Category: Lunch

Broccoli Flatbread

Broccoli Flatbread
My son loves to ask me what is my favorite color. Since he was a young toddler before he could speak in full sentences, he would say purple, and that still is his answer now. When I tell him my color of choice is gray, he kind of gives me a funny look, and it’s not because he doesn’t know what gray looks like. I think it’s because gray is pretty much a bore compared to purple.

When my little guy saw me putting the finishing touches on this broccoli flatbread, he got very excited about all the green, but that didn’t mean he tried it. I made a version of my broccoli pesto and spread it on a grilled flatbread and topped it with watercress, microgreens and chives. It was green on green on green only interrupted by the grill-marked crust and Parmesan.
Broccoli Flatbread
Broccoli Flatbread

Makes 1-12-inch pizza

2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for bowl
1 cup bread flour plus more for work surface
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound broccoli florets
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan plus shaved Parmesan for serving
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 handful watercress leaves or baby spinach
1/4 cup microgreens

In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the both flours and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the yeast mixture and process until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, cook the broccoli for 2-3 minutes until bright green and tender. Transfer to a bowl of ice water. Let sit for a few minutes before removing with a slotted spoon and patting dry with a towel. Reserve a handful of broccoli florets to top the flatbread.

Mince the garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor. Add the broccoli, pine nuts, grated Parmesan, remaining salt, pepper & lemon juice and puree. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch diameter circle or a rectangle.

Place the dough directly on the grates and grill for 3-4 minutes with the lid closed until the crust has grill marks and has puffed up. Turn over the crust and grill for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove the crust from the grill and flip it over so the first side that was grilled is facing down. Spread the crust with broccoli puree. Top with the reserved broccoli florets, watercress, microgreens and shaved Parmesan.

Pasta with Baby Greens, Beans and Walnuts

Pasta with Baby Greens, Beans and Walnuts
For my usual weeknight pasta I keep things simple with spaghetti, even though it can be a bit boring. When I stick to my routine, I don’t add to my random noodle collection. I have a shelf of partial boxes of pasta—the result of buying specific shapes for single recipes. I always end up with an odd amount that’s too small to feed my family—two adults and a three-year-old who is convinced pasta is its own food group.

To spring clean my kitchen, I made this mixed pasta with baby greens, beans and walnuts. Even though it breaks every pasta rule, all you have to do when cooking multiple shapes in a single pot is to first start with the noodle that has the longest cook-time and work your way to the one that’s the quickest. After that I tossed the warm pasta with garlic-infused olive oil, arugula, spinach, cannellini beans, walnuts, Parmesan and lemon zest.
Pasta with Baby Greens, Beans and Walnuts
Pasta with Baby Greens, Beans and Walnuts
Adapted from Everyday Food April 2008

12 ounces short pasta (farfalle, rotelle, fusilli, orecchiette, penne)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup roughly chopped toasted walnuts
1 ounce grated Parmesan plus shaved Parmesan for serving
Zest of half a lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. If you are using multiple shapes, cook them in one pot of salted boiling water starting with the pasta that takes the longest and adding shapes per their recommended cook-time, with the quickest being added last. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes until fragrant and golden brown.

Stir the garlic-infused olive oil, beans, walnuts, Parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper into the pasta. Top with shaved Parmesan before serving.

Roasted Cauliflower & Meyer Lemon Salad

Roasted Cauliflower Meyer Lemon Salad
I never dreamed that cauliflower would make it on my weekly grocery list, but it’s official—I’m hooked. Of course I can’t wait for spring when all sorts of colorful, delicate fruits & veggies will be in season and cooking (or leaving things raw) is just so easy. For now, I’m trying to embrace the challenge of winter and try new things.

In my never-ending quest to turn sides into main dishes, I made a roasted cauliflower & Meyer lemon salad with pomegranate seeds, smoked almonds and plenty of fresh herbs. I used cilantro, but you also could try parsley. Each bite was nutty with a satisfying crunch, and I loved the bright flavor from the Meyer lemons.
Roasted Cauliflower Meyer Lemon Salad
Roasted Cauliflower & Meyer Lemon Salad
Serves 2-4

1 pound cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced crosswise
1 handful cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the cauliflower on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Roast for 10 minutes before adding the sliced lemon. Continue roasting for 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is brown in spots. If the lemons are starting to brown too fast, make sure they are on top of the cauliflower and not directly on the pan.

Transfer the roasted cauliflower and lemons to a large bowl. Toss with the herbs, pomegranate seeds and smoked almonds. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Broccoli Pesto

Roasted Broccoli Pesto
When I was a kid if you told me that I would like broccoli when I grew up, I wouldn’t have believed you. The extent of my veggie consumption in my youth was raw carrot sticks. (Potatoes don’t count.) Maybe that’s why I’m not overly concerned that my son isn’t so keen on eating his greens. I have to remind myself to be patient and wait.

With a few heads of broccoli at home, I decided to turn that produce into a sauce of sorts for pasta. I made roasted broccoli pesto. It turned out chunkier than the classic basil version, but I used a little pasta water to loosen it up as I tossed it into a bowl of orecchiette. I loved how the ear-shaped pasta scooped up the nutty broccoli.
Roasted Broccoli Pesto
Roasted Broccoli Pesto

1 pound broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the broccoli with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper on a sheet pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and just starting to brown at the edges.

Mince the garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor. Add the broccoli, remaining salt & pepper, pine nuts, Parmesan and lemon juice and puree. With the motor running, pour in the remaining olive oil.

When stirring the pesto into pasta, you may need to thin it out with some cooking water from the pasta.

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