Try a lightened up version of this favorite party salad with this Gluten Free Healthier Broccoli Raisin Salad. Sweetened with honey, this recipe is 100% refined sugar free.
I had the best night last night. It was a total girls’ night. Sometimes you just need to hang out with your favorite gals without all the stress and responsibility of home, and since Ben was already gone out of town (at Disneyland with his parents, nonetheless) it was even easier to slip away with my gal pals.
Wait, easier??? How would it be easier to go out with my girlfriends if my hubby was GONE???
Well because the gal pals I’m referring to are my very own two little munchkins that routinely drive me crazy. But, it’s a whole different ball game when you remove the day to day stress of fulfilling various responsibilities like cleaning the house, getting to extracurricular activities on time, completing homework in a timely manner, preparing meals, working out, etc. All that thrown into the mix of parenting sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out and I end up taking a lot of frustration out on my kiddos.
Really, it’s a miracle they still like me.
Anyway, after a stressful week of being on my own, I felt the need to spend some low pressure, let loose, fabulous girl time with my sweet kiddos that endure WAY too much nagging from their mama.
They previous day I had been searching for shoes and swimsuits for my girls with absolutely no luck (Please, someone tell me why they stop selling swimsuits in the winter in Hawaii!), but we ended up with some pretty fashionable dresses. Braelyn is convinced that both of her dresses are popstar dresses, and I couldn’t agree more. That girl is the epitome of “POPSTAR”!
And even though Emry wasn’t in dire need of any more dresses (she is sentenced to an eternal supply of hand me downs), I couldn’t turn her down when she starting sifting through the racks herself and picked out exactly what she wanted. It really was the cutest thing. Like ever.
So when I sounded the alarm for “Girls’ Night!!!” last night, I felt it only necessary that we dress up in our fancy new clothes, curl our hair, and paint on some make up. We were going to own this town!
Okay, so really it ended up with only Emry doing all three beauty preps. Braelyn opted for a quick hairdo (she’s super impatient) and no make up so she could snuggle with her new stuffed animal during the movie without smearing lipstick and blush all over it.
Well…I only had time for a spit bath, a top knot, and the fastest make up routine you will ever witness. And new clothes??? Nope, not for this mama. I threw on an old dress from the closet and called it good. But with all that being said, I still felt like we looked like a relatively smoking hot bunch!
After a night of listening to rocking music in the car, ordering to go food from a fancy restaurant (ain’t nobody got time to sit down), watching an adorable movie, and blowing some money at the arcades…I decided I need to make this at least a quarterly tradition. I sure do love my fancy girls!
And speaking of dressing up…women ain’t the only ones that can dress up for the better. Um, yeah, I’m just realizing that this makes it sound like I’m talking about men. And…well…yes, Ben does enjoy dressing up, but really I meant food. Food NEEDS to be dressed up. Give it ALL the flavor and let it party in your mouth.
Take this Gluten Free Healthier Broccoli Raisin Salad for instance. Broccoli??? Yeah, it’s good. BUT…dress that broccoli up with a tangy, sweet poppyseed dressing and toss it with some chewy, crunchy fixings, and your broccoli has transformed into a shining STAR just like my favorite girls in their sparkling new dresses.
This is your basic broccoli raisin salad with a creamy poppyseed dressing except HEALTHIER. Instead of sweetening the dressing with sugar, I used honey. I also laid low on the dressing in general. I don’t like my salads doused with dressing anyway, since they seem to loose all their crispness. But from a health stand point, it’s beneficial to get used to eating salads lightly dressed to avoid excessive empty calories and instead focus on the more nutritious components of the salad…the VEGGIES.
It’s the “less is more” philosophy. Same applies to dressing up for a girls’ night out. I always tell Braelyn when she wants to wear make up, “less is more”. Nobody wants to go around town with a clown. Well actually, that may be kind of fun. I’ve never hung out with a clown all night, but I’m sure they’re wildly entertaining.
Anyway, I love the combo of the sweet dressing and raisins with the salty bacon and crunchy almonds. It’s like every texture and taste you could ever love in one perfect salad. And not only is the dressing sweet, but it has a bit of tang from the apple cider vinegar and lemon juice which excites yet another part of your palate.
For an even richer taste, try toasting the nuts before tossing them in the salad. Toasted nuts always yield a greater flavor than plain old almonds, walnuts, or pecans. Not absolutely necessary, but definitely an improvement.
Really, if I’m being honest, the only downside of eating this salad is the slight gas attack you may have afterward. Let’s get real: broccoli can bloat. I learned this when I tried to go through an entire Costco sized bag of broccoli in just one week. It wasn’t pretty. But as long as you ration your broccoli servings, you’re good to go.
Hehe! Don’t you love my advice on keeping your bowels happy??? What can I say? I’m here for you!
And here’s some more advice: dress up, get fancy, and party the night away with your favorite people. You deserve it. And later, when you have some time, make a batch of broccoli salad, change into some sweats, and fart the evening away all cozy on the couch. It’s the joy of the small things in life.
When is the last time you treated yourself to a date night or a night out with friends?
- For the dressing:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1½-2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon poppyseeds
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- For the salad:
- 4-5 cups chopped broccoli florets
- ⅓ cup raisins
- 3 tablespoons bacon crumbles
- ¼ cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts or pecans
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Season and sweeten to taste.
- Chop 4-5 cups broccoli and put into bowl with dressing (start with 4 cups). Add in other salad fixings. Stir to coat mix-ins with dressing. Add more broccoli if desired to achieve preferred ratio of dressing to salad.
- Chill for 30 minutes before serving.