One of the many joys of spring is the reemergence of a whole range of crisp, sweet vegetables cultivated Britain. Being frugal and buying British is so much simpler once the weather warms up. Every vegetable and herb in this Tenderstem Broccoli Tabbouleh recipe was grown in Britain; even the tomatoes. And the quality of each ingredient speaks for itself.
Though the tenderstem broccoli season doesn’t begin in earnest for another month or so, it isn’t difficult to source come mid-April. Available until around November, there’s plenty of time to enjoy and learn how to prepare this succulent, mild-flavoured brassica, which is in many ways akin to asparagus.
I often overhear people struggling with the conundrum of how to cook tenderstem broccoli, and other similar ingredients. In short, the answer is ‘as little as possible’. The absolute worst outcome is a limp, lifeless brassica, which is unlikely to do anyone any good.
With brassicas the aim should be to retain, and even enhance, the vibrancy of their colour, while softening them a little, but not removing the crunch entirely. Cooking time depends on variety (regular broccoli is thicker and will require longer), but tenderstem and purple sprouting shouldn’t need more than the attention of 2-3 minutes.
The remainder of my tenderstem broccoli tabbouleh “salad” is even simpler; an assembly job if ever there was one. A handful of fresh herbs here, a smattering or quartered baby plum tomatoes there… It makes a delightfully quick evening meal, served alongside another salad or two.
As you’ll no doubt know, broccoli is an incredibly versatile ingredient, one that I’ve fallen in love with over the past few years. If you’re looking for other recipes and different ways to cook broccoli – purple sprouting broccoli for instance – the my Yaki Udon and Broccoli and Pea Soup are simple dishes worth sampling.
Tenderstem Broccoli Tabbouleh
- 50g bulgur wheat
- 100g tenderstem broccoli, roughly chopped
- a handful of fresh chives, finely chopped
- a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 100g baby plum tomatoes, quartered
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- a pinch of salt
- a twist of black pepper
- Pop the bulgur wheat on to boil in plenty of salted water. Just before it’s cooked through add the broccoli. Boil for a further 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare your remaining ingredients. Once the bulgur wheat and broccoli are cooked, drain the water and rinse with cold water for a minute or two.
- Transfer the cooked ingredients into a large bowl, tip in the herbs, vegetables, oil and seasoning and mix thoroughly.
Cost: No variety of broccoli is expensive at this time of year; brassicas are universally frugal. A large amount of fresh herbs and tomatoes does bump the cost of tabbouleh up a little, but it is a salad that shouldn’t set you back too much more than £1.75.