Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Faux Sweet Tomatoes Broccoli Salad

I love me some Sweet Tomatoes. No, not the actual tomatoes, the restaurant called Sweet Tomatoes. In some areas it's called Souplantation. Why do I love this restaurant? It's a soup and salad buffet, and you can't go wrong with that combo in my book. Mrblocko and Blockette enjoy going there. I usually dine there when I'm out on a girl's night though. My friend's husbands are pure carnivores and would squeal like a stuck pig if someone suggested that a vegetable pass their lips.

Anyhow, Sweet Tomatoes carries this awesome broccoli salad. Last spring I came across a recipe for Mock Sweet Tomatoes Broccoli Salad from The Homesteading Housewife. Somehow it migrated to the back of my recipe binder. It resurfaced and I am so sad that I didn't try it sooner! The combo from the crunch of the broccoli and cashews, paired with the sweetness of the raisins and red onion and the saltiness of the bacon was just what I was craving!
As I was making this salad I wondered if there was an actual recipe for this salad put out by Sweet Tomatoes itself. I did a search and found Joan's Broccoli Madness Salad on Sweet tomatoes blog. The recipes are nearly identical. The "Real" recipe contains more sugar. I think I like the fake one better. The next time I make this I'm going to tweak the recipe and use a bit less mayo. There was just a tad bit too much. Oh, I also used more bacon. You can never have too much bacon.

I'm wondering how this salad would taste with pecans and craisins in place of the cashews and raisins. The craisins might be just a bit too tart for the combination. Maybe the next time I get a wild hair I'll test that idea out. Right now I'm content with the current ingredients.

There is one caveat to this salad, after day 2, the cashews loose their crunch. This is a sad sad thing. There are 2 solutions to this problem:
1. Gobble the salad up before this happens.
2. Put the cashews on your individual portion before consumption.

Dana's Best Broccoli Salad (inspired by Sweet Tomato) from the Homesteading Housewife
3-4 heads worth of broccoli florets , cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium red onion, diced finely
3/4 cup salted cashew halves, broken
3/4 cup raisins
6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked & crumbled

1 cup mayonnaise (or 1/2 cup mayo & 1/2 cup plain yogurt)
5 Tablespoons vinegar (I like salad vinegar)
3 Tablespoons sugar
Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over salad, mix to coat. Refrigerate for a few hours to develop flavors. It's best when made the day before!

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