Roasted Broccoli, Sesame & Spinach
Once you’ve tried roasting broccoli you won’t want to cook it any other way..! It holds onto a spice paste or marinade wonderfully, and chars so well too. It becomes deep and robust in flavour, almost meaty even! The key is to have the oven as hot as possible, or the grill on its highest setting, so it chars quickly yet retains bite. The zingy Thai-inspired dressing here works well to contrast the slightly smoky flavour of the broccoli.
This salad works for 4 people if part of a larger meal; to transform it into a vegan dinner in its own right try adding crumbled tempeh before roasting, or perhaps some avocado at the end (and omit the fish sauce!); or serve it alongside grilled chicken or salmon.
For the salad:
1 head broccoli
2 generous handfuls of baby spinach
thumb-sized hunk of ginger
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp plain oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
For the dressing:
2 tbsp plain oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp tamari
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp wasabi
juice 1 lime
Preheat the oven to its highest setting, and if you’re able to have the grill on simultaneously preheat this as well. (If it’s one or the other, opt for the grill). Either way, have an oven rack near the top and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Cut the broccoli into flourettes, and slice the stalk too. Toss the broccoli with the sesame oil, plain oil and honey.
Finely slice or crush the garlic, peel and finely grate the ginger, finely chop the chilli. Toss these with the broccoli, along with the salt and sesame seeds. If possible, use your hands here to rub the garlic, ginger etc onto and into the broccoli.
Spread the broccoli on the roasting tray, making sure it isn’t cramped, as this will prevent it form roasting quickly and charring well.
Roast/grill for 14-16 minutes.
Meanwhile make the dressing; simply shake all the dressing ingredients together in an old jam jar.
Once the broccoli has roasted, take it off the oven tray right away, to allow it to cool as quickly as possible, and prevent it from softening too much.
If you’re adding toasted peanuts, turn off the oven and toast these in the residual heat until golden.
When the broccoli has cooled a little, toss everything together and serve warm.