The waitress pulled a chair up to our table and chattered breezily as she wrote out the ingredients for the restaurant’s delicious broccoli salad. It was mid afternoon at the Old-West touristy Livery Barn Cafe in Ogallala, Nebraska, where we’d stopped on our way back from a family reunion. I had timidly asked if the recipe was secret or if they would share it—I’ve had similar broccoli salad elsewhere, but this was extra good. Her directions were as follows: Mix chopped broccoli, two big handfuls of raisins, one big handful of chopped onion, two shakes bacon bits, two glugs red wine vinegar, and some mayo in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
Well, I made it mostly as she said, but I measured the handfuls and glugs and mixed it in a covered bowl, and here’s the recipe I came up with. I made it without the onion and it was still really good. I also used bottled Hormel Real Bacon Pieces.
For the sugar, you could use raw sugar or a sugar substitute such as xylitol, but you may want to allow extra time for the crystals to dissolve before mixing the dressing with the other ingredients. Xylitol is a sweetener made from plant fibers, usually the bark of birch trees. It has 40% fewer calories than regular sugar and is metabolized more slowly so is safe for people who have diabetes. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties and will not cause tooth decay.
Be sure to make the salad ahead and refrigerate all day or overnight so the flavors blend.
|Livery Barn Cafe Broccoli Salad||
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar (raw sugar or xylitol, if desired)
- 1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)
- 1/4 cup bacon bits (or 5-6 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled)
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets and small pieces (about 4 cups)
- In a medium bowl with cover, combine mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. (If using raw sugar or xylitol, mix it with the mayonnaise and vinegar and let the dressing rest for about a half hour to allow the crystals to dissolve. The raw sugar will dissolve completely so that you don’t see any dark flecks; with the xylitol, you will still see some sparkles in the dressing.)
- Add chopped onion (if using), bacon bits or crumbled bacon, raisins and broccoli. Fold all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.