Until I got quite ill with eczema and had to rethink the way my family and I ate, cous-cous, pasta and rice featured regularly at meal-times in our home. Although I made everything from scratch, there weren’t any food groups that I really avoided. We loved breads, pastries and Middle-Eastern salads like tabbouleh, Italian pasta dishes as well as more paleo-friendly fish and meat dishes. Things got a little complicated when we switched to the GAPS/PALEO diet. This got even more complicated when we approached traditional fasting periods which we as a family, would follow. Eliminating meat, eggs and fish all of a sudden doesn’t leave you with much else.
Our family is in the middle of such a period right now and I was chatting with a friend yesterday, who lamented her lack of inspiration for family-friendly, tasty vegan meals. Even though most people don’t follow traditional church fasting periods anymore, I find that more and more choose to follow vegetarian or vegan diets, whether medically imposed or driven by ethical motivations. Several of my close friends now have at least one ‘converted’ member of their family following a vegetarian or vegan diet and consequently are always on the look-out for plant-based meals and sides which can either stand alone or complement the rest of the family’s protein-based meal.
I found this recipe in Pete Evan’s ‘Fast Food for Busy Families’, which I’ve tweaked by simply adding extra ingredients on hand. It is simply delicious. Something different as a mid-week side and because the broccoli is pulsed raw, it’s ‘tough’ enough to withstand the acidity of the dressing, (unlike salad which wilts so quickly), so it can easily survive a day in the fridge once it’s dressed or even make it into the following day’s school lunch box. Win-win for busy families.
- 1-2 washed broccoli heads, depending on size ( broccoli, along with other greens is one of the veggies I insist on buying organic/chemical-free. If this isn’t possible try soaking it in water with some ACV (apple cider vinegar) to help absorb some of these chemicals). I am making up a batch of this salad this afternoon and will add some broccolini stalks from the garden to the mix too.
- 2-4 diced tomatoes or punnet of diced cherry tomatoes (recipe calls for them to be de-seeded but I don’t think I’ve ever bothered).
- 1-2 diced lebanese cucumbers
- few large handsful of chopped parsley (I like to save the stalks for my green juices).
- 1/2-1 red onion, diced (depends how onion-y you like it).
- a few spring onions, finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- toasted sesame seeds (to serve, optional)
I like to add, if I have them ready on hand, other herbs from the garden. I find lemon-balm, mint and coriander add fabulous flavour to the salad. I have also added other veggies for their crunch, like capsicum and even hot red radishes. This is a fabulous ‘clearing-out-the-fridge’ or ‘scrounging-in-the-garden’ salad but looks and tastes like something which takes a lot more effort and preparation.
- a few peeled garlic cloves (depending on how much you like garlic).
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 100 mls extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Place washed and dried broccoli in food processor and pulse until it resembles largish rice grains, then transfer to a large salad bowl.
- Stir through remainder of the ingredients and set aside while you make the lemon garlic dressing.
- Pete, as the wonderful, professional chef that he is, pounds his garlic with a pinch of salt to form a thick paste. He then adds the lemon juice and EVOO and mixes well. I must admit that I’ve never used a mortar and pestle for this dressing but crush garlic and mix all of the ingredients in an empty jam jar, which I then mix through the salad a good 10 minutes or so before serving. This allows the salad to take on the lovely, tangy flavours.
Bon appétit! If you enjoy this recipe, please subscribe to follow and receive more recipes directly in your inbox. Please also let me know how you go and have a wonderful week!