Broccoli and Lentils Apicius
The first known broccoli recipe appears in Apicius, the early Roman recipe compendium, where it's cooked "with a mixture of cumin and coriander seeds, chopped onion plus a few drops of oil and sun-made wine." I give it a modern makeover, abetting it with lentils to turn it into a main course or significant salad. It makes use of the entire broccoli, from crown to stem. There's no waste and you get the most bang for your broccoli.
- 1 bunch broccoli
- 1 cup lentils any color, but tiny black lentils, also called beluga lentils, hold their shape nicely after cooking
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon wine red or white
- ½ teaspoon agave
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- ⅓ cup scallions sliced fine
- 1 handful parsley chopped
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Take the broccoli and chop the florets into bite-sized bits. Slice the stems into thin, stylish discs.
- Steam for 7 to 10 minutes, so broccoli is still bright green and has some crunch.
- Rinse broccoli in cold water and set aside.
- In a large pot, bring water or vegetable broth to boil over high heat. Pour in lentils. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmering for 20 minutes or so, until lentils are just tender and all the liquid is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, toast cumin seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Give it a shake occasionally so the seeds don't burn. When your kitchen is suffused with a beautiful toasty smell, remove from heat.
- Pour toasted cumin seeds into a small bowl. Or add your cumin powder here, along with the coriander. Whisk in olive oil, wine, honey or agave.
- Tip lentils into a large serving bowl. Pour olive oil mixture over them and toss to mix.
- Add broccoli, stirring gently to combine.
- Toast the pine nuts in the same fashion as the cumin seeds, but shake the pan frequently and watch them closely -- they can go from golden to black in a matter of minutes. Add to toasted nuts to broccoli and lentils, along with the chopped scallions and chopped parsley.
- Season generously with sea salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.
- Covered and refrigerated, it keeps for several days.
Thank you for reading my vegan stories and plant-based recipes. I sincerely love to connect with listeners and would like to hear your feedback, takeaways, “ah-ha!” moments, etc in the comments.