Food for a heatwave III – Broccoli and toasted seed salad


Broccollisalad And so, just like that, we are back in a mini-heatwave!  After the weatherman’s dire predictions that summer was over, we were all expecting a slow slide into winter.  But it seems that the sun had other ideas.  After a rather changeable Saturday, Sunday dawned absolutely PERFECT – just as well because we had Johanna and family round for a verrrrrrry long lunch in the garden (more on that later).  No wind, clear blue skies and lots of sun.  It seemed as if summer had returned.  And yesterday was even hotter, so in the blink of an eye we were back in a heatwave and I was back to making cold food!

Don’t you love it when you make something that’s absolutely delicious, and then you get an extra boost of smugness because you’re accidentally enjoying something that’s really healthy and good for you?  I find smugness hugely heightens my sense of taste 😉  I do have to admit that it’s not a sensation I get often, seeing as my idea of a good time runs mostly to artery-clogging creaminess.  Nick, on the other hand, will get a craving for… tomatoes and will happily eat them as a snack while I’m rummaging around in the fridge for a hunk of cheese to go with my mayonnaise.  You get the picture.

But here’s one of the dishes I made recently that satisfies most of my cravings without actually being bad for you.  The original recipe came from my friend Alison, but in the version she gave me you use mayonnaise as a dressing.  I think this is too heavy, so I substituted the wholegrain mustard vinaigrette from my carpaccio of zucchini salad.  The meal as a whole (broccoli salad served with smoked mackerel fillets – pictured below with my sunny little garden as backdrop) is really good for you – and here’s why:

Broccollisaladgarden Mackerel – a good source of high quality protein as well as vitamins A, D and the B group; a good source of calcium, iodine and magnesium; and a source of Omega 3 fatty acids

Broccoli – rich in vitamins, high in fibre and low in calories. A cup of cooked broccoli (apparently!)contains more calcium than a glass of milk and more Vitain C than an orange.  Plus it is packed with cancer-fighting phytochemicals and is a great source of folic acid

Sunflower and pumpkin seeds – the former are rich in antioxidant vitamin E as well as cholesterol-lowering phytosterols, and a good source of magnesium and selenium; and the latter are a good source of manganese and magesium, as well as providing you with more phytosterols

So not only will this meal sate your appetite, it will also make you look 10 years younger and feel as strong as an ox.  Now that’s what I call value for money  😉



about 4 cups of broccoli florets
a large handful of mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds
4 Tbsp finely chopped red onion (optional)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

And for the dressing

1/4 cup of olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp honey
Salt & milled black pepper to taste


In a dry non-stick pan, toast the seeds over medium heat.  Stir frequently and watch them closely as they catch easily.  Steam the brocolli florets very lightly (or if, like me, you like your broccoli very crunchy , just blanch them in boiling water).  In a large serving bowl, toss together the broccoli, chopped red onion and toasted seeds.  Mix together all the dressing ingredients and shake well before pouring over the salad.  Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan and serve.

Other editions of Food for a Heatwave include:

Curried chicken salad

Tabbouleh a la Cooksister

Grilled salmon Caesar salad

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  1. says

    I LURVE broccolli and that recipe looks lekker! (to coin a phrase) so I have just changed tomorrow’s supper menu to incorporate it. Toasted seeds – yum.
    Your blog is great, I’ve been a lurker, reading it for ages and should have complimented you on it before now

  2. says

    I feel much healthier just from reading the recipe. Looks like a goer for us, as we all like fish, broccoli and D quite happily snacks on a whole sunflower head, popping the seeds out one by one, just like the parrots.

  3. says

    Oooh that does look good (not that I don’t want a bit of cake afterward;)
    But you left out one key thing…THE FISH. For some reason I cannot cook fish to save my life. Really. I’d never make it on Survivor.
    And I will savour the look of Happy Husband, the South African, when I set the broccoli dish in front of him.

  4. says

    Hi Herschelian
    Thanks for delurking!! And very glad to hear you like Cooksister – feel free to come back often. And comment!! The broccoli salad is very lekker and the toasted seeds are indeed heavenly. It’s a struggle to make sure they survive from the pan to the salad and don’t all get snacked on by the chef!
    Hi Neil
    Erm, maybe D has some Spanish blood? I have never seen anyone as proficient at separating sunflower seed flesh and shells using only their teeth! I sat next to a guy at a football match and he would put a great haldful of salted roasted sunflower seeds in his mouth and then nibble and extract only the shells with his one hand, before dropping them in an ever-growing pile at his feet. Extraordinary!!
    Hi Johanna
    Oh, don’t get me wrong – cake is your friend, as is cream and various desserts! Oh, and cheese and mayonnaise etc etc… But every now and again it feels so good to have a meal that’s as good for you as it tastes.
    Hi ExAfrica
    Aaaaah, this is the fish for you then! You buy it smoked and ready to go – no need to cook! It’s kind of like smoked snoek but more moist with a finer texture. Great served like this with a salad (potato salad is also a good partner) or flaked and mixed with Philly cream cheese as an easy pate.

  5. says

    Nope, pure Polish. I’ve seen her, her sister and all the inlaws go at it just as you described. They grow great rows of sunflowers and just before the parrots come, every seed head gets a pantyhose covering. I’d bet my lot would give the Spanish a run for their money!

  6. says

    Hi Neil
    I can see it now – the Intergalactic Spanish-Polish Tournesol Tournament!! LOL…. 😛
    Hi ExAfrica
    Nothing could be easier. And it comes in smoked and peppered varieties!