Roasted broccoli Caesar salad

Use your airfryer or oven for vegetable perfection!

I’ve always had a thing for roasted vegetables but recently I’ve come to realize they are not only delicious, they’re super versatile too. Adding a tangy Caesar dressing plus generous sprinklings of Parmesan and fried panko (in lieu of croutons) takes roasted broccoli to the next level. If you are a fan of switching things up from the classic romaine-based Caesar salad, you might also like my Brussels sprouts Caesar salad or my vegan Caesar salad made with kale.

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 2 large heads broccoli (approximately 1.3 lbs or 600 g once trimmed and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
  • Few pinches salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup panko (30 g) or gluten-free dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (45 g) freshly grated parmesan

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste or fish sauce (omit for vegan version)
  • Few pinches salt and pepper

Method

  • Preheat air fryer to 390F or oven to 425F. Wash broccoli then cut off stems. Peel stems then slice lengthwise into batons about 2 inches (5 cm) long x 1/3 inch (.6 cm) thick. Cut florets into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Place broccoli in a bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil; toss to coat evenly.
  • Transfer broccoli to air fryer basket or rimmed baking sheet (reserving the bowl it was in); sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Set a timer for 10 minutes if air frying; 15 minutes if oven roasting – you’ll be tossing or stirring the broccoli at that time.
  • While broccoli roasts, heat 2 teaspoons (10 mL) olive oil in a small skillet. When it is warm, add panko and cook, stirring often, for 3 – 4 minutes until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove pan from heat and transfer panko to a clean bowl.
  • Also while broccoli roasts, make dressing. Put 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the olive oil and the minced garlic in a microwave safe vessel. Microwave on medium high power for about 30 to 40 seconds until the oil is just beginning to bubble. Let sit until oil has cooled to room temperature. You can put it in the fridge to speed things up if you like.
  • Note that if you don’t mind the flavour of raw garlic you can skip the above step.
  • Put lemon juice, rice vinegar, Dijon, anchovy paste or fish sauce, salt and pepper plus cooled garlic and olive oil in a vessel that’s suitable for use with an immersion blender. Blend to combine. Alternatively, you can vigorously whisk the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Put the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a vessel from which you can pour very slowly. I use a measuring cup with a spout.
  • With the blender running, add the oil very very very slowly to the lemon and vinegar mixture. It should be almost a drop at a time of oil. It should take you about 3-4 minutes to add it in this way, which will ensure the dressing thickens and stays well-emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set aside.
  • When broccoli is tender and edges are beginning to char (about 13-5 minutes in the air fryer, tossing once at the 10 minute mark / 20–25 minutes in the oven, tossing at the 15 minute mark), remove from oven and return to the bowl you used to prepare it before cooking. Drizzle dressing evenly over top, tossing gently to combine. Transfer broccoli to a serving platter or broad, shallow bowl.
  • Sprinkle toasted panko evenly over broccoli then scatter grated parmesan over top. Serve hot.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side dish.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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