The Chef Of NYC's Vegan Hot Spot Shares THE Most Delicious Way To Eat Broccoli

Photo by Martí Sans

Every now and then, a chef comes along who changes the healthy-food game. Brooks Headley, the founder of Manhattan hot spot Superiority Burger, has taken his fine-dining skills and applied them to unapologetically vegan fast-casual fare. The James Beard Award winner is known for in-your-face flavors that elevate vegetables to crave-worthy dishes—case in point, this Burnt Broccoli Salad, from the Superiority Burger Cookbook. "This was our first salad," Headley says. "It’s on the main menu and never leaves. There are multiple steps, but the end result is worth it." The crispy blackened broccoli with the bright acid, delicate sweetness, and spicy peppers is a revelation—one bite, and you'll understand the perpetual line in front of Headley's East Village hot spot.

Burnt Broccoli Salad

serves 6


  • 2 bunches broccoli, florets separated from the stems, stems peeled and shaved lengthwise on a mandoline
  • 2 Fresno chiles, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Coriander Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Eggplant Puree (recipe below)
  • Candied Cashews (recipe below)


  1. Heat a dry medium cast-iron skillet over high heat. Cook the broccoli florets, tossing occasionally, until the surfaces are blackened, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and let cool.
  2. Toss the chiles, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Let sit for a few minutes, until the juices release, then add the white wine vinegar.
  3. To serve, toss the charred broccoli florets, the broccoli stems, and ½ cup of the coriander vinaigrette in a large bowl. Serve over the eggplant puree topped with chopped candied cashews, cilantro leaves, and drained Fresno chiles.
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Coriander Vinaigrette

Makes 2 cups


  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Finely grind the coriander seeds in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle.
  2. Mix the ground-up seeds with the water in a medium bowl. Add the rice wine vinegar and lime juice and mix to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
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Eggplant Puree

Makes 2 cups


  • 2 Japanese eggplants
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon smooth tahini


  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet with the skin directly touching the pan. Drizzle a little olive oil over the inner flesh and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook the eggplants in the oven until lightly browned and fully tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Put the eggplants, including the skin, into the bowl of a food processor (or use an immersion blender). Add the malt vinegar, maple syrup, and tahini to the bowl. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper as needed. If the puree is too thick, add a little water and blend a bit more.
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Candied Cashews

Makes 2 cups


  • 2 cups roasted unsalted cashews
  • 3 tablespoons simple syrup
  • ½ cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss the cashews with the simple syrup in a medium bowl until lightly coated. There should not be liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Sprinkle the sugar and salt all over the nuts and toss to coat. Spread the nuts out into a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake until the cashews begin to toast and the sugar becomes glossy, about 15 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop. This method of simple syrup and turbinado sugar and salt can be used for candying just about anything—sunflower seeds, coconut, corn chips, etc.

Based on excerpts from Superiority Burger Cookbook by Brooks Headley, with the permission of W. W. Norton & Company. Copyright © 2018.

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