A delicious twist on broccoli salad that’s wonderful all year round! This Watercress (or Arugula) Grape Broccoli Salad is perfect alongside any entree, burgers, grilled sandwiches or on its own!
With all the picnics, potlucks and parties that life entails, I love to have a delicious salad recipe I can throw together on a moment’s notice when something fun pops up. And if it’s pretty, unique and healthy to boot, I’m a happy camper; and so are all the partakers! This Watercress Grape Broccoli Salad definitely checks all the boxes plus it’s one of those salads that’s easy to make all year round!
I’ve actually been staring at this broccoli salad for years. The recipe was torn out of a Food and Wine magazine back in 2013 and tucked it into my “to try” file. I thought it was so pretty and loved the combination of textures, shapes and green hues. Honestly, I’m not sure why I kept passing it by when flipping through my magazine clippings; nevertheless, I’m thrilled now to have it in my recipe arsenal!
Food and Wine called this salad Broccoli Carpaccio with Grapes and Watercress but I decided to keep the name a little simpler. Carpaccio is simply a fancy word for “thinly sliced”. In this recipe, the broccoli is cut very thinly with a sharp knife or mandolin which not only makes for a lovely presentation but also tenderizes the stalks. Also, thinly sliced broccoli reveals the beautiful artistic shape of broccoli florets and like snowflakes, no two slices are alike!
I addition to broccoli “carpaccio”, there are juicy green grapes, sweet golden raisins and tender watercress leaves. If you can’t find watercress, arugula, mâche or baby spinach would also be nice. A sprinkle of salted buttery pine nuts is a delicious topping, adding a wonderful gourmet touch.
The dressing is delightful and much healthier than most creamy salad dressings, with no added oil or fat. The ingredient list is simple: honey, grainy and Dijon mustards, Greek yogurt, and white wine vinegar. You can keep it thick or thin it down with a few tablespoons of milk. I like to serve it on the side and let guests help themselves but you could also drizzle it over the salad in advance.
So, when those summer party/picnic invitations start rolling in, volunteer to bring a salad. Everyone will be oohing and aahing when you walk in with this beautiful broccoli salad! Plus, lots of people will appreciate having a healthy option to choose from. But why wait for summer? Go ahead and pick up some broccoli, grapes and greens next time you’re at the market and throw this together sometime soon. Make plenty though, everyone will be shocked at how delicious broccoli salad can be!
Café Tips for making this Broccoli Salad
- Pine nuts can be expensive. I usually purchase mine at Trader Joe’s. You can get an 8-ounce bag for around six dollars which is about as good as it gets. You don’t need many to make a delicious, gourmet statement and they freeze well, so don’t worry if the amount is more than you’ll need for a particular recipe.
- If pine nuts aren’t available or in your budget, sunflower seeds can also be wonderful!
- Since mustard is one of the stars in this recipe, use the best Dijon and grainy mustards you can find. I really like Maille mustards and if you can find the kind that is actually made in France, you’ve struck gold. I have stocked up when visiting my daughter in London, but I recently found out that it’s available on Amazon!
- When you “carpaccio” or thinly slice broccoli, there will be lots of little pieces that fall by the wayside. Just include them in the salad. All the different-sized and textured pieces make it more fun.
- Look for plump, sweet, green grapes for this salad. You don’t want the tiny ones that make you pucker at the first taste!
- Watercress can be hard to find. You might not believe this, but I’ve found the prettiest and most reasonable watercress at Super Walmart, even when it’s not available at the more “gourmet” grocery stores! If you can’t find it, just substitute baby arugula or baby spinach.
- Looking for more healthy, delicious broccoli recipes? This Broccoli Parmesan Quinoa has gotten rave reviews from everyone who’s tried it! This Blueberry and Broccoli Pasta Salad would be another wonderful picnic/potluck option. I also love the idea of Rosemary Roasted Broccoli to go with grilled entrees for a light, healthy dinner.
What I use to make and serve this recipe:
- For the raisins:
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 2 teaspoons water
- For the pine nuts:
- 1 teaspoon butter
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- For the dressing:
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons milk I use whole milk
- For the salad:
- 1 very fresh head of broccoli 12 ounces—cut into large florets, stem peeled and reserved
- 1 cup seedless green grapes halved
- 2 ounces small watercress sprigs or pea shoots baby arugula, baby spinach or mâche
1. Combine raisins and water in a small microwave-safe dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 1 minute. Set aside to cool.
2. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium low heat. Add the pine nuts and salt. Cook, stirring the skillet occasionally, until golden, 5-7 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt with the mustard, honey, Greek yogurt, vinegar, milk and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir well, the set aside.
4. Using a mandolin, sharp knife or the slicing blade in a food processor, very thinly slice the broccoli florets and stems.
5. Arrange the broccoli on a serving platter. Top with the grapes, plumped raisins and watercress (or other greens) Drizzle with the dressing or serve dressing separately. Garnish with pine nuts and serve.