Dish of the Day: The Reluctant Vegetarian’s Super Green Pesto Salad with Sticky Shallots
At the first hint of spring I couldn’t help but whip up something fresh, crisp and garlicky. Sometimes I just crave a serious amount of garlic and making up a homemade pesto is one way of satisfying that. I love this dish mainly because it looks so enticing and the contradiction of flavours and textures works so well. The sweet, sticky shallots and red peppers combined with the crunchiness of the broccoli and smoothness of the avocado can’t be beaten. I love this type of dish; it’s one that you’re always going to feel better for having eaten. No carb coma in sight!
Cooking / Preparation Time – 20 mins
1 x Avocado – Removed from skin and sliced
3 x Handfuls of purple sprouting broccoli – Cut in half (longways) so they cook quicker
5 x Shallots – Peeled and cut in half
2 x Red Peppers – Washed and cut in quarters
Glug of rapeseed oil
2 x Garlic cloves – Peeled
2 x Handfuls of fresh basil leaves – Washed first and stalks removed
Sprinkle of rock salt
50g x Parmesan (vegetarian) – Finely grated
1/4 x Lemon zest
Generous glug of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and add the red peppers to roast. Drizzle with rapeseed oil, do the same with the shallots leaving them flat side down on the baking tray roasting for 15 minutes or until golden and browned. In the meantime fill a pan with 2 inches of water and add in the prepared purple sprouting broccoli. Sprinkle with salt and cover with a lid allowing the vegetables to steam for 4/5 minutes. You want the greens to be cooked but still crisp, so test regularly and remove from the heat when you’re happy with them. Drain the water and put to one side until ready to serve.
Prepare the avocado and put this to one side also. If you’re preparing much in advance leave the avocado until last or cover with lemon juice to stop it from browning.
To make this pesto (this version is minus the costly pine nuts which are not always available in my local store) combine all of the ingredients listed in a pestle and mortar or in a food processor. Check for seasoning once combined into a smooth paste.
Once all parts of the salad are ready to go, serve it up incorporating a bit of everything. The warm roasted pepper and shallots offer a real sweetness to this dish and work well with the broccoli and pesto. Garnish with the alfalfa and drizzle with olive oil or extra virgin olive oil if you have it to hand.
Follow Anna on Twitter @GETINMYGOBTagged in: avocado, Green salad, pesto
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter