I’m definitely one of those people/weirdos that gets excited about not having any idea what’s coming in a CSA box or delivery. For me, it’s like playing Chopped in my own home. But without the insane time limits or Alex Guarnschelli breathing down my neck or staring me down with those stern eyes saying I didn’t correctly use my random ass mystery ingredients of cheeze its, gum dromps, chicken breast, and kale correctly.
And there’s no chopping block or Ted Allen to tell me with that dreadful catchphrase of his that I’ve “been chopped” at home either, thankfully. I can test and screw up my recipes all I want without anyone (but myself) knowing. Which is especially awesome because I’m always trying to come up with new, creative recipes and simple ideas based on seasonal ingredients from my farmer’s market and whatever else my crazy imagination comes up with for both me and my health coaching clients.
And that’s how this Balsamic Broccoli & Sweet Potato Salad was born.
I created this recipe after being sent a CSA basket from the folks at From the Farmer, a DC- area based local farm-fresh produce delivery company. They connect with local family farms and deliver their fresh fruits and vegetables right to their customers’ front doors. Everybody’s all about being local and seasonal these days, and From the Farmer does just that.
I loved the basket I received: it had great variety, and it arrived so early in the day I didn’t even realize it for a couple hours! What’s so cool about From the Farmer is that they send you an email with what’s in next week’s box a couple days beforehand, so you know exactly what’s coming. No ending up with 6 lbs of lacinato or dinosaur kale if that doesn’t sound up your alley. And if you’re not very adventurous in your cooking or get excited about being on Chopped in your very own kitchen with random ingredients, you can always double up on or substitute out different kinds of produce. There are three different sizes of baskets depending on how much you cook or how many you’re cooking for, and you can even add on goodies like farm-fresh eggs, gluten-free bread, and COFFEE.
AND…drumroll please…From the Farmer just rolled out the option of including meat in your delivery too! We’re talking all antibiotic-and-hormone-free, local meats, like grass fed beef, pastured ground pork and chicken breasts, as well as some sausages from local sausage folks at Meat Crafters. This is brand-spanking-new, and I wish I had this in my delivery! #jealous
The coolest part? The From the Farmer team is giving you guys DISCOUNTS!! Everybody likes sales. 50% off your first two deliveries when you sign up, to be exact. How cool is that? (p.s., I’m not getting paid to say this, they’re just really awesome.) Just use the code “REALFOODDANA50“ when you sign up. Remember this is only good for people in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area – sorry everyone else! But if you’re lucky, they’ll be coming to you soon too.
Also, they’re super, super nice and accommodating. And Emily, who I’ve been working with on the amazing From the Farmer team, called me a “real food warrior” when this recipe went out in their newsletter. Which I’m definitely putting on my resumé.
- 1 large head broccoli, chopped into florets
- 1 medium-large sweet potato, cubed
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium fuji or honeycrisp apple, diced
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- ⅓ cup homemade mayonnaise (or primal kitchen foods)
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- additional sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- optional: 2 Tbsp chopped nuts, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Prepare the sweet potatoes: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, toss the cubed potatoes with 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil, ½ tsp sea salt, and minced garlic. Arrange on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven for 25 minutes. Save the mixing bowl for later.
- While the sweet potatoes are baking, cook your bacon. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat, and cook the bacon for 2-4 minutes per side (depending on how thick your bacon is). You want to get it nice and crispy, but not burnt! Once it’s cooked, remove the pan from the heat and place the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to cool, then chop it into bacon bits when it’s not too hot to handle.
- Next, steam the broccoli. You can either do this in the microwave for 4-5 minutes in a large microwave-safe dish (with the lid on) and about ½ inch of water poured in the bottom. Or, you can steam it in a basket over about an inch of water for about 5 minutes, until you can easily insert a fork in the center of a floret but they’re not mushy and overdone.
- Once the broccoli is cooked, set it aside to cool slightly. Do the same for the sweet potatoes when they come out of the oven.
- In the same mixing bowl as before, combine the mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar, then stir in the minced onion and apples.
- Add the cooked and slightly cooled broccoli and sweet potatoes to the mixing bowl and fold all the ingredients together with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Do this carefully so the broccoli and sweet potatoes don’t get mushy.
- Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, if desired.
- Garnish with bacon and optional chopped nuts.
- Enjoy! Serve warm or at room temperature. If you have leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not reheat leftovers (because of the mayonnaise), eat the salad cold.
I highly recommend From the Farmer for anyone who’s like me in that you’re too lazy or busy to go to the grocery store sometimes, and enjoy fresh, crisp produce in season from local farmers! Plus, um, hello. DISCOUNT people. Here’s that code again: “REALFOODDANA50“ for 50% off your first two deliveries when you sign up!