Serving you an explosion of umami flavours. This crunchy broccolini salad mixed with earthy mushrooms and caramelised roasted garlic together with a sweet-savoury teriyaki salad dressing is something you need to try now.
Why You’ll Love Broccolini Salad
We are big fans of broccolini in our house. I find it much easier to get my kids to eat broccolini compared to broccoli. The milder sweet taste and the longer stalks seem to keep them happy.
Plus, it is such a versatile vegetable! It goes well with so many dishes and flavours.
As much as you don’t normally think of broccolini in a salad, it works very well. Broccolini is not like other green vegetables where it might wilt when cooked or get mushy when dressed in salad dressing. It still retains its shape and crunch when cooked.
I have taken an Asian twist with this Broccolini Salad by using a sweet umami teriyaki salad dressing plus mixing classic Asian flavours such as garlic and chilli.
Combining fresh crunchy broccolini, earthy mushrooms, buttery pine nuts, pops of chilli with smokey roasted garlic smashed throughout, this Broccolini Salad takes everyday ingredients to the next level.
What is Broccolini?
What you might think it is baby broccoli due to the appearance, broccolini is not. Broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli, gai lan.
You get the florets of broccolini attached to the longer tender stems and leaves like gai lan. The result, a milder and somewhat sweeter vegetable that you can eat from head to stalk.
You may also mistake broccolini with broccoli rabe as they are also similar in appearance. However, broccoli rabi is more bitter in flavour and belongs in the turnip family versus the broccolini, which belongs in the brassica family, along with cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
When Is Broccolini In Season?
We find broccolini pretty much all year round now, but the peak season for this delicious vegetable are the cooler winter months.
Can You Eat Broccolini Raw?
Broccolini is a very versatile ingredient as it can be sautéed, steamed, stir-fried, grilled and roasted. Whilst broccolini can be eaten raw, it is sweeter and tender when cooked.
To eat raw broccolini, I would suggest slicing it on a diagonal thinly versus just eating the whole stem as is.
How to Cook Broccolini
Broccolini is very easy to cook. There isn’t a lot of prep involved other than a trim of the stalks. The balance of smaller florets and thinner stalks makes it easier to cook through more evenly than broccoli.
One of my favourite ways to cook broccolini is roasting it. The slightly burnt bits of the florets and leaves adds a smokey flavour to tender stalks.
Alternatively is to sauté in the pan and serve with ginger and chilli, just like Chinese broccoli.
A simple blanch in hot water and toss in olive oil and a good pinch of salt is probably the quickest way to serve this delicious green vegetable.
And as much as we don’t always think of including broccolini in a salad, it is a fantastic way to give your everyday salad different textures and flavours.
Flavour/Texture: There is a pleasant crunch to the salad even though most of the main ingredients are cooked. Quickly boiled broccolini is tender but still retains its crunchy bite.
I love balancing the broccolini with soft pan fried mushrooms, creamy roasted garlic, pine nuts and hot chilli slices. All are adding their interesting textures to the mix.
The teriyaki salad dressing gives the salad a sweet, savoury finish with a hint of ginger.
Ease: There are a few steps in creating the salad but nothing too complicated. Roasting whole garlic may be new to some but easy to achieve.
Time: The longest part of the recipe will be roasting the whole garlic. You can prepare the other ingredients whilst the garlic is in the oven.
Garlic: Choose a whole garlic that has a tight bulb and not bruised or damaged.
Olive oil: Good quality olive oil for brushing garlic for roasting and to pan fry the mushrooms.
Broccolini: Broccolini is generally available all year round now, but it is best during the winter months. When selecting broccolini for salad, I prefer bunches that don’t have overly thick stalks.
Mushrooms: For this recipe, I liked using Portobello mushrooms and Swiss brown mushrooms for their different sizes and shapes. However, you can choose any type of mushroom that is available. White button or even king oyster mushrooms would work too.
Chilli: I like adding contrasting flavours to salads. The chilli is this recipe will add enough heat to give it a kick but not overpowering.
