Broccoli was ridiculously cheap at my local market this week. Beautiful, too – tight green florets, crisp stalks, fresh-cut stems dripping with moisture. So, as most seasonal eaters do, I squirreled a few heads into my shopping basket without further thought as to what I’d do with them. They went straight into the vegetable drawer.
Cue yesterday afternoon when, in search of an avocado, I rediscovered my cruciferous hoard. I decided to turn some of it into ‘dinner’ but had little enthusiasm for my default roasted broccoli with garlic. I decided upon a salad, with initial thoughts gravitating towards this pomegranate wonder from Green Kitchen Stories. However, as pomegranates were $5 each at the supermarket, the idea became slightly less appealing (whilst also quietly defeating my seasonal locavore principles).
That brings us to this gloriously spicy, crunchy, nutrient packed bowl of green deliciousness that I’ve loosely dubbed as ‘tabbouleh’ (hopefully the Levantines will forgive me). I’m sure that most of you would be familiar with traditional tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern salad packed with fragrant herbs, tomatoes, lemon juice, finely chopped onion and cracked wheat (known as burghul or ‘bulgur‘). I think I first came across it at a kebab stand as a young teenager, when I declined to have it applied to doner (my idea of ‘salad’ was iceberg lettuce and tomato).
I’ve since learned the error of my ways and enjoy tabbouleh in all its forms, both for nutritional and taste benefits. I’ve swapped out the bulgur for either quinoa or cous cous on a number of occasions and added a few crushed pistachios, however this is my first proper ‘reinvention’. The base of this salad is a rough tumble of finely chopped broccoli and quinoa, with familiar herbs, onions and lemon drawing reference from tabbouleh. Crumbled feta adds creaminess whilst toasted almonds add a welcome crunch.
For me, the harissa dressing is the stuff of dreams: hot, smoky and slightly sweet from the addition of honey. I’d recommend that you taste and adjust your dressing to suit your personal heat tolerance.
I like to serve this salad on its own, with a big dollop of lemony hummus, for a complete lunch. For dinner, I’d push the boat out with some additional crispy falafel, pickled radishes, natural yoghurt and warmed flat bread. Broccoli and Quinoa Tabbouleh with Harissa Dressing Adapted from this recipe by BBC Food.
- 100g quinoa, rinsed (I used black and red, but any colour will do)
- 300g broccoli florets (don’t throw the stems away, take a look at these gorgeous ideas), very finely chopped or finely blitzed in a food processor
- 4 spring onion stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, zested and halved*
- 100g feta cheese (the creamy type, I use goats feta), crumbled
- large bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
- small bunch mint, washed and finely chopped
- 50g toasted almonds, roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp harissa paste (maybe start with a little less, mix, taste and add as desired)
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- juice from 1/2 lemon (above*)
Add the quinoa to a medium saucepan with 1 1/4 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, then add the broccoli and continue to cook until the quinoa is tender and the broccoli steamed until bright green (you may need to add a splash more water before replacing the lid, do not allow the pot to boil dry).
Tip the broccoli and quinoa mix into a large bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Mix, then set aside to cool slightly. When at room temperature, add the herbs, spring onions, lemon zest and a good amount of salt and pepper. Set aside whilst you make the dressing.
Add all of the dressing ingredients to a medium screw-top jar. Shake, then check the balance of flavours (add a little more honey if too hot, a little more lemon if too viscous, a little more harissa if the heat’s not enough for you). Pour over the quinoa mix, add the crumbled feta and almonds, then mix thoroughly. Taste and check for seasoning. Serves 4-6 as a side dish (though I would happily eat it all myself!).