by Sue Ready
Make your heart like a lake with a calm still surface and a great depth of kindness. — Lao Tzu
Broccoli cranberry salad with greek yogurt dressing and a few added twists. It’s a lightened-up version of your favorite side dish! Made with fresh broccoli florets, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, bacon, and a tangy Greek yogurt dressing. Add the crunch of Asian noodles and this make-ahead salad is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for your holiday weekend. Blueberry banana oat muffins were the perfect accompaniment for this spring salad lunch.
The recipe serves 4-6 and can easily be doubled. Allow 2 hours for salad to be chilled.
Broccoli cranberry salad with Greek yogurt dressing
6 cups broccoli florets cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
¼ cup diced red onion
¼ cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup halved grape tomatoes
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Asian-style crunchy noodles-1 cup (available in Asian food aisle)
Greek yogurt dressing ingredients:
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup mayo
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Whisk together dressing.
Mix all salad ingredients except noodles.
Add as much dressing as needed to moisten the salad but not soak it.
Refrigerate for 2 hours. Add in noodles right before serving.
Blueberry banana oat muffins
Cook’s notes: Whip up a healthier muffin with this recipe. Ripe bananas, applesauce, whole wheat flour, and oats combined with your favorite extract, spice, and fruit make for a nutritious muffin at 139 calories.
The recipe was adapted from allrecipes.com and makes 12 muffins.
Here are some options using the basic muffin ingredients, changing up the spice, extract, and the type of fruit used.
Apple Spice Muffins (use vanilla extract, apple pie spice or cinnamon, and diced apples)
Blueberry Lemon (use lemon or almond extract, lemon zest, ground ginger or cinnamon, and blueberries)
Peach Cinnamon (use almond extract, ground cinnamon, and diced peaches)
Cooking Tip: I find almond extract to be more potent than vanilla, so I might suggest reducing the amount to 1/2 teaspoon.
Base Muffin Recipe
1 cup mashed bananas
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
1 large egg lightly beaten
1 teaspoon extract (I used almond extract)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons spice (I used Saigon Cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup fruits (I used blueberries that were washed and dried on a paper towel)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper cupcake wrappers.
Stir together bananas, brown sugar, applesauce, egg, and desired extract.
In another bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt, desired spice, and baking soda.
Add flour mixture and oats, with banana mixture. Gently stir just until combined. Do not overmix. Fold in desired fruit.
Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 full.
Bake 16 minutes. Remove muffins from tray and cool on a wire rack.
Twice a month The Seasonal Plate food column will highlight dishes inspired by the changing seasons. My passion for travel, poetry, writing, exploring new cuisines, trying recipes and cooking have been inspiration for the recipes I have published on my blog http://www.sockfairies.blogspot.com.
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Sue Ready is a writer, poet and former middle school teacher. She is the president of the Northwoods Arts Council in Hackensack.