I have a story for you. I can’t believe I haven’t told you already! A few Fridays ago, I drove out to Green Dirt Farm in Weston, Missouri. The clouds grew ominously dark on my way out there, so I knew we were in for another storm.
We watched the clouds roll closer and closer as we sampled some amazing cheese and wine (if you live in the Kansas City area, you really must go). Soon, it was pouring rain like it had the night before. Lighting! Thunder! Electricity zig-zagged across the sky. Then, the tornado sirens started wailing.
I really love a good storm, and we couldn’t have picked a better place to get stuck in one. We picked up our cheese plate and our wine glasses and headed down to the basement, making friends with a few ladies on a birthday trip on the way. The representative from the vineyard refilled our glasses, and the tornado never touched down.
It was grand. Perhaps (perhaps) the only missing element was a big green salad to balance the cheese and wine. This broccoli rabe salad is a salad for kale salad lovers and garlic fiends who want to change things up. Broccoli rabe has a powerful flavor all its own, so I massaged it with a dash of salt to reduce it a little bit, although this salad is nothing short of bold. Intense, even. Then, I tossed the massaged broccoli rabe with a garlicky lemon dressing. Freshly toasted sunflower seeds, crisp celery, salty Parmesan and sweet dried cranberries round it out.
I’ve shared a few broccoli rabe recipes on the blog already, but it was new to me until about a year ago. It’s bursting with nutrition benefits and a unique flavor that I’ve really learned to love. If you want to give it a try, you might start with sautéed broccoli rabe (broccoli rabe peanut soba noodles) or roasted (broccoli rabe pesto flatbread and lemony roasted potatoes and broccoli rabe). So good!
Massaged Broccoli Rabe Salad with Sunflower Seeds & Cranberries
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 side salads 1x
- Category: Salad
Raw broccoli rabe, once massaged with a lemony, garlicky dressing, transforms into a delicious salad green. Be prepared to get your hands dirty for this one—for best results, use your fingers to tear the leaves apart and rub the dressing into the leaves. Then, just toss in crisp celery, salty Parmesan, toasted sunflower seeds and sweet dried cranberries. Recipe yields 4 side salads.
- 2 bunches broccoli rabe (about 2 pounds)
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup chopped celery (about 3 celery ribs)
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, to taste
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pull the broccoli rabe leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Wash and spin dry the leaves. Tear any large leaves into small, bite-sized pieces, then transfer the leaves to a large serving bowl.
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast the sunflower seeds until they are fragrant and starting to turn lightly golden on the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic and salt until emulsified. Pour the dressing over the leaves and gently massage the dressing into the leaves until they are lightly coated and the salad has almost halved in size. Taste, and add one to two more teaspoons lemon juice if it needs more zip.
- Add the chopped celery, grated Parmesan, toasted sunflower seeds and dried cranberries to the serving bowl. Toss again and serve immediately.
Make it vegan: Omit the Parmesan for a vegan salad. You might want to add some nutritional yeast, to taste, to make up for it.
▸ Nutrition Information
This post was created in partnership with Andy Boy and I received compensation for my participation. Opinions are my own, always. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who support C+K!