Broccoli Crunch Salad

broccoli crunch again2This is a variation on the vegetarian broccoli salad I first saw here. Using simpler ingredients is fine. The most difficult part for me (in Japan) is the almond butter, as I have to make it myself. However, with a good food processor it’s simple. I’ll post instructions soon, but in the meantime, it’s easy to find them online.

Ingredients
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup almond butter
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 head broccoli
1 medium-sized apple
1/4 small red onion
1/3 cup candied nuts (Pecans, walnuts, or almonds: to candy nuts, first chop roughly, then put in a dry frying pan with a few spoonfuls of sugar. Heat and stir until sugar melts and coats nuts. Pour out onto aluminum foil and let cool completely.)

Instructions

Crush the garlic clove with the side of a knife. Chop well, then crush the pieces again. Repeat two or three times until garlic becomes a paste. Mix with the other dressing ingredients: salt, almond butter, lemon juice, honey, and olive oil, and set aside.

Cut broccoli into bite-size pieces. Blanch in boiling water for 60 seconds, then drain.

Cut apple into small bite-size pieces, and slice red onion thinly. Combine broccoli, apple, onion, and candied nuts.

When ready to serve, mix with the dressing. If the dressing is too thick, add a little water. (However, I always find that the water absorbed by the broccoli will thin out the dressing, so adding water makes it too thin.)

Creamy Pasta with White Beans

pasta with white beansThis recipe is quite adaptable. As I’ve written it, this is a vegetarian pasta dish, but you can add chicken as well, and you can change the vegetables to fit what’s in season or on sale. It also includes some protein from the beans.

Ingredients (serves 2 with leftovers)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
700mL (3 cups) vegetable broth (chicken broth is okay too)
200g dry penne pasta (1/2 lb)
1 cup cooked white beans
1-1/2 cups vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, and spinach or a mixture are all great)
125g (4 oz) sun-dried or salted tomatoes
120mL (1/2 cup) cream (in Japan, I use 35% cream)
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until softened. Add vegetable (or chicken) broth and pasta. Bring to a simmer.

Cook pasta for the time directed on the package, plus 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. If too much liquid evaporates, add a little more water. With five minutes remaining, add the tomatoes, beans, and vegetables and stir.

After the pasta finishes cooking, add the cream. Stir and cook until the cream thickens into a sauce. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with Parmesan cheese.