This morning, I was shaken out of bed by a 4.1 magnitude earthquake that hit just a few miles from my home here in Southern California. It wasn’t a big earthquake, but it was a shallow one, and we really felt the jolt– it was loud! In my early morning “fog” I thought two bombs had gone off, one right after the other. I guess I didn’t really need to set my alarm this morning, did I? Thankfully very little damage was done. Because it is St. Patrick’s Day, people are now calling it the “Shamrock Shake.” I’m just grateful that we’re all safe and sound.
In honor of our mildly terrifying “Shamrock Shake” and St. Patty’s Day, a green dish seems appropriate. This broccoli salad is just the ticket. The Romans, who were particularly fond of broccoli, referred to the veggie as the “five green fingers of Jupiter.” Emperor Tiberius’s son, Drusus, is said to have formed an addiction to it and would eat nothing else for a month straight. Now I love broccoli, but I don’t think I could survive on it all day, every day! In his book Treatise on Gardening (1765), John Randolph likened broccoli stems to asparagus and the head to cauliflower. He wasn’t far off in his comparison, as broccoli and cauliflower are both modifications of the cabbage flower. Unlike its white relative, broccoli heads will sprout while cauliflower cannot.
I’ve been on a smoked gouda kick lately. I got the idea for this salad while snacking on a piece of smoked gouda cheese as a batch of broccoli roasted in the oven. Something about the combination seemed tantalizing. I whipped up a simple, creamy smoked gouda dressing with Greek yogurt. Cayenne adds a subtle kick, a perfect compliment to that delicious roasted broccoli. Using buttermilk gives the dressing a bit more tang, milk makes it creamy-good. I added toasted pine nuts, but if you’re concerned about nut allergies feel free to omit. The result was gobbled here on the homefront. I think Drusus would have gobbled this right up. Eat something green today, or you might get pinched!
To learn how to roast broccoli, click here.
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- 5 lbs broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces and roasted - learn how to roast broccoli here
- 5 1/2 oz smoked gouda cheese (about 1 cup grated)
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
- Generous pinch of cayenne (add more for a bigger kick)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted (optional)
You will also need
- baking sheets, food processor
- Roast the broccoli (directions linked above), then let it return to room temperature before assembling salad. You can also roast the broccoli ahead and chill before serving for a colder salad.
- Grate the smoked gouda cheese, or cut it into chunks and place it in the food processor, then process into very fine bits. Combine gouda in the processor with Greek yogurt, milk, fresh parsley and lemon juice. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of container with spatula as needed (it will take several times scraping down the sides and reprocessing to achieve a salad dressing consistency). Add more salt, pepper, cayenne or lemon juice if desired to taste. Dressing should be cold; chill if needed.
- To assemble salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss the roasted broccoli with the salad dressing and toasted pine nuts. Alternatively, for a prettier presentation, you can plate the salads individually and drizzle the dressing over the top.