I am LOVING this warm weather, how about you!? Every year those first few really steamy days make me so happy. I officially declare that it is positively picnic season. We had our first grill out last weekend at my grandfather's house and let me tell you, it really hit the spot.
We had fresh tomato salad, grilled corn on the cob, grilled baby asparagus (asparagi?), veggie burgers, blackened potatoes, and iced tea with mint grown in my grandfather's garden. Mm mm mm. It was a righteous plant-based feast. But it made me realize how lucky I am to have family members who, whether begrudgingly or not, leave the butter off the veggies, leave the mayonnaise out of the salads and leave the cheese off the veggie burgers. Or heck, even have veggie burgers in the first place!
I'm so fortunate with the amazing, supportive family I have, and a special shout out to my mom for Mother's Day who holds down the veggie fort while I'm away. She's one bada**, incredible woman in so many ways and yet so humble that if you tell her that to her face she just giggles and looks sheepish :D.
Anyway, summer is packed with outdoor fun, picnicking, swimming, munching, grilling and celebrating sunshine. What it does not have to be packed with is mayonnaise based salads and sides. I've loathed mayonnaise since I was a kid so it's not just my plant-based ways that make me look high and low for other options. This roasted broccoli salad is absolutely killer at filling the need for those creamy side salads so omnipresent at summer potlucks.
With a mix of roasted and raw vegetables, it's crunchy, creamy, flavorful and fresh. When I gave it to my dad to try he took one bite and said, "Wooooooow..." and looked at me with big, impressed eyes. And he's a guy who insists on barbecue.
This dish works great as a stand alone side at a picnic or scoop it into some cabbage cups or lettuce wraps and it makes for a super easy and portable lunch or light dinner. I gave my official taste testers some to try and after they approved, I happily chowed down on several of these roasted broccoli salad cabbage cups myself. Deeelicious. No one wants to feel weighed down when it's hotter than hockeysticks outside so whether you're vegan or not, this broccoli salad is a great light – but still creamy – alternative to the old-fashioned favorite.
P.S. My Dad highly recommends topping it off with some of those crunchy sesame sticks. You could also sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or just about any nut to add extra oomph.
Yield: Makes 8 cabbage cups or enough broccoli salad for 6 larger portions