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Creamy Broccoli Salad with Smokey Pepitas (Paleo)

Yields4 ServingsPrep Time20 minsTotal Time20 mins

I often get asked where my inspiration comes from when it comes to recipe development. The last 10 years or so I would say my primary inspiration comes from what is in season locally and when it is growing season, from what is growing in my garden. I strongly believe that the most sustainable, economical and healthy way of eating is eating seasonally. This salad is another example of that. A local farmer on the island where I live grows beautiful non GMO food and 3 seasons a year I am able to pick up vegetables from her farm-stand. The week I created this recipe I had just picked up some purple broccoli from her stand and it was this broccoli that inspired me. It had been years since I had had traditional broccoli salad. Typically this salad is made with a very sweet mayonnaise based dressing, red onions, cranberries and bacon. It is this delicious balance of sweet, salty and sour flavours that has made broccoli salad a popular one over the years. My version is also a balance of the sweet, salty and sour, however much healthier, and all without disappointing when it comes to taste. For those who trouble digesting raw onion, as I do at times, you can leave out the onion. This salad is vegan if you leave out the bacon. I have enjoyed it both with and without the bacon and both versions are equally yummy.

 5 cups broccoli florets and stems, cut into bite sized florets and pieces about 1 very large head of broccoli or 2 medium
 ½ of 1 small red onion, finely diced (optional)
 4 slices bacon (paleo) & sugar free (optional), cooked, drained on paper towel and then crumbled*I recommend Meyer brand heritage bacon
Creamy Dressing
  cup vegan sour creamI used Forager Project cashew milk sour cream
 1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar
 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
 3 tsp grape nectar or other liquid sweetener such as raw honey or maple syrup
 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
 ½ tsp sea salt
Candied Smokey Pepitas
 1 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
 2 tbsp maple syrup
 heaping 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
 ¼ -1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
 1 pinch course sea salt

Whisk all of the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. Add broccoli & onion (if using) and toss gently in the dressing. Top with cooked and crumbled bacon* (optional and Pepitas when you are ready to serve. Salad will store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days in a covered glass container.

*the least messy way to prepare bacon is to bake. Bake on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet in a preheated 375 F oven until crispy, turning bacon over, half-way during cooking. For crispy bacon cook time should be about 20 minutes or so.

Candied Smokey Pepitas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed cookie/baking sheet with parchment paper. Place all the ingredients on the sheet and mix well with your hands. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the syrup starts to bubble and the seeds are lightly toasted.


Once you remove the pumpkin seeds from the oven, stir so that they are evenly coated with the topping. Place in a bowl and allow to cool and then enjoy. This makes technically more than you would need for the salad but once you taste them you'll want to snack endlessly on them!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 salad plate

Servings 0