Spring is the time for green – or at least it seems so when it comes to seasonal vegetables. As we head into the hungry gap, the time between the end of stored winter veg and the start of the new harvest, green is definitely the dominant colour. With a splash of powerful purple in the form of purple sprouting broccoli.
And powerful it is! All veg, and fruit, with a purple tinge are packed with extra strong anti-oxidants which help fight damaging free radical compounds and support our bodies right down at cellular level (you can find out more about this in my book Eat Well Live Well).
The purple comes from tiny compounds in the plant called anthocyanin. Concentrated amounts of these chemicals do wonders. They’re found in many different coloured fruits and vegetables but more so in purple. In fact, when it comes to broccoli, purple sprouting has 6 times the amount of anthocyanin compared to green. Hence why it’s good stuff!
That’s not to say that broccoli isn’t already powerful in it’s own gorgeous green way. Far from it. Being part of the cruciferous family, broccoli contains other highly bioactive compounds, including isothiocyanates. These chemicals have been proven to be strong anti-oxidants and can even help prevent cancerous cells from getting out of control. I’ve written about the wonders of cruciferous veggies before – you can find the posts here and here.
So in a nut shell, purple sprouting contains all the awesomeness of broccoli plus the power of purple. What’s not to love?
Purple sprouting is a hardy crop and can flourish at low temperatures during winter. It’s season runs from January through to May, so there’s still time to grab some of these lovely stems, especially as it’s not been particularly warm this Spring so far.
This recipe uses two types of cruciferous veggies – kale as well as the purple sprouting, so even more of a nutrient boost. Just remember to chop the veg before you want to use it to allow the enzyme myrosinase to do it’s magic and activate the bioactive compounds. Thirty minutes should do it.
The tart isn’t too difficult to make – the pastry is the most technical bit but still not too hard. I have a post with my top tips on how to make low fat pastry here – it should help if you’re struggling.
You can of course make this tart any time of the year – sub the purple sprouting with normal broccoli and use whatever kale is in season. You could also use chard or seasonal greens, but increase the raw volume as they contain a lot of water which is lost when heated.
I hope you enjoy this delicious tart. It’s a super tasty way of enjoying the nutritional wonders of powerful fresh food. Do let me know how you get on.
Broccoli and kale tart
For the pastry
- 150 grams wholemeal or spelt flour gluten free flour mix (with xanthum gum)
- 2 tbsp nut butter of choice or tahini
- pinch salt
- 5 tbsp water
For the filling
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 medium medium bunch purple sprouting broccoli OR small head of broccoli chopped into small florets or slices
- 2-3 handfuls kale or cavolo nero washed and roughly chopped
- 300 grams silken tofu
- 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 clove of garlic, grated OR 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch ground turmeric
- salt and pepper to taste
Make the pastry
- Measure the flour into a large bowl and add the salt. Mix to combine. Add the nut butter or tahini and rub into the flour with your fingers to create a breadcrumb texture.
- Add 4 tablespoons of water and mix it into the flour first with a spoon and then with your fingers to form a dough – if it’s too dry, adda little more water but take care not to make it soggy. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
- Place the pastry onto a sheet of non-stick baking paper and cover with another sheet. Roll the pastry out so that it will fill a 22cm flan tin. Peel off the top sheet of paper, inverse the pastry over the tin and peel off the second layer of paper so the pastry falls into the tin. Trim the edges and patch any breaks or uneven areas as need.
- Crumple the baking paper up and place in the middle of the pastry. Place in the oven and blind back for 8-10 minutes until the base feels firm.
Make the filling
- Whilst the pastry is baking, heat a couple of tablespoons of water in a large frying pan and sauté the onions with a pinch of salt. Once they start to soften, add the purple sprouting/broccoli and chopped kale. Pop a lid over the top and steam for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the lid so they don’t overcook and lose their colour.
- Whilst the veggies are cooking, place the silken tofu, nutritional yeast, garlic, turmeric and salt and pepper into a Nutribullet jug and blend for a few seconds to combine.
- Pour the sauce into the veggie pan and stir well to make sure everything is well coated. Check the flavour and add more seasonal as needed.
Construct and bake
- Once the pastry case is ready, remove it from the oven. Spoon the cooked veggies and sauce mix into the pastry and spread it out so it's well filled. Make sure all the veg is covered with sauce.
- Return the tart to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the filling has set. Remove from the oven and eat hot or leave to cool and eat cold – it’s yummy either way.