Pine nuts: One of my favourite nuts to use in cooking! Pine nuts add extra crunch but also a buttery edge to the salad. Just try not to eat the whole packet while preparing other ingredients (like me).
Light soy sauce: Quintessential in Asian cooking, soy sauce is a flavourful sauce made from fermented soybeans. For a gluten free option, you can use tamari.
Brown sugar: Teriyaki salad dressing has a sweet component, so I prefer to use brown sugar as brown sugar creates a deep caramel sweetness. A perfect balance with soy sauce.
Mirin: Mirin is similar to sake but a little more subtle with less alcohol content and higher sugar levels. It adds a distinct sweet umami flavour to many classic Japanese dishes.
Rice wine vinegar: one of the essential vinegars to have in the pantry, especially for Asian salad dressings. Compared to white vinegar, rice wine vinegar is less acidic with a milder, sweeter flavour.
Sesame oil: The aroma of sesame oil is second to none. It adds a nutty fragrance to the overall balance of the dressing.
Ginger: Using grated ginger in the dressing adds a little heat and aromatic flavours to the teriyaki salad dressing.
How To Roast Whole Garlic
Roasting garlic changes it completely. From a harsh, pungent raw vegetable, garlic transforms to a sweet, creamy and soft finish when you roast in the oven.
This is my favourite way to eat garlic. I always add a few cloves of garlic to all my roast vegetables. Squeezing out the soft sweet flesh at the end is so satisfying.
If you like roasted garlic, you have to try Amy’s Baby Bell Peppers Salad with Roasted Garlic.
Preheat oven to 200°C or 400°F.
Cut the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.
Brush with ½ tsp olive oil and place in a muffin tray. If you don’t have a muffin tray, you can wrap the garlic in foil.
Place in oven and roast for 40 minutes.
The garlic is done when the cloves are soft when pierced with a skewer or small knife. The top of the garlic bulb would also turn a golden brown colour. If there are some charred black bits, that is fine too, as the caramelisation adds to flavour.
Once ready, remove from oven and set aside to cool down.
How to prepare the Salad
Whilst the garlic is roasting in the oven, bring a medium sized pot of water to the boil.
Trim broccolini stalks at the bottom and then cut each stem on the diagonal into 3 cm lengths.
Once the water is boiled, add chopped broccolini and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain from water and place in an ice bath to stop further cooking.
Remove from ice bath and shake dry.
Wash and slice portobello and Swiss brown mushrooms.
Heat a medium sized fry-pan and add 1 tbsp of olive oil.
Place mushrooms in pan and sautè until they turn soft. Remove from heat and set aside to assemble.
Cut chilli into thin rounds.
How To Prepare The Salad Dressing
In a small mixing bowl, add soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.
Mix until brown sugar is fully dissolved.
Grate approximately 2 cm ginger to yield 1 tablespoon of grated ginger into the salad dressing.
Stir well to combine.
How To Assemble The Salad
Using a fork, pick out roasted garlic cloves from the garlic skin.
In a large mixing bowl, place broccolini, mushrooms, roasted garlic cloves, ½ chilli and ½ the pinenuts together.
Drizzle with teriyaki salad dressing and toss together.
You can gently mash the roasted garlic whilst you are tossing the salad. This will further release its flavour and cover the broccolini and mushrooms with a light layer of roasted garlic.
Tumble onto a large serving plate.
Scatter with remaining pine nuts and chilli.
Variations and Substitutions
Main meal vs side salad: You can serve this salad as a main meal or side dish.
As a main meal, serve it with a bowl of steamed rice or cold soba noodles. The salad does not need to be served warm. It works perfectly at room temperature.
As this Broccolini Salad has Asian flavours to the salad dressing, I would pair it with Asian style mains. It would work well as a side salad for miso glazed salmon, honey soy grilled chicken, or stir fry beef dish.
