Gluten-free Braised Broccoli Rabe with Chickpeas, Za’atar, and Tahini Drizzle features the Middle Eastern flavors of tahini and za’atar to mellow out the pleasantly tangy bite of broccoli rabe.
It was the funniest thing; recently I was eating lunch alone, attempting to multitask and finish up an article with a deadline approaching while downing a hot bowl of creamy tomato soup. Since I was there by myself, I thought getting work done would be a breeze and I’d have time to spare, maybe time enough to grab a coffee after lunch. It ended up being a pretty entertaining lunch after all.
Seated one table over was a soft-spoken mother with her son, a sandy-haired boy with big brown eyes and an inquisitive disposition who looked about seven; he was a riot. He dug into his soup with fervor, but ate it surprisingly elegantly for a kid. He dipped his spoon in, thoughtfully looked at the noodles, and replied to his mom, “Do you want to know what’s really surprising? Some people don’t like chicken noodle soup.” I couldn’t make out the mom’s reply, but he listened attentively and then resumed enjoying his soup, nodding along at whatever she had said. “What makes some people think the way they do?” he asked next, and then a minute later, “Mom, would you rather break an arm or a leg?” This got me thinking, would I rather break an arm or a leg? These are the sort of deep questions that as adults we don’t have time to contemplate on a daily basis, lol.
The questions we think about as adults typically relate to saving time (how am I going to squeeze grocery shopping in between soccer practice and my doctor’s appointment?), money (did I pay the mortgage this month?), and other fun adult stuff like when was the last time the kiddos ate a green veggie?
I can help with at least that last question. One of the biggest struggles to get kids (and husbands) to eat healthy is to keep things interesting. I’m telling you from experience because even dark chocolate (my favorite) tends to feel a little less special if I have it every single day. Enter a delicious vegetable that deserves a little more time in the spotlight: Andy Boy broccoli rabe! (I look for the pink label! Not only are their organic products top-quality, but it really matters to me that they take things like recycling, how they treat their employees, and philanthropy seriously.)
Here garlic and olive oil bring out the best in broccoli rabe; chickpeas bump up the fiber and protein and a creamy tahini sauce adds a nice textural and flavor contrast. Za’atar, a Middle Eastern thyme spice mix, is definitely one of the stars of the show, adding a bright, earthy flavor. If you have pine nuts on hand, toast up a small handful because their nutty crunch takes this dish to the next level.
Fuel up with this recipe and you’ll have more time to ponder the deeper questions, lol.
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons plain, unsweetened yogurt
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- 1 (1 lb/450 g) bunch Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe, rinsed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- ½ cup (120 ml) low-sodium vegetable, chicken, or beef stock
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (15.5 oz) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2½ teaspoons za’atar spice mix, divided
- For the tahini drizzle, whisk together all ingredients until smooth; cover and refrigerate until serving.
- For the broccoli rabe, trim off the tough bottom part of the broccoli rabe stems, and then chop the broccoli rabe into 2 to 3-inch pieces.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the oil, broccoli rabe, garlic, stock, salt, and pepper. Cover the skillet but keep the lid ajar and cook until the broccoli rabe is nearly tender, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chickpeas, uncover the skillet, and cook until the liquid is evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Turn off the heat and stir in 2 teaspoons za’atar.
- Transfer the broccoli rabe mixture to a serving dish. Drizzle the tahini sauce on top and sprinkle on the remaining ½ teaspoon za’atar. Serve immediately.
Disclosure: I received the Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe that I used in this recipe for free, and I also received compensation for this post. I am happy for the opportunity to share brands that I believe in with my readers, and I hope you enjoy my recipe. As always, opinions stated are my own.
Heather Brown says
A very pretty meal!
[email protected] says
I love broccoli rabe, but never think to make it at home. That needs to change ASAP!
What a sweet story. I love how kids just say what comes to mind and how literal they are.
I love broccoli rabe and Andy Boy is the exact brand that we buy. The quality is excellent! And this dish looks like the perfect way to use it. I usually just blanch it and then douse it with good olive oil, some crushed red pepper and flaky salt. But the way you’ve prepared it is a must try!
Kim Beaulieu says
This recipe is absolutely amazing and full of flavour. Love it.
I love the story about the little boy. They think so differently than we do. I will say even though I broke my leg only a few months ago and it was a pain, I would rather that than my arm. At least with your leg, you can still do some things. Not much, but some. I’d rather break nothing though. That’s the perfect answer. ha
I could live on broccoli rabe. Lovin’ this dish. Also, that is one gorgeous background.
Angie | Big Bear's Wife says
Those are the types of random questions I think of at like 3am when I can’t sleep hahaha. Love this Broccoli rabe!
Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy says
LOVE all these Middle Eastern flavors!!
Brandy | Nutmeg Nanny says
Broccoli Rabe is such a great base! Everything looks so flavorful!
Alyssa | EverydayMaven says
Broccoli Rabe is one of my favorite greens EVER! It’s really hard to find out here for some reason and when it is available, it’s $$$$. I’ll look next time and see if I can find this brand!
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says
What a great way to eat broccoli rabe! I think this could get me to eat my veggies!
Fantastic! I love broccoli rabe and all the other ingredients you used in this dish.