This is one of our families go to dinners each week. As a bare minimum we have it once, sometimes twice and when I’ve really been craving it I’ve been known to have it 3 nights in a row. It’s creamy, tangy and rich in calcium (especially if you have some leafy greens on hand to throw in). Last night I made a big batch of it and made it in the Instant Pot and on the stove at the same time (takes about the same amount of time whichever way you cook it, but more fits in the Instant Pot).
We’re not strictly plant-based any more but we were for 2.5 years (from 2014 to early 2017). After moving to Germany sourcing good fruit and veg was harder and I just wasn’t as passionate about being 100% plant-based any more. I was also having some health issues and hoped that bone broths and eating less fruit would help resolve them (I’m kind of neutral on whether or not that actually helped, I did lose a fair bit of weight with little effort when I started eating meat again though).
I think we’ve found a healthy balance for us and on average week we’re plant-based 5 days per week. We’re not being strict about it, we just feel lighter and healthier eating this way and find that some weeks a heavy roast dinner on a Sunday comes around too quickly and we skip it and other weeks we find ourselves eating some leftover meat on Monday.
When I was Paleo for 2 years as much as veggies were meant to be a huge part of your diet, I skimped on the veg and ate more meat wherever I could. Once the meat was gone, I HAD to get used to preparing and eating more veggies and now 5 years later I think we have a good balance. We love our fruit and veggies and that was unheard of a decade ago.
So onto the recipe! Basically you are browning your onions and garlic, steaming your cauliflower and broccoli until cooked to your liking and then adding Tahini (sesame seeds processed into a paste) and lemon juice to taste. Serve with rice or even just on its own as a side dish.
The quantities are really versatile too, for serving one person just cook as much broccoli and cauliflower as you can eat (for me that would be a 1/4 of a large cauliflower and half of a broccoli – but I’d err on the side of not being hungry and cook a bit more than that, you can always have it as leftovers) and use 1/4 to 1/2 a tin of chickpeas. The quantities I use serves 6.
- 1 large Cauliflower
- 1 to 2 head of Broccoli ( I cram in as much as I can fit in the pot)
- 1 large Onion or 2 medium onions (more if you want to use it up!)
- 4 cloves of Garlic (more if you love garlic, less if you aren’t a fan)
- 400g of Tahini (I had 2 x 250g jars on hand and used 1 and a half)
- 3 or 4 Lemons
- 1 tin of Chickpeas (500g)
- 1.5 cups of Water
- Coconut Oil to saute onion and garlic (or use a little water to fry instead)
Optional Extras: mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, kale, spinach, leaves from the cauliflower
1/ Dice your onion and garlic (or mince if you’d prefer) and throw into a large pot with a little coconut oil or water. Fry gently until softened
2/ Add the cauliflower, broccoli and any other veggies you’re adding to the pot – I like to break the cauliflower and broccoli up into bite sized florets with my hands, but you can chop into bite sized pieces however you like
3/ Add the water to the pot and steam the veggies. In the Instant pot I set it to 1 minute on manual setting, hit ‘off’ just as it reaches pressure and quick release pressure. On the stove top I put a lid on and steam on low-medium heat until the veggies are cooked but still firm
4/ Add your drained chickpeas to the pot and stir until they’re warmed through (alternately if there’s room you can throw them in before steaming your veggies too)
5/ Remove your pot from heat and begin adding the tahini and lemon juice (I juice my lemons straight over the pot – we don’t mind a few stray lemon seeds but by all means if you have a hand juicer then that’s easier!). Add the Tahini a few heaped spoonfuls at a time, followed by a whole lemons worth of lemon juice
6/ Stir it through with the liquid at the bottom of the pot and taste
7/ Continue to adjust the ratio of Tahini to lemon juice until you’re happy with the creaminess and flavour. Some Tahini’s are stronger flavoured than others and require more lemon juice to offset the bitterness (dark tahini is usually stronger than light and tahini whole roasted is the strongest of all)
Salt to taste!
Serve with rice as a main dish or it makes for a delicious side dish too. We often eat it cold the next day.