Roasted Broccoli and Red Onion with Lemon Tahini Dressing
I’m only just discovering the versatility of tahini. I think of it as the peanut butter of Eastern Europe and the Middle East – a rich and nutty paste made of toasted sesame seeds. It’s an important flavor component in hummus, which is why I bought it to begin with. Unfortunately, I have not made hummus nearly as often as I ought to. And so it has sat for months on end, looking sad and forgotten on my refrigerator condiment shelf.
But then, just the other day, I came across a recipe for a roasted carrot salad with tahini dressing on A Beautiful Plate. It looked and sounded divine, and I knew it was time to put my forgotten tahini to good use. And such good use! Fresh lemon juice brightens up the luscious tahini, making a simple and killer dressing. I chose to put mine over the broccoli I had just purchased that morning, but I’m convinced this dressing would go well over any roasted vegetable. I plan to test that theory in the near future.
This dish is so flavorful. Roasting the vegetables gives them a somewhat caramelized flavor that goes brilliantly with the nutty tahini and almonds. There’s a bright tang from the lemon juice, and a bit of sweetness from the raisins. Fresh herbs add yet another layer of flavor, rounding out this easy but impressive vegetable dish.
Why is it good for you?
Broccoli is a low calorie, high fiber food. It’s rich in vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant and immune booster), as well as the flavonoids needed to utilize vitamin C. It also provides a unique cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory compound called sulphorophane. Rich in calcium and vitamin K, it’s great for your bones.
Tahini is high in many minerals, especially calcium and iron. It contains more phytosterols (cholesterol-lowering and cancer-fighting) than any other nut or seed. The nutrients in tahini are more readily absorbed than by eating whole sesame seeds, which have a difficult-to-digest hull.
Onions are high in flavonoids, which provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Regular consumption of onions has been shown to reduce the risk of various types of cancer. Onions also contain phytochemicals that improve the body’s use of vitamin C, making it the perfect accompaniment to the vitamin C rich broccoli in this dish.
- 3 broccoli crowns (about 8-9 cups chopped)
- 1 red onion
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds (about 1 oz.), toasted
- 1/4 cup raisins
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Fresh herbs such as parsley and/or mint, for garnish
- 1 small garlic clove
- 2 Tbsp. tahini
- 2 Tbsp. warm water
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- pinch of cayenne
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut broccoli into bite-sized florets.
- Cut peeled onion in half and slice in to 1/4" - 1/8" strips
- In a large bowl, toss broccoli and onion with the 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss again.
- Spread vegetables evenly over prepared baking sheets and roast for 25-35 minutes, or until tender and browning.
- Combine roasted vegetables in a serving dish and top with almonds and raisins. Drizzle with Lemon Tahini Dressing.
- Mince garlic clove and, using the edge of your knife, mash in to a paste.
- In a small bowl, mix tahini and warm water until smooth.
- Add garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne and stir well.
To fully reap the benefits of the red onion, slice it at least 5 minutes before putting it in the oven. Be careful not to over-peel, as the flavonoids are more concentrated in the outer layers.
Broccoli rapidly loses nutrients over time, so try to use it soon after purchasing.
Lemon Tahini Dressing slightly adapted from Roasted Carrot Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing on A Beautiful Plate.