I usually eat lunch alone. On good days I embrace this luxury and prepare for myself the sort of meal that I know wouldn’t be met with roaring applause at the dinner table. In other words I eat a TON of green stuff when the kids aren’t around. Now of course this doesn’t mean that I keep all the green things for myself. I push green on them as much as I can but when I am alone I really pack it in.
This recipe is just the sort that I like to enjoy alone because it’s green covered in green. Otherwise known as deeply roasted broccoli rabe slathered in a bright lemony, basil-y, pumpkin seedy vinaigrette which actually is more closely related to a pesto. It requires very little time futzing in the kitchen but the end result is full of zippy flavor and hearty enough to last me to dinner. Except for perhaps the 3:00 visit to the candy cupboard. (Please tell me you have one of those too).
Broccoli rabe feels like broccoli’s fancier cousin. With those frilly leaves and slender stalks it just sort of struts to the plate bringing with it a deep caramelized flavor and a rich bitterness that pairs perfectly with a good bit of lemon.
Feel free to leave off the grilled chicken if you prefer, it doesn’t need it and now that I think about it perhaps a soft boiled egg would replace the chicken quite nicely.
I also made this lovely little grilled cheese with slow-cooked broccoli rabe and sharp cheddar that I think you all would love.
Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Lemon Vinaigrette and Grilled Chicken
The zippy lemon vinaigrette, which actually tip toes to the line of being a pesto, adds a brightness that meets the natural bitterness of broccoli rabe beautifully. In the oven the broccoli rabe crisps and sweetens before it blends with quinoa to create a hearty and very nutritious meal.
Top the bowl with roasted pumpkin seeds, creamy avocado and thinly sliced grilled chicken.
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds + more for serving
1 cup fresh basil leaves
zest and juice from one lemon
salt and pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, bottom 2 inches removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 large chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled, thinly sliced
In a small saucepan combine the quinoa and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, cover then cook, over low heat, for 13-15 minutes until the quinoa is just cooked. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to use. You can use the quinoa warm or at room temperature.
Prepare the dressing by combining the pumpkin seeds, basil, lemon zest and juice, oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a blender. Blend until completely combined. The dressing will be thick and almost like a pesto. Taste and add more salt if you’d like. It should taste very bright and lemony.
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Add the broccoli rabe to a sheet tray and toss with the olive oil and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper. Toss very well to combine.
Roast in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until the broccoli rabe is charred in parts and the stems are tender.
In a large bowl toss together the broccoli rabe, quinoa and lemon vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Divide the quinoa between four bowls and top the bowls with sliced avocados, grilled chicken and more pumpkin seeds.
Served warm or at room temperature.
Kept covered in the refrigerator this salad will keep for up to 1 week.