Seared Broccolini with Chili Hazelnuts, Whipped Tahini & Wheat Berries

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 7 votes

A flavourful and hearty side dish. Seared broccolini with chili-fried hazelnuts, whipped garlicky tahini, and wheat berries is easy to make and only has 10 ingredients.

An overhead shot of a broccolini dish on a brown plate.
An up close and overhead shot of a broccolini dish on a brown plate.
An overhead shot of ingredients for a vegetable dish.
An overhead shot of nuts being fried in a pan.

Posting some vegetable goodness today because I honestly kind of need it myself! My partner (and the dogs hehe) are moving in 3 weeks and things are starting to ramp up. To avoid yet another takeout evening, I stocked up our fridge with lots of green things. On that grocery trip, the broccolini looked amazing and I saw date syrup for the first time locally. Wheels started turning!

So we wound up with this seared broccolini with chili-fried hazelnuts, whipped tahini with that date syrup and lots of garlic, and some chewy wheat berries. Date syrup is made by boiling dates down with water, blending that mixture, straining, and then reducing that liquid to a syrup. This product is also known as silan, date nectar, or date honey. It is so flavourful and it really gives a strong honey vibe. I just love it here with the tahini, the seared edges of broccolini, lemon, the crunchy hazelnuts, and garlic.

I originally just wanted to do a simple broccolini and tahini dish, but as I was frying the hazelnuts and taking in that toasty aroma, I started thinking about nutty grains like farro and wheat berries. We always have cooked wheat berries ready to go in the freezer, so they went in. The result is a much heartier and complete side dish.

Truly the easiest move for consuming more vegetables is to make a flavourful sauce and the simply sear or roast some veggies. See my Grounding Roasted Roots with Herbed Jalapeño Yogurt, Grilled Cabbage with Sunshine Tahini Sauce, or my Loaded Brussels Sprout Salad with Creamy Maple Mustard Dressing.

There are just layers of flavour with this recipe! The tahini is fatty, lush, super garlicky and creamy. The hazelnuts get fried with a dried chili in olive oil, resulting in lots of crunch, spice, and deep toasty-ness. The broccolini is bright and tender with a hint of lemon. And then the wheat berries offer a bit of chewy texture contrast with that perfect note of nutty flavour. Hope you give it a try soon!

An overhead shot of a creamy sauce in a food processor bowl.
An overhead shot of cooked broccolini in a pan.
An overhead shot of a hand spooning a creamy sauce on to a plate.
An overhead shot of a broccolini dish on a brown plate.

Seared Broccolini with Chili Hazelnuts, Whipped Tahini & Wheat Berries

A flavourful and hearty side dish. Seared broccolini with chili hazelnuts, whipped tahini, and wheat berries is easy to make and only has 10 ingredients.
5 from 7 votes
An overhead shot of a broccolini dish on a brown plate.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Whipped Tahini (makes extra)

  • ½ cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon date syrup (or agave, maple syrup etc)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • cup water

Broccolini Etc.

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 small dried chili (or a pinch of chili flakes)
  • cup roughly chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 bunch broccolini, bottom ends trimmed
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • splash water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked wheat berries (see notes)

Notes

  • You can use the remainder of the whipped tahini as a simple, classic tahini sauce! Just add a bit of water to it to thin it out beforehand as the “whipped” texture for this recipe is quite thick.
  • I cook wheat berries ahead of time as part of my food prep! I follow the instructions on Flourist’s website and combine 1 part wheat berries to 4 parts water, and then simmer that for 40-55 minutes. For more instructions (including for the Instant Pot) click over here.
  • I kept the broccolini pieces long for the aesthetics! They would be a lot easier to eat if you cut them into 2-3 inch pieces. You could cut down the cooking time by a couple minutes if you go with this option.

Instructions

  • Make the whipped tahini. In a food processor, combine the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, date syrup, olive oil, and sea salt. Pulse until the garlic is finely chopped. Then, with the motor on low, drizzle the water in through the feed tube. Stop the food processor to scrape down the sides and pulse it a couple more times. The resulting texture should be a thick, somewhat whipped-like texture, but still fluid enough to pour off of a spoon. Once you have it right and seasoned to your liking, set the whipped tahini aside in the fridge in a container.
  • Set a medium skillet over medium high heat and pour in the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the dried chili and stir it around for 30 seconds or so. Then, add the chopped hazelnuts. Fry the hazelnuts, stirring constantly, until they are slightly darkened and very toasty smelling, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Transfer the hazelnuts to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving as much of the infused oil in the skillet as you can. Set aside.
  • Return the skillet to the stove and set it to medium heat. You should still have at least a tablespoon of olive oil (and the dried chili!) in there. If not, add some more olive oil. Then, place all the broccolini in the skillet. Let it sear on one side for 2 minutes. Then, using tongs, flip the pieces over and let them sear for another 4-5 minutes or so, giving the pan a shake here and there. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Once the broccolini is seared on both sides and starting to look bright green, pour in a splash of water and place a lid on top. Let the broccolini steam until the thickest parts of the stalk are tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the lid and sprinkle the broccolini with the lemon juice. Remove the broccolini from the heat.
  • To serve: Spoon ¾ of the whipped tahini onto the center of your serving plate. Spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. Then, scatter the wheat berries evenly over the surface of the tahini. Then, place the seared broccolini on top. Finally, garnish the dish with the fried hazelnuts, a few extra dabs of date syrup (if you like), and a few twists of black pepper. Serve immediately.
An overhead shot of a broccolini dish on a brown plate.
03/03/2021 (Last Updated 07/03/2024)
Posted in: autumn, bitter, broccoli, creamy, quick, refined sugar-free, salad, salty, sauce, side dish, spicy, spring, summer, tahini, vegan, winter

9 comments

Recipe Rating




  • SK

    Hi there! Is there a way to make the tahini cream without a food processor? I don’t have one at the moment.

    Thanks so much!

  • Megan

    5 stars
    This came out so so good! Fantastic balance of flavors. I used additional sprinkle of Aleppo peppers and it added nice mild heat. Such a bomb dish. 
    Out of curiosity, can you whip the tahini in advance and store in the fridge if you want to use it all week?

    • Laura

      Hi Megan,
      So glad that you enjoyed this recipe! You could make the whipped tahini in advance, but it will firm up quite a bit in the fridge. With that in mind, you may want to bring it to room temperature before serving or simply whisk it up with a couple splashes of water.
      -L

      • Megan

        Thank you so much for the tip! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

  • Marie

    5 stars
    I made this with asparagus instead of broccolini for Easter and it was hugely popular!! Used the leftover whipped tahini and nuts with brussels later in the week. Can’t wait to try it when I find some good broccolini. The combination of flavors is perfect, especially those chili hazelnuts.

  • Ann

    5 stars
    I forgot the stars

  • Ann

    Laura,in the words of my family, ‘This is better than eating at a fine dining establishment’.  This is one of my all time favorites!  Thank you!

  • f

    sounds a amazing! how many does it serve as a main? i am definitely going to try this recipe

    • Laura

      Hi there!
      I think you could serve 2-3 as a main here! Depending on how generous your bunch of broccolini is ;)
      -L