Broccoli Pesto Grain Salad

Adapted from Super Natural Every Day

Time and again, I’ve returned to Heidi Swanson for inspiration when I’m searching for something wholesome, earthy and simple. Her broccoli pesto provides the base here, then I went off on my own by adding warm mixed grains. The pesto can also be tossed with pasta and thinned with a little warm cooking water. I even used a little leftover pesto as a dip with raw veggies.

  • For the pesto:
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 5 cups broccoli, cut into florets
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • For the grain salad:
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup mixed grains (I used 1/2 cup millet, 1/2 cup farro)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • Fresh ground black pepper

  • Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add a generous pinch of salt, then the broccoli and cover. Cook for one minute, just long enough to take the raw edge off. Remove a little water from the pot and set aside. Drain broccoli in a colander, then rinse with cold water.
  • Place 2 cups of broccoli in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel chopping blade. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan, pine nuts, almonds, yogurt or creme fraiche and olive oil. Process until fairly smooth. If it seems too thick, add a little of the warm cooking water and process again until you’re happy with the consistency.
  • To cook the grains, bring a pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and cook the grains according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Allow to cool slightly.
  • To assemble the salad, combine the remaining 3 cups broccoli florets, the warm cooked grains, 1 cup of the pesto and lemon zest. Toss gently to combine. If you have cooking water remaining, you can use it to thin the mixture a little if needed. Taste seasonings and adjust as necessary. To serve, place the broccoli and grain mixture in bowls and top with avocado slices. Finish with another squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of salt and fresh black pepper.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. What does 5 cups of broccoli look like? It’s about 2 small heads. See picture on the top right.
  • 2. The original recipe called for 2/3 cup pine nuts but I only had 1/3 cup. I added slivered almonds in their place, which worked beautifully. If I’d had enough pine nuts, I also would have tossed a few into the salad at the end.
  • 3. I used Greek yogurt instead of creme fraiche since it’s what I had on hand. I made it with creme fraiche last time. Either works fine.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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