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Max La Manna’s Broccoli Stem Pesto Pasta Salad

In his latest exclusive recipe for The Happy Foodie, Max La Manna shares a super flexible recipe for broccoli pasta. This vegan-friendly dish uses broccoli stems and whatever herbs you have to hand to create a vibrant pesto that's perfect with pasta, rippled through yoghurt to make a dip or drizzled on salads.

Introduction

I love all salads, but if we’re being honest, pasta salads are the best salads. I especially love this one because it makes use of the whole broccoli. Broccoli stems are so often wasted because people think they are inedible or not as tasty as the tender tops, but you can use them in plenty of ways. You can slice them thinly – try using a mandolin- and toss them into a salad. I love making a raw broccoli Caesar using this trick. In this salad, I use the chunky stem to make an insanely delicious pesto. Use any pasta shapes you like, and when it comes to the pesto, you can also play around with the herbs you want to use, using up any that are looking a little tired in the fridge. You can also swap the nuts around for whatever you have in the cupboard. This pesto recipe is such a keeper-  you can use it in potato salads, swirl it into yoghurt to have it as a dip, or add extra lemon juice and toss it with leaves as a fresh zesty salad dressing.

Side note- using the pasta water to cook the broccoli is a real time (and water) saver.

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Ingredients

2 heads broccoli
3 cloves garlic
30g parsley
30g mint
50g pine nuts, toasted, plus extra to serve
1 lemon
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
25g vegan Parmesan
olive oil
350g farfalle or rigatonni
200g peas

Essential kit

You will need: a mini chopper.

Method

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Cut the stem off the broccoli, then cut the heads into florets.

Roughly chop the stem and add to the boiling water, cook for 5 mins, until bright green. Scoop the stems from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and tip into a bowl of ice. Drain and add to a mini chopper with most of the parsley and mint, pine nuts, lemon zest and juice, nutritional yeast, and vegan parmesan. Season well and add 3 tbsp of olive oil-blitz into a chunky pesto. Add a little more olive oil if it needs loosening. Add to the base of a large mixing bowl.

Tip the pasta into the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions- adding the broccoli florets 3 mins before the end of the time and the peas for 30 seconds, drain and rinse with cold water until cool. Tip into the large mixing bowl and toss.

Spoon into bowls and top with the remaining herbs. Add a little lemon zest and vegan parmesan.

Exclusive

This recipe is exclusive to The Happy Foodie

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