When it comes to meal planning, I find the vegetable side dish to be the most difficult to find because they are the least “sexy” aspect of a menu. Main dish? Easy to find. A salad? No problem. Even a starch has the allure of a good cheese sauce or the bright pop of quinoa. But when it comes to a veggie, all bets are off. Oh sure, you can always make brussels sprouts in the autumn and winter, and spring has an abundance of asparagus, but even those get boring after a while.
So when all else fails, I go for the old reliable broccoli; it tastes great, can be served at room temperature, and goes with just about any type of meal.
For example, this dish was created when I needed something to go with an Asian inspired meal I was serving. I had already picked the main dish, the salad, and the starch, but what to serve as the vegetable? Then I remembered that I had once had steamed broccoli with a sesame dipping sauce at a sushi restaurant I frequented. The fresh sweet snap of the broccoli went perfectly with the earthy tang of the dipping sauce. So I recreated it at home and it was a total hit at my dinner party! And the best part is it can all be made in advance.
Broccoli With Sesame Dipping Sauce
- 1-2 heads of broccoli. I used "baby" broccoli from Trader Joes because I liked the long stems.
- ½ cup mayo
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- Cut the broccoli into florets. Steam for 3-5 minutes until tender, but be sure not to overcook it. When finished, drain the broccoli and plunge into an ice water bath. This stops the broccoli from continuing to cook, plus it helps keep the bright green vibrant color.
- In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and soy sauce. It should be well balanced but on the sweet side and not too salty or tangy. The nutty flavor of the toasted sesame oil should shine through.
- I serve the broccoli with the dip on the side, but you can also toss the broccoli with the dressing and serve like a salad.
- The dipping sauce can be made up to days in advance, and the broccoli can be steamed up to 8 hours before serving. You can even try cooking it the day before and keeping it in the fridge, but there is always the possibility of browning, so be careful.
- Serves 4-6