12 Meals of Christmas – Day 9 – Pasta with Fresh Broccoli Pesto

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

Broccoli is super. Packed full of nutrients, I try to feature this deliciously crunchy vegetable into my diet daily. Now, simply steaming broccoli every time I eat it can get a little bland. And this has led me to find new ways of bringing it into my diet. One such way is through grating the florets and turning them into a beautiful fresh pesto – and after refining the recipe, I figured that this healthy meal would fit perfectly into the 12 Meals of Christmas series.

So here it is. Gorgeously garlicy, with the crunch of the broccoli and the fragrance of the basil – this easy to make pesto tops a variety of pasta dishes perfectly. And in this particular pasta dish, fried courgette and red onion really help to bring out those vibrant colours.

Pasta with Fresh Broccoli Pesto (Serves 2) VG (with vegan cheese)

Two handfuls of spaghetti

One onion sliced into large chunks

One courgette, chopped into chip-sized chunks

A teaspoon of rosemary

Four florets of broccoli, grated

A handful of crushed walnuts

A pinch of sea salt

A bunch of basil leaves

A lug of olive oil

Two cloves of garlic, crushed

A handful of thinly grated cheddar or vegan parmesan

First, heat a lug of olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Now, slide in your red onion and courgette, frying until they colour up nicely. As your vegetables fry, pop in a little rosemary and then add your spaghetti into a separate pan filled with boiling water and turn the hob onto a high heat.

Once the vegetables start to brown, remove them from the heat and set to one side. Leave your pasta until it begins to soften, and as you wait for this, begin preparing your pesto.

Into a mixing bowl, add your grated broccoli. Follow this with a couple of lugs of the olive oil and the sea salt. Then, add your torn basil, the crushed walnuts, the crushed garlic and either the thinly grated cheddar or vegan parmesan to the mixing bowl and combine everything together thoroughly.

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With your pesto now made, remove the pasta from the hob once soft and drain. Serve up the pasta and vegetables first, before layering up your fresh, zesty raw broccoli pesto. Sit back, relax and indulge on this healthy winter meal.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale and Red Onion Soup

When the days get colder and shorter, there is nothing for it. It’s time to bring out hot soup. And no, that doesn’t mean picking up a ready-made tin from the supermarket. This is the proper stuff.

This butternut squash soup only takes an hour to make, and most of that is spent roasting. Grab yourself some tasty bread and get dunking.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale and Red Onion Soup (VG)

2 servings


Ingredients

Half of a butternut squash, de-skinned, with the seedy flesh in the centres removed

Two red onions, chopped

Chilli pepper, chopped

Two big handfuls of kale

Seasoning

Dash of paprika

Vegan margarine

A vegetable stock cube


Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C. Take your squash halves and slice into smaller chunks. Lay these onto a baking tray and drizzle over a little olive oil. Next, scatter over salt and pepper, as well as the dash of paprika. Place the squash in the oven for 40 minutes or until the skins begin to brown.

Take your squash out of the oven and set to one side. Into a saucepan, drop in your vegan margarine and gently heat until it melts. Pick up your onion and add to the pan. Stir the onions for around 5 minutes, or until they’ve absorbed the margarine and are looking softer.

Grab your baking tray and pop the butternut squash pieces in with the onion. Stir in your chopped chilli and stir the vegetables for a further 5 minutes. Boil a kettle full of water and top the saucepan up with this, so that the water just covers the vegetables. Before covering everything with a lid, add a vegetable stock cube. Leave the vegetables to simmer for around 10 minutes. Just before you remove from the heat, add the kale and push the leaves into the vegetables for 2 minutes or until the edges begin to soften.

Remove the pan from the heat and, taking a hand blender, blitz the vegetables until almost smooth, with some texture still remaining. Serve up into bowls and enjoy with some fresh bread for that perfect curl-up-sofa-TV-feeling.