Take advantage of broccoli and cauliflower available now at your local farmer’s markets to make this recipe for Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower with Lemon-Tahini Drizzle. The hot sun will soon wipe out these plants! This recipe is simple, fresh, and worth the 20-30 minutes of preparation time! Have a picky eater in the family who claims to not eat broccoli? Try preparing this roasted version for them – I am confident this will challenge them to think twice before refusing broccoli again! Roasting vegetables can be magical and bring out a whole new world of opportunities.
I am pleased to welcome Amy, an aspiring Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, to join me for this post. Amy is a champion of local farmers and farmer’s markets and she has a contagious enthusiasm for preparing delicious plant-based recipes. Amy has chosen to spend her concentration rotation with me at Ingrained for her dietetic internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, my alma mater! Amy has written some excellent tips for us in this post about growing and cooking her favorite cruciferous vegetables — broccoli and cauliflower. Amy, take it away!
It is officially springtime and there is so much new life to see all around us! Before the heat of summer sets in, we get to enjoy so many vegetables in season. Two of my all-time favorites are the cruciferous vegetables broccoli and cauliflower. They can be used together or interchangeably in recipes. They also absorb other flavors well, making them very versatile vegetables!
My husband and I have proudly grown a small plot of vegetables for the past two years since moving in to our home in Brentwood, TN. Cauliflower and broccoli have been a new gardening adventure for us, and we have been ecstatic with our yield for year one. We have learned that cauliflower will sadly only produce one head per plant, while broccoli, however, will grow side shoots. These side shoots can keep producing more heads of broccoli, so you never want to pull the whole plant after harvesting the first head. (It seems too good to be true!) Broccoli and cauliflower both prefer full sun, moist soil, and a warm, but not hot, climate. They grow best in spring and fall. If you have a garden, these plants do grow large and take up some valuable real-estate, but the investment is well worth the vegetables you will reap.
Eat the whole plant!
Both cauliflower and broccoli can be fully consumed, meaning we don’t have to “waste” any of the plant! The stems and leaves both have potential to add more nutrients and fiber to your meal. The leaves are tough, but are great steamed or thrown into a stir fry. I “spiralize” my broccoli stems into “broccoli noodles” and then top with a spicy peanut sauce. I love my vegetable spiralizer, found here, and use it weekly in the warm months to prepare fresh vegetables. These spiralizers are also great for making zucchini or cucumber noodles, curly sweet potato fries, or even apple spirals.
This recipe below is one of my go-to favorites whenever these two vegetables are on hand. Broccoli and cauliflower don’t last long in our house. Our intensely growing parsley plant (that we can barely keep up with) comes in handy — it receives some much-needed pruning to go in to this dish. Don’t like the taste of parsley? Try fresh cilantro instead for equally great results! The fresh herbs really bring out all the other flavors in this dish — the sour lemon juice, the creamy tahini, and the pop of flavor from the lemon zest.
Tahini? What is that?
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and it is one of the essential ingredients in hummus. Sesame seeds have a nutty taste and are commonly found sprinkled atop hamburger buns. They can be tiny off-white, black, yellow, or red (off white is the typical color that we find here in the US). For such a tiny seed, sesame seeds boast of an impressive nutrient lineup, including calcium, copper, manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber! I either buy natural tahini or make it myself in my Vitamix blender. To make homemade tahini, you need only two ingredients: sesame seeds and olive oil. For a simple homemade tahini recipe, visit this site.
I make a large batch of this irresistible sauce, and keep it in the refrigerator, just in case more cauliflower or broccoli sneak in to the house! The trick for getting the consistency right for the sauce is to shake it very well, ensuring there are no clumps from the tahini and to incorporate the vital lemon zest all throughout. Personally, I have always thought tahini gives off a little bitter “bite” which also pairs well with a sweet taste, making tahini so versatile. Tahini is also an excellent wholesome addition to cookies, such as this recipe for Honey Tahini Almond Cookies.
Time saving tips
Pre-cut your veggies ahead of time, add them to a container along with a paper towel, and keep them sealed in the refrigerator until dinner time. (They should keep for 3-4 days once cut.) If you are in a rush for dinner, you can always pick up a bag of pre-cut broccoli and cauliflower florets at the grocery store to use in this dish.
Seem to never have fresh lemons on hand? Keep several lemons in the freezer, and bring out for zesting purposes. Frozen lemons zest so easily, to many people’s surprise, and lemon zest can transform a dish from good to amazing just like that.
Vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate are the superstars in broccoli and cauliflower. Both cruciferous veggies have anti-cancer effects. These vegetables are nutrient dense foods, low in calories, high in fiber and phytonutrients. These phytonutrients decrease inflammation, which leads to improved heart health, brain function, and a healthy weight.
This recipe would make an excellent side dish to accompany a lemon roasted chicken and potatoes. You can also bulk it up into a hearty main dish by adding cooked chickpeas, steamed kale, roasted sweet potatoes, and quinoa.
This dressing recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for future use! Store in a glass jar with lid and shake well before re-using. Depending on your preference, you may only want it lightly dressed, while I prefer this dressing to saturate the veggies! Sprinkle generously with fresh parsley or cilantro and serve warm or at room temperature.
The Lemon-Tahini drizzle is optional! Roasted vegetables are delicious in their own right. Vegetable purists may prefer to skip this flavor enhancement. In fact, when Bethany tried it on her “Little Farmers”, many of them preferred the roasted vegetables plain (and then they added the Lemon-Tahini Drizzle to their brown rice!)
- Roasted vegetables:
- 1 Large head of fresh, raw cauliflower cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 Large head of fresh, raw broccoli-cut into bite sized pieces
- 1-2 Tablespoons of organic expeller pressed coconut oil, or a high heat oil of your choice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Small bunch of fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
- Lemon tahini dressing:
- 2 Fresh lemons, juiced, seeds removed (about 2 tablespoons of juice)
- 1 Tablespoon of tahini
- Zest from one lemon (about __ tablespoons of zest)
- 1 Teaspoon of olive oil
- 1-2 Garlic cloves, minced (depending on how you like garlic- Amy uses two cloves, Bethany omits!)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400˚ F.
- Toss broccoli and cauliflower in melted coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until golden, about 20 minutes, finding the balance between the vegetables being cooked but not overly crisped or wilted. (Although we are roasting, we want to maintain the nutrient integrity of the vegetables.)
- Prepare dressing by combining all ingredients in to a small food processor or mason jar. Process on high, or shake vigorously in mason jar with tightly secured lid to ensure any tahini clumps become smooth.
- Taste, and adjust seasoning accordingly. (I tend to add more pepper and garlic, if I feel it needs it.)
- Place roasted vegetables in serving dish and toss with lemon-tahini sauce OR add allow people to add to individual portion.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro and sesame seeds and serve warm or at room temperature.
Farmer’s Market Specials
Ingrained is so excited to be participating in the Smyrna Depot Farmer’s Market this year! We plan to feature several recipes for our Farmer’s Market favorite vegetables throughout the summer. Now, take advantage of the spring bounty. Go out and support your local farmer!
How about you? What are your favorite farmer’s market vegetables? What are some vegetables that you would like to see featured here on “A Spoon Full of Yum”?
How to source some of the ingredients and equipment in this post: