Ready for the most heavenly vegan side dish chock full of vitamin C, K, fiber, and minerals? Broccoli with Creamy Orange Sauce and toasted pine nuts will satisfy your craving for sweet, salty, crunchy, and rich all on one plate AND give you the best bang for your nutritional buck. One of my favorite challenges is cooking vegan recipes because I’m constantly trying to find a nice balance of richness without any dairy. This recipe has some of my favorite “go-to” condiments that really round out the dish, and add health benefits at the same time.
What is Tahini?
Tahini is basically sesame paste. Most often used in hummus, it also adds a nutty, earthy flavor to sauces and marinades, and adds depth and richness to vegan foods and desserts. Let’s take apart its main ingredient and see what it can do for our health.
Sesame seeds are an amazing source of calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and especially copper. Copper is a trace mineral that plays an important role in making our blood vessels strong and stretchy. It’s also pretty important in the anti-inflammatory processes of the body and is known to ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Coconut Aminos contains 2 ingredients, organic coconut tree sap and sea salt. It’s soy free, making it quite popular among Paleo dieters and anyone with a soy allergy. Anytime a recipe calls for soy sauce I add this instead. The taste is very similar, yet it contains less sodium and no funky ingredients. It’s also gluten-free, making it the perfect substitution for soy sauce if you are celiac or on the gluten-sensitive spectrum.
I use a TON of coconut products when I cook for their zillions of benefits ranging from heart- health, blood sugar control, weight loss, and overall taste. My friends make fun of me because I have a bottle in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. It’s seriously good for so many things! The coconut aminos in particular though are a great source of minerals, B vitamins, and especially amino acids.
You can certainly just toss the pine nuts in at the end without toasting them first, but I like the warmer flavor it brings when caramelized just a tad.
For the broccoli
2 medium heads of broccoli
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
Begin by toasting the Pine nuts.
Spray a cast iron skillet with coconut oil spray or a small dab of butter. Turn on medium heat, then add the pine nuts. Heat about 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until they start to brown.
Rinse dry the broccoli well and transfer to a clean cutting board. Chop in about 1 inch pieces, using some of the stems. Set aside.
In large stock pot or cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic on medium heat until it softens a bit. Add the broccoli and cook 10-15 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently and adding a splash of water here and there to prevent sticking.
While broccoli is cooking make the sauce
½ cup tahini
1 Tbsp coconut nectar (or maple syrup)
Juice of 1 orange
2 Tbsp fresh orange zest (separated)
2 tsp liquid aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
1 tsp rice vinegar
½ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
Combine tahini, coconut nectar, orange juice, 1 Tbsp orange zest, liquid aminos, rice vinegar, and pepper into mini food processor and pulse until well combined. If mixture is too thick, add a small amount of water until you reach a consistency you like. Set aside.
Once broccoli softens, spoon the sauce into the pot along with the pine nuts and stir well. Sprinkle with the additional Tbsp orange zest. Serve immediately.
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