I have a memory oh so vivid of tiny child Kyla at an Auntie’s table being cajoled into eating broccoli. Sitting there, arms crossed, frown carefully creased into what I hoped was a menacing leer; with one eye squinting up at whoever was trying to convince me that this so-called “broccoli” was delicious. Hah. I was no fool: this wasn’t macaroni, fish sticks OR cinnamon-sugar toast.
It wasn’t until an older cooler wiser cousin sat beside me and told me the secret: teensy people lived in these mini green trees and you could name them after people you didn’t like and then gobble them up like an ogre. SOLD. I crunched and I munched and I ate the whole plate.
If you prefer a less barbarous route — this simple but flavor-packed recipe is a good alternative. Don’t be afraid of fish sauce, I know it smells a tad strong, but it delivers. It adds this instant umami oomph that would take seven additional ingredients to replicate.
The broccoli comes out caramelized and fragrant, with the tahini dressing a sweet and tangy partner to balance out all the savory. Add whatever base you choose — noodles, wild rice, salad — and you’ve got yourself a week’s worth of lunches to be excited about.
Roasted Broccoli with Fish Sauce & Honey-Tahini Dressing
For the Broccoli:
- 1 LB broccoli about 2 large heads
- 5 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
- 1 small red chile diced (or sub hefty pinch chile flakes)
- 1 TB fish sauce
- 1 TB soy sauce
- 1 tsp ground or fresh ginger
For the Tahini Dressing: (makes 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 TB honey
- 1 TB rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 lime juiced, add half at a time and taste as you go
- brown rice, other grain, noodles, salad, get funky for serving
PREHEAT OVEN TO 400*
Rinse and separate the broccoli into florets. Trim the stalks but leave them long.
Swish-swish a large baking tray with olive or coconut oil.
Add the florets, garlic and chile to a large bowl. Stir in soy sauce, fish sauce, and ginger. Toss to coat everything evenly. You really don't need salt, I know we all love salt but don't compulsively add it here.
Dump contents onto the oiled tray and spread out. Roast in the oven (top-rack) 15-20 minutes -- cooked through but still springy and crunchy.
While the broccoli is roasting -- whisk all the contents for the dressing together in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp -1 TB water to thin to dressing status. Season with salt.
Once the broccoli has roasted and the dressing been whisked -- assemble as you see fit. Add the roasty veg to whatever lovely grain bowl you've artfully crafted and then swirl spoonfuls of dressing on top.