Vegan Broccoli Raisin Salad (Gluten-Free)

Eat More Raw Broccoli

Broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrients. However, many of us can admit that eating it raw,  can be a difficult task. Kids in particular, usually find broccoli gross and parents have to deal with it. Despite its flavor, the truth is that this cruciferous veggie is one of the best health-boosting foods around. In our case, my husband had to include broccoli on his diet even though he had never been a fan of it. The main inconvenient was: It tastes bitter.  Broccoli boosts liver detox enzymes, and this was reason enough for me to introduce this vegetable in a way he couldn´t resist. After a while,  I found this “Broccoli Raisin Salad Recipe” and decided to make my own version of it.

Eating raw broccoli is the best!

Bitter is Better

The cruciferous family  (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, radishes, and arugula)  contain compounds called “glucosinolates,” which give them their bitter taste and are responsible for many of their health benefits.  Glucosinolates help liver enzymes process toxins more effectively, reducing their negative impacts on your body. Therefore, bitter is better. 

Scientists from South Dakota State University recently found compounds in broccoli are capable of preventing the relapse of certain cancers by destroying cancerous stem cells. Experts say broccoli’s high levels of sulforaphane make it a nightmare for most cancers.

It is important to clarify that when it comes to preserving the levels of glucosinolates and sulforaphane, eating raw broccoli is the best way to do it;  it’s more nutritious. Or, if you like it cooked, steam broccoli until it’s cooked but still crunchy. 

Discover The Perfect Balance

Either you love this veggie, or you find it to be bitter,  you will be amazed by this Broccoli Raisin Salad Recipe. The sweetness of raisins, red onions, cherry tomatoes, and creamy dressing make a perfect match bringing a fantastic balance in flavor.  In fact, my husband gets excited when I make this salad, and enjoys eating every bite.  How not to consider this as an accomplishment!

Broccoli Raisin Salad
Vegan Broccoli Raisin Salad (Gluten-Free)

SUMMARY:  Broccoli is a superfood to be consumed fresh and raw to enjoy most of its health benefits.  Consequently, it deserves a second chance on your shopping list and your plate.  Be surprised trying my Broccoli Raisin Salad Recipe version.


 HOW TO GET YOUR FAMILY TO START EATING BROCCOLI 

In addition, getting your family members to eat broccoli (and like it) could seem to be like having a “mission impossible.”  Why do they make such a big deal?

Firstly,  broccoli is known for its strong taste, and if one´s have been forced to it, the situation turns even worse.  Secondly, bitter foods get a bad rap in the culinary world and are not commonly good friends to picky eaters. Thirdly, and most significantly,  cruciferous vegetables usually expel an unpleasant smell when they are overcooked.

With this in mind,  you need to know there is always a route to disguise, hide or balance broccoli´s flavor mixing it with the proper ingredients and following some cooking guidelines. 

For this purpose, I share some considerations for you to start encouraging your kids (including all your family) to eat up broccoli and why not? Start liking it!

PRACTICAL TIPS TO HELP CHILDREN (AND FAMILY) TO TRY BROCCOLI:

  1. Be a role model: There are no shortcuts. The change initiates with you.  
  2. Adjust your attitude:  A good diet starts with a grateful heart. 
  3. Cut back on junk:   This is not about being “punished”, but about making good choices.  Learn to be rewarded eating healthy foods.
  4. Take the pressure off the dinner: Stress over nutrition turns on rejection. Relax, enjoy and motivate.
  5. Make broccoli fun: Have fun in the kitchen and be creative.  Do not take personal the response you may get to your new experiments.
  6. Try serving broccoli raw: Dipping sauces may work wonders. Find the right combination for you (and for them!). 

SUMMARY:   Do not give up on your efforts of helping your family to consume a diet high in vegetables,  Kids grow up; family members can change their approach to food.   Focus on the big picture understanding that the best lesson you can teach is leading by example. 


  

VEGAN BROCCOLI RAISIN SALAD RECIPE (GLUTEN-FREE)

Prep time: 15 mins          Total cooking time: 15 min        Yield: 4 portions

 Salad ingredients:

  • 1 medium head broccoli ( about 5 cups of florets)
  • ¼ c. raisins
  • ¼ c. diced red onion (you can use more if you like onions)
  • ½ c. cherry tomatoes in halves

Dressing ingredients: 

  • 1 c. vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. organic coconut sugar 
  • Kosher salt & organic ground pepper  (to taste)

Optional topping:

  • Unsalted sunflower seeds.

Directions:

1. Cut the broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces (discard the stems for later use in a stir-fry or other veggie-dish). 

2. Add broccoli florets, red onion, raisins, and cherry tomatoes to a large bowl.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, white vinegar, and coconut sugar. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.  

4. Serve the salad on a plate with dressing and sunflower seeds in separate bowls on the side so individuals can add toppings as desired. 

5. You may keep it refrigerated in an airtight container for several days.

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