Oddly enough my son requested broccoli the other day. Odd because broccoli does not – even though it should – make a regular appearance in our house. I have my roster of veggie faves and I tend not to deviate wildly from this except with the changing of the season. So for example, butternut, spaghetti and other squashes will be making a regular appearance on the dinner table for the next several months until the long winter gives way to spring and asparagus, peas and early strawberries. When we were in the early days of a plant-based diet, I would encourage my son to eat raw veggie snacks, including broccoli, by allowing him to dip them in a decidedly non-vegan store-bought ranch dressing. I felt the eating more veggies part outweighed the non-vegan dressing part. As time passed the dressing fell by the wayside on its own and now Samuel eats his raw veggies without giving dips a passing thought. We are not super heroes though and so without the dip, there was no raw broccoli. But he must have remembered it and hence the recent broccoli request which, just happened to coincide nicely with the latest issue of Vegetarian Times (November 2013). This issue contains a recipe for Hearty Broccoli and Orecchiette that I adapted to my own taste. My poor husband, who is just tail-ending a juice fast, has requested that I make it again next week and since both Sammy and I enjoyed it so much, it will definitely be making an encore. Bright green and slightly crunchy, broccoli is the star of the show in this hearty pasta dish that will please children and grown-ups alike. If your child is averse to the sausage and/or the mushrooms as mine is fairly chunky pieces makes it easy to serve up a kid-friendly bowl without making a separate meal.
Bugs & Broccoli
Makes four to five servings
- 1-1/2 cups whole grain whole wheat bug-shaped pasta
- 6 cups small broccoli florets
- 2 tbsp olive oil or 1 tbsp olive oil & 1 tbsp oil from sundried tomatoes
- 3 cups sliced button mushrooms (optional)
- 1 small to medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 Italian flavoured vegan sausages, sliced
- 2 – 3 medium to large cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp sundried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente; add broccoli 3 minutes before end of cooking time. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water; drain pasta and broccoli, and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan or wok, heat olive & sundried tomato oil (if using) over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook undisturbed, until starting to brown (about 5 minutes), then add onion and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic and sausage and cook for 30 seconds. Add in pasta, broccoli, and reserved pasta-cooking water along with the sundried tomatoes and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately.
- Pasta with Broccoli, Edamame & Walnuts (drawnbellows.com)
- My Favorite Meal of the Week – Broccoli and White Bean Soup (thepetitecroissant.com)