Holiday Broccoli Quinoa Salad
Broccoli is the star of this make-ahead salad and holds up like champ! The Champagne Vinaigrette and lemon juice soften the hard crunch, creating the perfect base for the recipe.
Mixing in quinoa, smoked almonds, cheddar cheese, and dates delivers an addictive balance of flavors and textures. The sweet, savory, and salty combination will have all your holiday guests asking for this recipe!
½ cup dried white or red quinoa, rinsed (we love Simpli)
2 small or 1 large head of broccoli, stalk end trimmed (about 1 pound)
6 pitted dates (Hadley are easier to use than Medjool), chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced
4 ounces sharp cheddar, cut into ¼-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
⅓ cup salted, roasted almonds, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
¼ cup Champagne Vinaigrette
Follow package instruction to cook ½ cup of quinoa. Taste quinoa and make sure it’s tender. Let sit on stove (make sure the burner is turned off) while you assemble the rest of the salad.
Shave off thin layers from the top of the broccoli, creating only small florets, into a large bowl.
Take the remaining thicker stem of the broccoli and trim and chop up the stalk. Start by snapping off any remaining stems sticking out. Using a vegetable peeler, remove fibrous outer layer of stalk until you get to the tender light green interior. Chop up stalk and add to bowl.
Toss in the chopped dates, slices scallions, cubed cheese, slivered almonds, red pepper flakes, and quinoa. Add a few pinches of salt and combine.
Add the Champagne Vinaigrette and lemon juice. Toss and combine. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice, if needed or desired.
Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes before serving (or transfer salad to an airtight container and chill up to 3 days). This allows the dates to soften and other ingredients to soak up all the lemon juice, vinaigrette, and seasonings.