Dan and I made note of it during dinner last night. The air is still warm, but the heat is waning; autumn is just around the corner. Hopes of pumpkin patches and apple cider are beginning to rise, yet we are trying to enjoy the rest of summer, whatever may remain.
For reasons unknown, the abundance of this season is more beautiful to me this year than in the past. Fresh produce is delicious indeed, and the bright colors of unique farmers’ market finds make me giddy with excitement. I know summer won’t last for long, that the coldness of winter will inevitably take its place, but in this moment, I am clinging.
No good would come of my mentioning the price I paid for these gorgeous carrots, though I assure you, it was absurd. Logic told me that cheaper ones could be found elsewhere, but their beauty was more than I could resist. A few dollars poorer but rich in produce, I followed my farmers’ market trek with eager preparations as I set to work, transforming my treasures into lunch.
In this fresh salad, carrots and broccoli are dressed simply with a honey dijon vinaigrette, and I’ve tried to keep waste minimal by utilizing the broccoli stems as well as the florets. They impart a slight bitterness which is countered by the sweetness of the carrots and gentle tanginess of the dressing. It’s simple and bright and full of nutrition. Sunflower seeds aren’t something I use a lot in my cooking, but I thought they’d be a good way to finish it off and add some texture.
- 1 small bunch carrots
- 1 medium head broccoli
- 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Pinch kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the tops from the carrots and peel if desired (I chose to keep the peel on in this case in order to preserve the stunning exterior color), then cut lengthwise into matchsticks.
- Carefully cut away the broccoli florets from the thick stem. Cut the florets into bite size pieces, then peel the broccoli stem and cut it lengthwise into matchsticks. Ideally, the broccoli and carrot strips should be about the same size.
- In a small jar, combine the Dijon mustard, honey, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, seal with a tight fitting lid, and shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasonings to suit your preference.
- In a large bowl, add the cut carrots and broccoli along with the honey mustard vinaigrette and sunflower seeds, tossing to combine.
Tips and Tidbits
- This simple salad can be dressed up a number of ways, depending on your taste. Dried cranberries or finely diced red onion would be scrumptious additions, and you could even try rolling the salad in a whole wheat tortilla for a nutritious wrap.
- The honey Dijon vinaigrette pairs nicely with the ingredients here, but it’s also tasty incorporated into a variety other salads. Mixed greens, grilled chicken, and toasted pecans would happily drown in this mixture.
- If sunflower seeds aren’t your thing, try substituting in chopped almonds or pecans. Toasting the seeds or nuts for about 3 minutes in a hot dry pan over medium high heat would add even more flavor.