Call me a rabbit, but the broccoli salad was my favorite thing that was freshly made and sold at the Pantry, the food service company and group of super nice people who served us at my old job in Salisbury, NC. The Pantry was managed through Knockboy, LLC and they worked tirelessly to serve us fresh muffins, breakfast biscuits, grits, sandwiches, soups, etc. every single day. They implemented a salad bar that we liked to call the “tanning bed” (if you check the picture, you will understand) that was SUPER awkward due to it’s sneeze guards that severely prevent people who are short like me from getting their chopped cucumbers located on the back of the salad bar. You ended up gracelessly smushing your face against the glass (it’s called a SNEEZE GUARD, for goodness’ sake – kinda gross) to be able to reach your intended bin in the back, and it became prudent to always make a comment about the awkwardness of this whole thing as you reached and smushed while in the salad line, lest you be judged for making skin to glass contact in public.
Regardless of the mobile salad bar setup, we still enjoyed having the option every day, and the nice folks at the Pantry would also make fresh salads (pasta, broccoli, potato, jello, etc.) that I just looooved to try. The broccoli was my absolute fave, and I’d do a backtrack every time I passed by the “tanning bed” and noticed it was there! I think I made an effort to buy it every single time it was available.
I have also always been a person who would much rather make a large meal on Sunday night, divvy it up for the week in my tupperware, and eat it on my lunch breaks at work rather than spend money and consume empty calories by eating out every single day. I was always on the hunt for recipes that made a nice big batch and were somewhat healthy that would keep me satisfied throughout the whole week. I decided to use the idea of this broccoli salad to build on it a little and create a meal out it. I started with this Broccoli Cashew Salad recipe from Food.com to get the proportions right for the dressing, but the ingredients beyond that are totally up to the maker! I have played with it and added extra ingredients to it since I was making it as a whole meal, not just a side, and I really think you could add whatever you wanted and it would still just work, girl. WERK!
I would encourage you to try this!! So fresh and easy to make as a meal or a side dish – one of my absolute favorites! The addition of the kidney beans brings fiber, the nuts add good fats and protein, and the raisins supply just the right amount of sweetness to perfect this concoction (and I usually don’t like raisins!) I just hope that when you make this, you picture a face pressed up against the glass, on a PUBLIC SNEEZE GUARD, lips protruding and just, an all-around awesome display of smush-face, and you remember the dire lengths I went through for this deliciousness day after day, and you smile. That’s all I ask. 🙂