Broccolini substitution: If you can not find broccolini, you can use broccoli as a substitution. I would cut the broccoli into small florets and trim the stalks into small match sticks so there is no wastage.
Nut free option: You can omit the pine nuts for a nut free option.
Reduce roasted garlic: If you have guests who are not big fans of garlic, you can add half of the roasted garlic to the salad and leave the other half in a bowl on the side. This way, if people would like more roasted garlic, they can add more.
Mirin substitute: If you don’t have mirin in your pantry, you can substitute it with a dry white wine. Alternatively, you can omit it in the dressing if you don’t have either.
Great Mains for This Salad
Grilled Asian Pork Tenderloin: This recipe is marinated in a delicious blend of ginger, garlic, and soy sauce and the cooked on the grill for a healthy and tasty meal. The garlic and ginger flavours in the pork marinade pair perfectly with the teriyaki flavours in the salad. Serve it over top or on the side.
Burnt Garlic Fried Rice: Browned garlic is tossed with rice, and colourful veggies giving tons of flavour. Irresistibly delicious and gets done in 20 minutes. The perfect accompaniment for this broccolini salad.
Chilean Sea Bass: This pan seared Chilean sea bass is flavoured with a delicious Asian marinade of soy sauce, ginger, and mirin. It’s perfectly pan fried until it’s flaky and tender with an incredibly crispy skin! The flavours all work incredible well with the broccolini salad with mushrooms.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can easily transport this salad with all components mixed together.
Yes, you can prepare ahead of time. It will work as a meal prep lunch item as well. All items can be mixed ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a couple of days.
When selecting garlic, look for plump bulbs with unbroken skin. The garlic should feel heavy for their size and not light, as this could be a sign that the cloves are starting to dry up. Avoid garlic heads that have soft spots or that are sprouting.
Garlic can keep for a while if stored in a cool room temperature area. Avoid any dampness in the space.
When choosing your broccolini, look for bunches that have fresh bases and not dried out. The stems should be firm, and the florets are tight and green with no flowering.
You can store broccolini in the fridge in a tightly sealed bag for up to 1 week
I loved mixing the sweet, savoury flavours of the teriyaki salad dressing with very simple everyday ingredients to create a delicious broccolini salad.
The earthy mushrooms against the crunchy broccolini mashed together with the smokey roasted garlic is a match made in heaven. Umami explosion happening right on your plate.
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Broccolini Salad with Mushrooms
- 1 garlic, whole
- 1½ tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 bunch broccolini
- 300 g mushrooms, Portobello and Swiss brown
- 1 chilli, red
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Cut the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves. Brush with ½ tsp olive oil and place in oven, and roast for 40 minutes.
- Trim broccolini stalks and slice each stem on the diagonal into 3 cm lengths. Add chopped broccolini and blanch in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Drain from water and place in an ice bath to stop further cooking. Remove from ice bath and shake dry.
- Wash and slice Portobello and Swiss brown mushrooms. Heat a medium sized fry-pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Sauté mushrooms until they turn soft.
- Cut chilli into thin rounds.
- In a small mixing bowl, add soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.
- Mix until brown sugar is fully dissolved.
- Grate approximately 1 tbsp ginger into the salad dressing.
- Stir well to combine.
- Using a fork, pick out roasted garlic cloves from the garlic skin.
- In a large mixing bowl, place broccolini, mushrooms, roasted garlic cloves, ½ chilli and ½ the pine nuts together.
- Drizzle with teriyaki salad dressing and toss together.
- Tumble onto a large serving plate.
- Scatter with remaining pine nuts and chilli and serve.
- You can use broccoli as a substitution for broccolini in this recipe. Cut the broccoli into small florets and trim the stalks into small match sticks so there is no wastage.
- Omit the pine nuts for a nut free option.
- Those who prefer less garlic, add half of the roasted garlic in the salad and leave the other half in a bowl on the side.
- Substitute mirin with a dry white wine. Alternatively, you can omit it in the dressing if you don’t have either.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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