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.
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 (used a Diaspora Co. Guntur Sannam 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!
Seared Broccolini with Chili Hazelnuts, Whipped Tahini & Wheat Berries
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
- ⅓ cup water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 small dried chili (or a pinch of chili flakes)
- ⅓ 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)
- 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.
- 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.