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
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
- Chilli flakes
- Lemon zest
- More cheese, if you like
- 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.
- 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.
- Keep the pan on the hob, add the pasta and cook according to label instructions.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.