Broccoli Slaw (inspired by the Broccoli Slaw in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, which I highly recommend.)

Ingredients

  • For the Salad:
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets, then sliced into thin-ish slices
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • About 1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. In a large bowl, add broccoli and carrots.  Meanwhile, toast almonds until fragrant and lightly golden.  Add almonds, cranberries and chopped basil.  Toss to combine.
  2. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, shallot and salt and pepper.  Mix well to combine, then pour over salad.
  3. Toss well so that dressing evenly coats salad.  Serve as a side dish to fish, chicken, steak–whatever you like!

Enjoy!

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