You’re probably tired of hearing me complain about how Spring is so not showing up around here. I mean, it kind of is, but the weather is so rainy and gray and dreary ALL THE DANG TIME that anything green and flower-y that is popping out is seriously fighting to be noticed. I need sun and I need it now. As part of my boycott of Spring recipes until it actually feels like Spring, I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a long time now. I almost didn’t post it, because I’m a control freak and I don’t like some of the photos, but gosh darn it to heck anyway it’s going out because perfection isn’t real life. You know I like to keep it real up in here. So let’s bring on the green, just to spite the gray. Triple Broccoli Quinoa, friends. It’s happening.
Triple broccoli, Beth? Explain yourself.
Ok, ok, keep your pants on. Here’s the deal. Back in our dairy-eating days, I used to make this recipe called Double Broccoli Quinoa by Heidi Swanson over at 101 Cookbooks. I am a huge fan of Heidi’s, and I’m not alone. Her blog is super popular, her recipes are incredible (lots of plant-based offerings), and she lives in my favorite city and neighborhood in the world, The Mission in San Francisco. Like, she gets to walk to Bi-Rite market to buy her groceries and pick up a loaf of bread from Tartine anytime she wants. Lucky.
Anyway…the Double Broccoli Quinoa recipe was SO delicious, but it has heavy cream and parmesan which just aren’t players in my kitchen ensemble anymore, so I had to get creative with my own version. In Heidi’s recipe, it’s called double broccoli because she uses the florets in the sauce as well as sprinkled on top of the finished dish. I can’t leave well enough alone, so I made it Triple Broccoli Quinoa and used the stems of the broccoli in the sauce as well. Stems deserve to be saved, people.
A lot of people, including a former version of me, would spend money on fresh broccoli by the pound, and then proceed to throw a large portion of that money away by chopping off the stem end and chucking it into the trash. SAVE THE STEMS, people! They’re tasty and awesome and chock full of nutrition all on their own.
So, now that we’ve rescued the stems to fulfill their cruciferous destiny, we’ll slice em’ up into little discs and cut the florets into bite sized pieces. Some of those florets will get cooked along with the stems and then pureed with Savory Cashew Cream, lemon, and garlic to become this beautiful, dare I say it, spring green colored deliciousness in sauce form.
Then, that luscious and creamy-greeny sauce will get poured all over a pile of perfectly cooked quinoa. You know how to cook perfect quinoa on the stovetop, right? You can also cook perfect quinoa in an Instant Pot. Either way, it will be fluffy, tender with just a little bite, and ready to be doused with a sauce made almost entirely of broccoli.
And then, it’s all about the toppings, baby.
Sliced avocado? Oh, yes.
Crunchy cashews or slivered almonds? Sure.
Crushed red pepper flakes for some heat? Obviously.
And, of course, broccoli. That’s a hat trick, I think? Random hockey reference, even though I know next to nothing about hockey. Moving on…
This is a favorite meal in our household, and hopefully now in yours, too! Now I’m off to not look at at the weather forecast.
Triple Broccoli Quinoa
- 2 pounds fresh broccoli (including stalks)
- 1/2 cup Savory Cashew Cream*
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 lemon (juice and zest)
- 3 cups uncooked quinoa (or 6 cups pre-cooked quinoa if you have it on hand)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (peeled)
- 1 avocado (sliced)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
For the Sauce
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Prepare the broccoli by trimming the stems and slicing into 1/4” thick rounds, and cutting the florets into bite size pieces.
- Add the garlic cloves, broccoli stems, and 1 cup of florets into the boiling water, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the stems are tender. Remove the stems, garlic, and florets to a blender or food processor with a handheld strainer, leaving the cooking water in the pan.
- Add the remaining florets to the water and cook for 2-3 minutes, until bright green and crisp-tender.
- Strain the florets and run under cool water to stop the cooking process. Use the same pan to cook the quinoa if you don’t already have it on hand. Set the florets aside.
- Add the cashew cream, water, lemon juice/zest, and salt to the blender or food processor.
- Puree the sauce until smooth, adding additional water to thin as necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the Quinoa
- Toast quinoa in a dry pan for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, stirring often.
- Add 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed.
- Alternatively, prepare the quinoa in an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker using this method.
- Mix the sauce with the quinoa, then plate along with the cooked broccoli florets, avocado slices, and any of the optional toppings such as crushed red pepper flakes or chopped cashews or slivered almonds.