Broccoli Pesto Pasta

With an abundance of broccoli on hand, I was looking for something different to make than the usual steamed or roasted broccoli.  This takes the super healthy benefits of broccoli and turns it into a great spread, or in this case, sauce.  While this is definitely different from traditional pesto since it doesn’t include basil, it still has the nutty flavor from the parmesan and pine nuts.  I topped this with some chickpeas for some extra protein, and grilled summer squash and zucchini for some extra vegetables.  You could also reserve some of the steamed broccoli to add on top or add any other vegetable you feel like.

Broccoli Pesto PastaBroccoli Pesto Pasta (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 10-12

Adapted from Whole Living

  • 1 box whole wheat pasta, I like rotini (I also tried gluten-free brown rice pasta shells that were good with this)
  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • basil to garnish

In a large pot, boil the broccoli florets for a minute or two, until bright green.  Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.  Refill the pot and cook the pasta according the directions on the box (be sure to generously salt the water!), drain and set aside while finishing the pesto.  Add broccoli and remaining ingredients to a large food processor and blend until smooth (do this in batches if necessary).  Serve with whole wheat pasta and top with favorite vegetables and rinsed chickpeas, if desired.  Garnish with fresh basil.

Smooth and Creamy Hummus

I might also call this obsessive-compulsive hummus, but I’ll let you decide for yourself what name you’ll call it.  What makes it different, is that you actually peal the chickpeas.  I know, say what?! Peel chickpeas?!  Well this advice comes from the incredible Smitten Kitchen, so I knew the recipe would be great…so while I caramelized some onions, I tediously sat by the sink, peeling chickpeas.  It really didn’t take that long, and by the time I was done I also had beautifully caramelized onions, so it wasn’t a total waste of time.  The end result is a delightfully creamy and thick hummus.  I’ve been eating this for weeks, and am a big fan of the subtle flavors and smooth texture.  This has just the right amount of lemon and garlic to accentuate the chickpeas but not overpower them.  It’s a great dip, and I highly recommend it with veggies for a great, easy healthy snack.

Smooth and Creamy HummusSmooth and Creamy Hummus (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup tahini paste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (more to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Peel the outer skin off of the chickpeas, discard the skins and toss the chickpeas in the bowl of your food processor.  Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt.  Pulse several times, then stream in the water and olive oil while blending.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve with carrot sticks, snap peas, cucumber sticks, crackers, pretzels, and/or bread.

Ginger and Sesame Baked Tilapia

White fish can be kind of boring, but this just means it’s a great blank slate for more exciting flavors.  I used tilapia for this, but you can use whatever white fish looks good at the store.  Fish is a great low calorie protein source and provides micronutrients and omega-3s.  I’d recommend serving this with brown rice or quinoa and a side vegetable (although I served it with Roasted Eggplant, the flavors competed so I’d recommend something a little blander to really let the fish shine).

This is a really fast recipe, so it’s great for a weeknight, or on a busy day when you’ve been running errands (like grocery shopping so your fish is super fresh), it probably takes less than 30 minutes to have delicious flavorful fish.  You can also use frozen fish if that’s what you have on hand, just take it out the night before and let it thaw in the fridge before cooking.

Ginger and Sesame Baked TilapiaGinger and Sesame Tilapia

Serves 4-6

Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 3 large tilapia fillets
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 2 inches ginger, peeled and grated (I recommend keeping your ginger root frozen and then finely chopping it after you’ve peeled it.  It’s less stringy when frozen)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • chopped cilantro and/or scallions for garnish

Preheat oven to 475°F.  Rinse and pat the fish dry and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Ginger and Sesame Tilapia FishPlace fish in glass baking dish (I overlapped the thinner parts of the fish to get it all in the pan which worked well).  In a blender, food processor, or magic bullet, blend minced garlic, grated ginger, soy sauce, white wine, and sesame oil.  Pour sauce over the fish and rub it in a little.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until fork tender (fish should flake a bit when poked with a fork).

How to: Roasted Garlic

Roasted garlic is a magical thing.  When heads of garlic spend some time in a hot oven they get rich and caramelized and sweet.  It’s pretty spectacular.  It’s also very easy to do.

Roasted GarlicRoasted Garlic Heads

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Tear off a piece of aluminum foil that’s big enough to wrap your garlic head(s) in tightly, set aside.

Cut off about 1/3 of the top of your garlic head, so that you can see all the different clove segments.  Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt.  Place garlic head(s) in foil, cut side up, and wrap tightly.  Place in preheated oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes, until golden brown on top.  Unwrap and let cool before squeezing out the roasted garlic cloves.

Whole Wheat Rosemary Garlic Bread

I’m apparently on a bread kick, so here’s another loaf for you!

I had actually intended to make this bread for a catering event I was doing, but my yeast didn’t proof and I was too tired to get more at the time.  So I bought bread and new yeast the day of the catering event and served Whole Foods’ bread and made this when I got home.

This is a great bread.  It’s good for sandwiches or dip, good with butter or with hummus, flavorful enough on its own but not so overpowering that it can’t be paired with other things.

Whole Wheat Rosemary Garlic Bread

Makes 2 loaves (about 20-24 slices)

Adapted from Good Life Eats

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/2 tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 tsp salt
  • sprinkle of flour to dust the loaves
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal for the pans

In a small bowl, add warm water, yeast, and sugar, whisk to combine and allow to sit while you assemble the dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine both flours, garlic, rosemary, and salt; mix well.  Whisk the olive oil into the yeast mixture, then pour the liquids into the dry ingredients.  Stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour has been moistened.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough for about 8 minutes, adding more flour as necessary until the dough forms a smooth ball.

Place dough in a lighly oiled bowl, turning over so the top is oiled.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

After the dough has doubled, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press to deflate it.  Cut the dough in half and shape one half at a time.  Press the dough into a square, then roll it up tightly.  Turn the cylinder 90 degrees and roll up again from the short end.  Place seam side down and cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit 5 minutes.  Repeat with the other half.

Dust large 11″x13″ jelly roll pan with cornmeal.  Gently roll the dough to elongate the cylinder, working from the center out.  Place the loaves seam side down on the pan and dust lightly with flour.  Cover with plastic wrap again and allow to rise again until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

After about 1 hour if your bread has made progress, preheat your oven to 450°F and position the shelf in the center of the oven.

Once the dough has finished rising, use a sharp knife to cut 3 or 4 slashes across the top of the loaf.  Immediately place the loaves in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove the bread to a wire rack and allow to cool.