Have you ever had broccoli slaw? Years ago, I made a stupendous discovery (practically every cooking discovery was to me then, as is still now, a revelation).
Broccoli stems, which I usually cut away and discarded when preparing broccoli florets, were perfectly delicious raw.
Broccoli florets, I can't stand raw, neither the texture nor the taste (why do people insist on putting raw broccoli florets in salads? Shudder).
But the stems? All you have to do is cut away the tough, outer peel. Slice up the peeled stems and they are wonderfully cool and crunchy. Like carrots or celery, great for dipping.
Or, in this case, a broccoli slaw.
How to Use Broccoli Stems for Slaw
Broccoli stems taste a bit like cabbage, which is unsurprising given that they are both of the brassica family of vegetables. So naturally, the shredded stems work well in a slaw, especially tossed with grated cabbage and carrots.
Someone at the grocery head office must have figured this out too, because these days it's pretty easy to find pre-grated "broccoli slaw" mixes in the bagged lettuce aisle. Though it's easy enough to grate your own, just like carrots—you peel and grate.
Cut the stalks away from the broccoli crowns. Peel the tough outer layer with a vegetable peeler. Either use the grater blade of a food processor or the large holes of a box grater to grate the broccoli stalks.
What's in the Dressing for Broccoli Slaw?
The dressing is wonderfully tangy and slightly sweet with the dried cranberries, balsamic, honey, orange juice, and orange zest. The slaw is perfect for serving alongside pulled pork or with seafood.
The following recipe scales up easily, if you are feeding a crowd.
Make-Ahead and Storage Instructions
You can prep the dressing and the dry salad ingredients for this slaw a day or so ahead of time, just keep it refrigerated. Wait to toss them together until you’re ready to serve.
Any leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge, but keep in mind the cabbage will star to get wilty after a few days.
More Slaw Recipes to Love
- Classic Coleslaw
- No-Mayo Coleslaw
- Asian Coleslaw
- Cabbage and Kale Slaw with Caraway Ranch Dressing
- Fennel Slaw Salad with Mint Vinaigrette
Broccoli Slaw with Cranberry Orange Dressing
- For the dressing (makes about 1 cup):
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dried sweetened cranberries, plumped up in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes, then drained
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, more to taste
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- For the salad:
- About 6 stalks broccoli (about 4 cups grated; can substitute pre-grated packaged broccoli)
- 2 cups grated carrots (from 4 to 6 carrots)
- 2 cups shredded cabbage (Napa cabbage, green, or red cabbage)
- 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) Kosher salt
Prep the broccoli:
If using fresh broccoli stalks, cut them away from the broccoli crowns. Peel the tough outer layer with a vegetable peeler. Either use the grater blade of a food processor or the large holes of a box grater to grate the broccoli stalks. You should have about 4 cups of grated broccoli.
Make the dressing:
Put the balsamic and red wine vinegars, plumped dried cranberries, mustard, honey, garlic, orange juice, orange zest, and salt into a blender or a mini food processor and pulse until puréed smooth.
Slowly add the olive oil, while pulsing or blending, to form a good emulsion. Then add the mayonnaise and pulse until blended.
Assemble the salad:
Place grated broccoli stalks, carrots, cabbage, the onions, dried cranberries, orange zest, and Kosher salt into a bowl.
Add the dressing and toss to combine, until the dressing is evenly distributed.
You can make this several hours ahead of time before serving. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.