It’s not always easy to eat fresh salad as the weather turns colder, however creating a nice mix of warm elements often helps! This simple dish combines flavours of fresh herbs, garlic and onion with a bright, creamy dressing. The broccoli adds extra vegan protein and by charring it a unique and complex smoky flavour combination is created for low maintenance sophistication.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Seasons: Spring, Summer & Fall
Challenge Weeks: 1-13 & Living WILDFIT
- One 15 oz can of chickpeas
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 leek, washed well
- small handful of dill, roughly chopped
- Handful parsley, roughly chopped
- Bed of greens for each plate
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 Tablespoon tahini
- Grated zest of 1 lemon and juice
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, can substitute avocado pieces
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Coarse sea salt and black pepper
- Pinch chilli flakes
This salad comes together quite quickly, especially if you are a fast chopper! Prepare your broccoli by removing the hard stem, creating bite sized florets and then slicing them in half so they can lay flat in the frying pan. If you’re not familiar with leeks, they taste like onion but more herbaceous, and it marries well with nearly all herbs.The edible portions of leeks are the white base of the leaves and the light green parts. For this recipe we don’t want to use the dark greek part as it tastes quite potent and has a bit too much fiber to be enjoyable in the dressing.
Next roughly chop the fresh, washed greens, dill and parsley. Use a salad spinner or towel and set aside to dry. I use baby leaf lettuces, however microgreens, watercress, mache and frisee would all work well. The dressing and broccoli both give strong flavours, so providing a balance with more mild greens works best. Fresh greens provide live enzymes to your meal, increasing digestibility. They contain many nutrients but also plenty of water and fiber, so you end up feeling nutritionally satisfied while eating less and so have more energy after the meal instead of feeling heavy.
Whether you choose to soak and cook your chickpeas or use those in a can is entirely up to you and how much time you have available. For optimal digestibility and nutrient absorption sprout the legumes first, and then cook for about one hour. The chickpeas will be cooked when they are soft and there is no white starch left uncooked in the middle of the chickpea. We want the chickpeas soft and creamy for this recipe which is why we want them well cooked. In a pinch or if this is a spontaneous quick and easy meal, a can of organic garbanzos with minimal additives will do the trick
Once everything is prepped it is time to boil the leek that will be used in the dressing. Bring a medium pot of lightly salted shallow water to a boil. Add the leek to the water and cook it for 3 minutes, then add the broccoli florets and steam them for another minute. Drain the vegetables and set them aside.
Next heat a grilling pan to medium high heat for a few minutes, then toss in the broccoli and two tablespoons of oil and some salt and pepper. A regular skillet works well also, but the grill pan creates a more aesthetically pleasing finish, while the valleys in the pan provide efficient escape channels for water vapor coming out of the broccoli, so they become more crisp and chewy. I prefer to use avocado oil, as it has one of the highest smoke points, making it ideal for really high heat cooking. I grill the florets for three to four minutes to char them all over, turning with tongs as they cook. Once done I remove the florets from the heat and allow them to cool slightly.
To create the dressing, you add the cooked leek, mayonnaise, tahini, oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and spices to your blender and whizz until smooth. The mayo, tahini and oil give weight to the dressing, the leek gives depth and the lemon zest creates balance in it’s bright flavour. If you don’t eat eggs, avocado can replace the mayo. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning if you like, as you may prefer more spice.
Finally in a salad bowl, add the broccoli, chickpeas and herb-leek sauce all together and toss to combine. Set aside to chill or serve warm, as you prefer. You may want to add the salad greens directly to the bowl or add the salad to a bed of greens on individual plates. This salad is best the same day, but if you plan to have leftovers, keep the greens separate and combine right before serving. Enjoy! If you are looking for more delicious salad recipes, check out our mango salad, sardine salad or spinach salad!