***Updated on April 24, 2016: I had been wanting to update Ruth Gracie’s version for a while, to see how close it was to Whole Foods. This time, I hand chopped everything, instead of using my food processor. I left the broccoli in large pieces and kept the red bell pepper, even though Whole Foods salad doesn’t include it. The only other differences from Whole Foods was that I switched the raisins for currants, changed the onion to purple and I used peanuts, whereas WF now uses roasted cashews. Whether you are a Mr. Peanut fan, or have a love affair with cashews, both taste amazing. You can’t go wrong. Except for the price. 1 cup of the Whole Foods salad costs about $4. A gigantic bowl of the updated Ruthie Grace salad costs about $12. Stays fresh in the fridge for several days in a sealed container.
April 22, 2013:
The other day I was at Whole Foods and saw a lovely chopped broccoli salad in their deli case. I had them scoop up a bit for me and was on my merry way. When I got home and had a big bite of it, I realized it was something I had tasted before. The WF version had large pieces of broccoli with long strips of purple onion and whole peanuts, but waaaaaay back in the recesses of my mind, I recalled my mom serving this salad. It was yet another one of her bizarre concoctions where the thought of the separate ingredients all lumped together sounded atrocious, but once lovingly put together in a large bowl and marinated with the glue-that-brings-everything-together called mayonnaise, was just about the best tasting thing ever.
It’s salty, it’s sweet, it’s crunchy, it’s tangy, it’s creamy, it’s fresh and above all, it’s surprising.
And it is a whole heck of a lot like the Whole Foods version, but doesn’t cost your Whole Paycheck to make it.
My grandma wrote at the bottom that it could all be chopped up in a food processor, so that’s what I did. Did the broccoli come out more chopped than anticipated? Yes, it did, but that didn’t stop me! I thought to myself that if I could throw everything into the food processor to chop it up (separately, of course), this would be the easiest salad on the planet to make. And guess what? It was.
Broccoli…’1 lg. pkg’? Huh? I grabbed 2 large trees of broccoli and went for it. I cut off little bunches and chopped them in the processor in two batches…very carefully.
Not sure what ‘carefully’ meant, so I pulsed them a few times and they ended up looking like this. I continued to throw in the 1/2 of onion, then the peanuts, the raisins and the red bell pepper. All separately. All on pulse.
And then there was the bacon. I don’t know about you, but I totally stink at frying up bacon. I get grease EVERYWHERE. I get in on my glasses (the ones on my face), the stove, my clothes, the cat. It’s a total mess and inevitably sets off the smoke alarm. I LOVE bacon, but I HATE making it. Until I discovered the oven method. You know how it is, you discover something that changes your life and you immediately want to tell everyone about it. (To which they promptly point out that the oven baking method has been carefully described on the back of bacon packages for years. Sigh.) Well, if you are like me, here is your newly discovered method that will change your life: Less-Mess Bacon instructions.
Now that you have your non-messy bacon, put it in the processor and chop! chop!
Throw everything into a bowl. It will look something like this.
Mix it up and get ready for the dressing! Whip the dressing together, (all 3 ingredients of it) and mix it with the salad until it is well distributed.
Now, Ruth Gracie claimed it served 30 people with an ice cream scoop. That scooper would have had to have been the size of a melon baller. I would say it serves 15-20 as a lovely side dish. Personally, just give me spoon, because with all that bacon, broccoli, peanuts and dressing, I have a well-rounded meal.
And if you were wondering, my Aunt Patricia is the genealogist in the family, so I’m waiting on her to find out who Ruth Gracie is. Maybe I should send her this post…
Ruth Gracie’s Broccoli Salad
- 3 broccoli crowns, finely chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup peanuts, chopped
- 1 cup raisins, chopped
- 1/2 lb. bacon, crispy-crumbled
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbs. sugar
- 1 tbs. vinegar
- Chop up all ingredients.
- In separate bowl, mix mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar.
- Combine with salad.
- Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.