It’s no secret that I love farmer’s markets. What’s not to love? Bountiful produce, fresh baked goods (including vegan options!), soap, flowers, pickles and more varieties of nut and seed butters than you can shake a stick at–all locally produced.
Seriously, does it get any better than that?
I’ll be the first to admit that money just zips out of my wallet every time I hit up a farmer’s market. It doesn’t matter if it’s the one on Troy, which I tend to visit at least three times a month this time of year, or one I encounter when I’m out of town. My refrigerator could be stuffed with fresh everything and I think I’d still go crazy.
Right about now, everything that grows in head form is showing up at the market in abundance, including broccoli. Now, those of you who are seasoned farmer’s market pros will probably point and laugh at this, but until this year, I’d never bought broccoli at the market before.
I can’t believe what I was missing!
We never had success growing broccoli in our garden, so I always just picked it up at the store when it was on sale. Turns out that broccoli grown locally and harvested when it’s supposed to be harvested is denser, more fibrous and has a much more robust flavor than the dubious-looking green heads you find in the produce section.
I’ll pause while you farmer’s market pros laugh at me again.
The point I’m trying to make as I wander off on broccoli-obsessed tangents is that, when produce this good is in abundance, BUY IT. And while you’re at it, pick up a red pepper and roast it. Add a few chickpeas and voila! You have a late-summer saute that you can toss over pasta and enjoy as you congratulate yourself on a successful farmer’s market visit.
This dish comes together fairly quickly and can be made gluten-free if you use brown rice or quinoa-based pasta. If you’re not in the mood for spaghetti, try rotini, penne or fusilli!
- 8-12oz. whole wheat, brown rice or quinoa spaghetti
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 1 cup onion, diced
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 1 roasted red pepper, homemade or jarred, sliced into strips
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 1lb. broccoli, stems cut into ½-inch pieces, tops chopped into small florets
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15.5oz can, drained and rinsed if canned
- freshly ground black pepper
- nutritional yeast (optional)
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. While it’s cooking, place the onion in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until browned. Add small splashes of water to the pan if necessary to prevent sticking. Add the garlic and cook, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes more, until fragrant.
- Add the broth, roasted red pepper strips and oregano and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half. Add the broccoli, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until bright green, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the chickpeas and black pepper and heat through. When the pasta is done, drain it well, divide it between 4 plates and top with the vegetable/chickpea mixture. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast if desired.
Enjoying the broccoli in this tasty saute will net you a healthy dose of vitamin K and vitamin C along with chromium, folate and everyone’s favorite, fiber! So your bones benefit and you get free-radical-busting antioxidant power! Broccoli even contains omega-3 ALAs that give it the potential to fight unwanted inflammation (Broccoli, n.d.). There are a whole slew of other health benefits packed into this veggie as well–which, of course, are just perks to enjoy on top of how darn delicious it is.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at farmer’s markets?
Broccoli (n.d.). World’s Healthiest Foods. Retrieved from http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=9