You guys are going to like this one. It’s pretty straightforward, super versatile, includes the easy to find and affordable cancer crusher, broccoli, tastes delicious (even if broccoli doesn’t get you excited) and you just buzz it all up in your food processor.
It’s broccoli pesto, and it will add green life to all things. I was originally inspired by a rapini pesto that (famous Chef) April Bloomfield rolled up into buns. Like cinnamon buns but with rapini pesto instead of the cinnamon/sugar, can you picture it? I think it was on Mind of a Chef, (or maybe Chef’s Table? Something Netflix-y. I should really remember this). Regardless, doesn’t that sound good? It sure looked good.
I have since made a lot of rapini pesto and added it to all kinds of things: twice baked sweet potatoes, tossed with roasted squash, spaghetti squash ‘noodles’, blended it with Eggplant Aioli for a dip for sweet potato oven fries, stirred into savoury breakfast porridge and soups etc.
The rapini version is punchy, green, sweet but bitter-ish, flavourful, rich in cancer-crushing powers and uncomplicated. Ours, made here with straight up broccoli (easily subbed for rapini, aka broccoli rabe) is similar but a little sweeter and definitely less bitter. Both ways are delicious and interchangeable. Your liver loves the bitter from the rapini, but your body loves variety, so mix it up (and sometimes, unless you live close to little Italy, or, I guess, in Italy, rapini can be trickier to find).
Something to keep in mind is that both broccoli and rapini are from the cruciferous family. This means that they are here for (gentle, vegetable) battle with your cancer cells, but those same sulphurous compounds that fight the cancer also smell a little funky after a few days in the fridge (ever forget about a green juice/smoothie?). Although the pesto will still be fine to eat, your nose might find that hard to believe, so only make the amount that you think you will be able to get through in a couple of days.
Broccoli/rapini isn’t working alone in this recipe. We also have lots of garlic (it is pesto after all) which nudges the sulphurs into a more savoury direction (and makes for good cancer-fighting battle-mate), Walnuts, because we like their omega 3 content, their fatty texture and the way they softly blend with the broccoli, and some lemon juice and zest, because they up the fresh factor and help us absorb the iron in the broccoi (and, in this case, the sunchokes).
We decided to roast some sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes) to toss with this pesto, because there is something delicious about the sweet root vegetable contrast with the vegetable-y, garlicky, fatty greens. Also, sunchokes are awesome and we don’t use them enough around here.
They are great for the lungs, are high in inulin, which makes them a good prebiotic (source of food for the good guys in your gut). They are full of potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamins A and B-complex. They taste a little bit like artichoke hearts (swoon) but somehow contain no starchy carbs. They do however taste starchy and make a good potato replacement.
Warning: they do give some people excessive gas due to their high inulin content. You might want to try some out before committing to a whole meal’s worth. You can also easily sub or cut them with roasted turnips, rutabaga, beets or any root veg that you are feeling these days. You can enjoy this warm, cold or room temp (I prefer it warm, topped with a sprinkling of our plant-based parmesan cheese).
- 2 heads of Broccoli (with stems) (or 4 heads of broccoli) (about 550g), chopped into 2 inch pieces
- 4 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- ¾ c Walnuts, soaked for 8-12 hours, drained and rinsed
- 2 tsp Nutritional Yeast
- ⅓ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Zest of one Lemon
- 2 tsp fresh Lemon Juice
- Sea(weed) Salt, to taste
- 3-4 lbs Sunchoke, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- Sea(weed) Salt, to taste
- Steam the broccoli until just barely cooked (a few minutes). If using stems, give them a one minute head start.
- Lay it out on a flat surface so that it cools quickly.
- In a food processor, throw in everything except for the broccoli until it is coarsely ground but with no big chunks.
- Add the steamed and slightly cooled broccoli and blend until coarsely ground.
- Adjust seasoning with sea(weed) salt until it tastes good to you.
- Cover and refrigerate immediately or sauté in a splash of water until it is warmed through and then toss with roasted sunchokes (or other roasted veggies, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, quinoa, literally whatever you want!)
- Preheat the oven to 350*F
- Cut up the sunchokes and toss them in the melted extra virgin coconut oil and a sprinkling of sea(weed) salt. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes (pausing once or twice to toss them around on the baking sheet) or until they soften.