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Maldon march 1 edit melissa hemsley
Melissa Hemsley with her spring vegetable bowlImage courtesy of Maldon Salt

Spring vegetable bowl

This recipe from Melissa Hemsley is perfect for lunch.


Forget boring sandwiches or tired leftovers - Melissa Hemsley's spring vegetable bowl is the perfect lunch dish to try this week and we guarantee you already have most of the ingredients at home.

"I love a ‘no waste’ pesto-y type sauce from the broccoli stems with garlic, lemon and a generous pinch of Maldon Salt and tossing it through a hearty bowl of other cupboard favourites like a tin of beans and a few handfuls of cooked pasta. This takes 20 minutes to make and is packed full of flavour and makes great use of broccoli stems and herb stalks! I know we all love soups so if you add 200ml of hot stock, you can have this as a more brothy bowl or have it saucy and thick just like this. When asparagus comes into season next month, this is really tasty with a mix of broccoli and asparagus too." - Melissa Hemsley

Serves 2


For the bowl:

  • 1 x 400g tin beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 handfuls uncooked pasta, your favourite type
  • 300g purple sprouting broccoli or regular broccoli
  • Pinch flaky sea salt 

For the broccoli ‘pesto’ sauce:

  • 30g toasted pine nuts, walnuts or your favourite seeds
  • 30g fresh basil, stalks included - this is also delicious with a mix of parsley and basil 
  • Handful grated hard cheese, Parmesan or pecorino
  • 1 big garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 lemon, juiced and a little zest
  • Pinch flaky sea salt
  • Black pepper  

To serve:

  • Chilli flakes
  • Lemon zest
  • More cheese, if you like 


  1. Start by toasting the pine nuts or walnuts in a small frying pan for about 1.5 minutes on each side until golden and fragrant. I recommend not skipping this step as worth it for the extra flavour. Tip half the pine nuts in a blender or food processor and keep the rest aside for garnishing Pop the rest of the pesto ingredients in the blender or food processor, but don't blitz just yet.
  2. Bring a medium pan of salted boiling water to the boil and add the purple sprouting broccoli to simmer for 3 minutes until just tender then immediately remove and transfer to a bowl.  
  3. Keep the pan on the hob, add the pasta and cook according to label instructions.
  4. Use scissors or a knife to chop off the bottom half of the broccoli stems and put the stems straight into the blender and blitz until you get a thick pesto type sauce. Taste for seasoning and if very thick, add a splash of the pasta cooking water.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and reserve half a mug of pasta water. Mix the drained beans or chickpeas into the hot pasta to heat through and add 3-4 tablespoons of the broccoli pesto.
  6. Serve topped with the broccoli stems and the rest of the toasted nuts plus some chilli flakes, lemon zest and extra cheese if you like. Keep the extra pesto in a sterilised jar with a lid and drizzle some extra olive oil on top - it will keep for five days.

Image courtesy of Maldon Salt
Image courtesy of Maldon Salt

Recipe by Melissa Hemsley for Maldon Salt. Self-taught cook Melissa Hemsley is well known for her cookbooks 'Eat Green' and 'Eat Happy', as well as being one half of the culinary duo Hemsley + Hemsley with her sister Jasmine. To see out more about Melissa, click here