I adore this time of year, with everything starting to bud & bloom. Spring ushers in some of my all time favourite veggies in the market too. Ok, so you'll probably hear me say this EVERY season, but that's what's exciting about seasonal eating! What's wonderful about this time of year is that every week or so a new veggie makes a seasonal appearance, & I get obsessed with that. Right now, Purple Sprouting Broccoli is my current obsession. Which is how I came up with this Early Spring side dish of Purple Sprouting Broccoli & Herby White Bean Gratin.
We were asked by Steenbergs (who make fabulous herb and spice mixes) to create a recipe with their Organic Herby Lemon Stuffing, as we're including it for our Vegan Larder Deluxe box subscribers to try this March! Initially I had thought of a more traditional recipe, using the stuffing for a pepper or tomato, but as I wandered around the market near where I work, I just couldn't get excited about that idea. It just felt wrong to be trying to make a late summer vegetable work in a recipe in the very earliest of Spring.
What I did find were oodles and oodles of wonderful, fresh looking purple Sprouting broccoli, just picked & looking glossy & gorgeous. So, instead of using the stuffing to 'stuff' something, I've used it as a yummy crunchy/crispy on the outside, soft & squidgy underneath 'gratin' topping to go with the gorgeous green & deep purple spears. The addition of some soft white beans (cannelini in this case) that have been cooked in garlic & wine as an under-layer adds to the overall creamy effect.
This recipe is perfect as a side dish, maybe with a yummy nut roast, roasty potatoes & some gravy! Or with some vegan sausages & mash!
Purple Sprouting Broccoli & Herby White Bean Gratin.
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
- 5-6 spears of Purple Sprouting Broccoli- trimmed (you could also use regular broccoli or cauliflower)
- 1 pack Steenbergs lemon & herb stuffing (you could also use 150g breadcrumbs mixed with lemon zest & dried mixed herbs)
- 1 400g tin white beans (drained) (I used cannelini, however butter beans are also goo)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 1 small onion (finely chopped)
- ⅓ cup white wine
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Sautee the onion & garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent.
- Add the beans & white wine. Cook until the beans start to disintegrate (help them along with the back of the spoon) and the wine evaporates. Season to taste.
- On a shallow oven to table dish (like a flan tin) roughly spoon out all the bean mixture.
- Lay the Broccoli spears over the bean mix.
- Make the stuffing up with ½ cup water and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Spoon over the broccoli, smoothing it out a bit , so there are bits of broccoli poking through.
- Bake in the oven for around 20 mins on 180C (Gas Mark 5) - you want it to be crispy on the outside but not dehydrated!
- Serve as a part of a vegan roast dinner. Yum!
* Disclaimer: The Herby Stuffing was gifted to The Vegan Larder by Steenbergs to create this recipe.