raw broccoli couscous

Broccoli and pine nut “couscous” (with no couscous)

I’m always on the lookout for carb susbtitutes that provide healthy, dissident alternatives to stodge. This one from my new, favourite cook book, Smashing Plates, by Maria Ella is on the menu tonight.


  • 1 medium head of broccoli, florets only.
  • 30g raisins, soaked in warm water until plump
  • a handful or toasted pine nuts
  • 30g finely chopped fresh mint
  • 30g finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1-2 lemons


Trim the stalks from the broccoli and either give them to the dog (great for their teeth) or save for a vegetable soup or puree. Place half the florets in the food processor and pulse blitz until their texture resembles cous cous. Pour into a large bowl and repeat with the other half.

Add the drained raisins, pine nuts, mint and parsley then season with sea salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil.

Stir and serve.

You can make this ahead of time by refrigerating and adding the dressing just before serving.

Maria Ella teams this recipe with rare roast lamb but you can make it a lunchtime snack by adding feta or halloumi, and it would pair well with salmon or roast chicken too.

Dissident tip:

If you are in the very early stages of weight loss, or very carb sensitive, you might want to avoid the raisins. Consider adding a little chopped chilli instead to give a bit of zing, or some finely chopped red pepper and lemon zest.

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