Tis (almost) the season of backyard barbecues, picnics and outdoor potlucks. We gather with friends, or simply migrate to the backyard picnic table for family dinner, and that has me craving the classics: grilled meats, veggies and some creamy starchy sides like macaroni salad. Today, I have the perfect solution for scratching the creamy-side-salad itch while actually getting in some seriously healthy raw veg. Win-win.

Creamy Broccoli and Blue Cheese Salad stretches just a smidgen of silky-and-satisfying mayonnaise with some low-fat Greek yogurt, and the resulting salad is creamy, but not cloying. Blue cheese brings a nice sophisticated hit of flavor, and there is just enough to add complexity without being so overboard that kids won’t eat. Well, most anyway: one of my four kiddos deemed this salad “too bluecheesy” for her palate, but I claim 75 percent as a victory here. Because a little blue cheese goes a long way, you get a lot of flavor for your cheese calorie, but feel free to swap for a milder cheese like crumbled feta or even shredded sharp cheddar.

The bulk of the salad, though, is brilliantly healthy raw vegetables: broccoli, thinly sliced cabbage and shredded carrots. Halved grapes add the perfect touch of sweetness that takes the salad almost to a slaw, and pairs perfectly with the tangy blue cheese, and red onion. You can spend ten minutes breaking down your own florets, chopping cabbage and grating carrots, or spend an extra dollar to buy them prepped in the produce aisle. Either way, the salad takes minutes to make, and it holds up well for a couple of days in the fridge. Which means leftovers can be brownbagged for lunch the next day no problem. And, you can feel great about having a plethora of one of the most touted health foods out there: simple raw broccoli.

CREAMY BROCCOLI AND BLUE CHEESE SALAD

Servings: 6

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Salad:

4 cups small broccoli florets (raw)

1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup shredded red cabbage

1 cup red grapes, sliced in half

1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

Dressing:

1/4 cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoon light mayonnaise

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 small garlic clove, finely minced or pressed, or 1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/4 teaspoon (or less or more) hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place all the salad ingredients into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and taste for seasoning. Pour the dressing onto the salad and toss. Best if chilled for an hour before serving to allow flavors to marry.


Nutrition information per serving: 93 calories; 32 calories from fat; 4 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 8 mg cholesterol; 335 mg sodium; 13 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 5 g protein.


Online: http://www.melissadarabian.net

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MELISSA D'ARABIAN
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