Chickpeas and tenderstem broccoli with rice and tahini

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Aboard the exciting and life-changing voyage of wellness, sometimes you feel so inspired by recipes and ingredients that you run to the nearest health food store full of ideas and vigour and spend half your life savings on precious oils and powders with which to feed the tired temple. Other times, for whatever reason, and Wednesday night being one of them, you need good, quick, nutritious food that you can knock together from your local convenience store in ten minutes for more or less under £10.

I know this need well – after working with Rainbo we get home from jobs so knackered and drained that the idea of following intricate recipes with enormous ingredient lists is just not even an option. It has to be quick, easy and healthy or it might as well be cereal and milk. And how many times last year did we crawl home and munch exactly that. No wonder we woke up feeling crap.

So, after rushing in my local shop and wanting a quick dinner that would also double up as lunch for school the next day, I threw this together in the evening sun in all of fifteen minutes and it was delicious. Humble broccoli is one of my favourite veggies. Ben doesn’t really love it like I do and it bothers me, so when I am away at my place I cram it in. It has hugh levels of calcium – more than cow’s milk, and important if you’re vegan or dairy-free – and contains a dymanic threesome of phytonutrients (glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin) which help the body remove toxins at both the first and second stages of detoxification. Also a great source of plant fibre (and you can never have too much of this – in fact most of us have barely enough) and B Vitamins, it is a super vegetable that is often overlooked.

Unless juicing it raw I always steam it lightly and quickly so it keeps its crunch and vibrant green colour.

And a quick note on the tahini dressing: we learned this in Costa Rica and it is amazing. You can put it on anything – we did, on everything, every day for six weeks and never got bored – and it is so simple to whizz up. You have to taste it as you go, as tahinis can vary, but I like that. It makes you use your tastebuds and get confident in knowing what you like and what you don’t. My first one, which I had to make for 90 people, was white, watery and disgusting. But now I know exactly how I like it. Learn from you mistakes in the kitchen and you will find a confidence you never knew you had.

Serves 2 as a main

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 cup brown rice

1 onion

A handful of broccoli (if you have tenderstem or purple sprouting even better!)

1 clove garlic

A small handful of leaves (rocket, watercress, spinach etc)

A robust cooking oil (flavourless coconut / hemp / flax)

Chopped almonds

Tahini dressing: roughly!

1/3 cup water

2 cloves garlic

Juice of 2 lemons

A generous pinch of sea salt

Start by boiling your rice in a little salted water or veg stock until it is cooked through but still has some bite. Meanwhile, in a pan, gently heat a little oil and add the chickpeas and onion until they start to brown. Add the garlic and a little salt and pepper, stir for two more minutes then set aside. In another pan, lightly steam the broccoli for a minute. If you do not have a steamer, you can use a metal strainer or colander above a pan of boiling water. Do not use a plastic one or it will melt, I have done this and regretted it. When you have steamed, set the broccoli aside to cool. (I like to serve this at room temperature).

Next, in a blender, quickly whizz the tahini dressing. if you have lots, keep it in a pot in the fridge, it will no doubt get used up quickly.

When your rice is done, mix it with the chickpeas, onion and garlic and add the broccoli and green leaves. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with almonds, and serve.

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