When I’m near Union Square and want a quick bite, I think Maoz. This international chain is known for fast and affordable vegetarian mediterranean food, especially its signature falafel (gluten-free!) and flavorful sauces. But, it’s the roasted broccoli I save room for as I fill my self-serve bowl, then those the lid -with florets bulging at the edges. Yep. I was ‘that customer’. That is, until I was told “the broccoli won’t be ready for a few minutes”. Then, I saw an employee dump broccoli into the serving container from a large basket. It was one of those tell-tale baskets which screams ‘deep-fryer’. Technically, according to the employee, it was ‘flash-fried’.
So, I had been missing the Maoz broccoli until I was inspired by a similar recipe by Martha and was inspired to make roasted broccoli with cashew cream sauce. By roasting with extra virgin olive oil, rather than flash or deep-frying you will consume much less oil without sacrificing taste. I revised the recipe, replacing the 1/3 cup tahini with soaked cashews. I find this broccoli preparation just as satisfying as the restaurant version. To make for quick last-minute preparation, cut up the broccoli in advance, which will also increase the health benefits of the cooked broccoli. More detail is provided in the Advanced Preparation Notes.
Roasted broccoli is a fantastic side dish or snack. But, add it to a bowl of rice or quinoa, toss in some beans and whatever vegetables you have on hand, drizzle with a little more sauce and you’ve got a very flavorful and nutritious bowl of a meal.
Got leftover sauce? The sauce is also excellent on just about any other vegetables. Thinned out with some water, it also works well as a salad dressing, adding a bit of protein and healthy monounsaturated fat to your dish.
ROASTED BROCCOLI WITH GARLIC CASHEW SAUCE
Inspired by Martha Rose Schulman Yield: 4 servings
INGREDIENTS – BROCCOLI:
- 1 head broccoli
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
INGREDIENTS – SAUCE:
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (more to taste)
- ⅓ cup filtered water
- 1/4 cup white sesame seeds (optional)
- 1/8th teaspoon cayenne pepper
PREPARATION – BROCCOLI:
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the broccoli crowns 1/3 inch thick.
- Toss the broccoli pieces with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Place on the baking sheet in an even layer.
- Roast the pieces until slightly browned, about 8 minutes.
- Using tongs, flip the broccoli pieces over and roast until both sides are slightly browned, about 15 minutes total.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to serving bowl or plates.
- Drizzle the garlic cashew sauce over the broccoli and serve.
PREPARATION – GARLIC CASHEW SAUCE:
- Cover cashews with filtered water to cover and set aside to soak, ideally for one hour or more, then drain.
- In a blender, process the garlic, salt and lemon juice.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process until it has a smooth texture.
- Adjust seasoning, If needed.
- Add more filtered water, if needed, until it is the consistency of thick yogurt.
ADVANCE PREPARATION NOTES:
- The longer you soak the cashews, the creamier the sauce will be. Refrigerate the soaking nuts if soaking for more than a couple hours.
- The cashew garlic sauce will keep for a few days refrigerated. If the sauce thickens, simply thin out with a small amount of water or more lemon juice.
- To get the most health benefits from the broccoli, chop it, then let it rest for 40 minutes before cooking. To learn more: Benefits of Raw Cruciferous Vegetables – When Cooked!
Nutritionally, cashews are an excellent source of copper, and a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Unfortunately, most people focus first on the fat content of cashew -and nuts in general. Cashews not only have a lower fat content than most other nuts, they have a very favorable fat profile. Approximately 82% of the fat in cashews is unsaturated fatty acids, 66% of which are monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to be heart healthy.
Would you like to see recipes for other healthy ‘fast foods’?