Sometimes when I’m flat out with work I barely have time to cook a proper meal. This is usually when I end up cooking a fried egg or slicing an avocado and serving either on top of buttered toast with a sprinkle of salt flakes for a quick lunch or dinner.
Barely any more effort than the above is this simple Broccoli and Almond Rice Noodle dish. I love the convenience of two-minute noodles but the sachets they come with are usually full of artificial flavours so I prefer to make my own – it really doesn’t take much more effort and I like being able to customise the flavour to suit my tastebuds.
Broccoli is one of my favourite vegetables and the first thing I reach for when I have a cold or feel one coming on – it’s high in fibre and antioxidants, very high in Vitamin C and also contains potassium, B6 and vitamin A and is said to help digestion, the cardiovascular system and the immune system.
I buy (gluten-free) Waiwai brand rice noodles that can be rehydrated in a bowl of just boiled water. Then, while that’s sitting on the kitchen bench I drop some broccoli into boiling water and set a timer for seven minutes. I’m usually popping between my study and the kitchen at this point – there’s no need to hover.
A few minutes before the broccoli is due, I heat up a small fry pan and throw in some flaked almonds, turning them regularly so they toast but don’t burn. Then once the broccoli is done, I blend most of the broccoli with most of the almonds, adding best quality extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt flakes. Those who prefer a greater hit of flavour can also add a dash of garlic infused extra virgin olive oil and/or chilli oil. Just remember to taste the ‘pesto’ and adjust the seasoning as you go, remembering that the noodles will soak up a lot of the flavour.
Mix the broccoli ‘pesto’ in the noodles, check the seasoning if necessary and then top with reserved florets and almonds. Too easy, right? Enjoy!
- 1 square of rice noodles (rice vermicelli)
- 1 head of broccoli
- ⅓ cup flaked almonds
- 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
- 1.5 tablespoons water (reduce if using more lemon juice)
- Salt flakes, to taste
- Heat up a small sauce pan of water until boiling and then drop broccoli in. Cook, uncovered for 7 minutes and then rinse immediately in cold water to stop the cooking process.
- While that's happening, boil 2 cups water in the kettle. Place the noodles in a medium bowl and cover with water. Leave for 3-5 minute to rehydrate completely.
- At the same time, heat up a small fry pan and toast the almonds by dry-frying them in the pan (i.e. no oil), using a wooden spoon to gently stir them around so they don't burn.
- Reserve a small handful of broccoli and almonds each and then use a stick blender or small food processor to blend the remaining broccoli, almonds, olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
- Mix the 'pesto' through the rice noodles and then check seasoning. Add more lemon juice or salt if desired. Then top with reserved broccoli, almonds and fresh coriander leaves (if desired).
- Best eaten immediately - I find rice noodles don't reheat that well.
Gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free