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Love Your GreensThis recipe for Summer Salad of Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Asparagus, Peas and Radish has been reproduced courtesy of Love Your Greens

Purple Sprouting BroccoliBritain’s purple sprouting broccoli growers were facing catastrophe in early June (2011) for a second time in twelve months when the crop was nearly ruined by the dry weather, but recent rainfall has set them back on track for an excellent, healthy and plentiful crop.  Purple sprouting broccoli, which has seen a huge rise in popularity in the last five years with nearly 5,000 tonnes grown in the UK, has come into its summer season early due to the recent, unseasonably warm weather.

British growers start the summer season in June, and plant a winter crop in the autumn, making purple sprouting broccoli an almost year round vegetable. It is a plant which needs a good level of water and the progress of this season’s successful crop has had its challenges.

Cultivated by the Romans, broccoli has been grown in the UK since the early Eighteenth century but purple sprouting broccoli has only come to prominence in the last five years.

Matthew Fort, food critic and presenter of the Great British Menu comments: “Purple sprouting broccoli has a delicate flavour and beautiful leaves which add colour to any dish. It’s a chef’s delight, with a refined flavour. However it’s as much a gourmet food as it is a family vegetable, given how easy it is to prepare, the subtleness of the flavour and soft texture which has wide appeal.”

Not just pretty on the plate, purple sprouting is one of the most nutritious vegetables on the market.  It is packed with vitamin C and is a good source of carotenoids, iron, folic acid, calcium, fibre and vitamin A. Purple sprouting contains more calcium and folic acid than other varieties of broccoli and about 1 - 3 servings (170g) of broccoli a week is believed to lower the risk of cancer.

For more information about purple sprouting broccoli and other vegetables in the brassica family visit –

Purple Sprouting Broccoli Summer SaladThis is a wonderful, healthy salad to try when the season for fresh, British greens begins. By not blanching the green vegetables too much, you will still taste the delicious, crisp texture and freshness. If you cannot get purple sprouting broccoli, then just buy any colour broccoli, with tender stems. Using soya sauce and lime as a dressing helps to bring a salty and oriental flavour to this summery dish.

Ingredients for Purple Sprouting Broccoli Summer Salad

400g fresh purple sprouting broccoli
300g fresh British asparagus
200g fresh radish
200g fresh podded peas
100g sesame seeds
50ml rapeseed, grapeseed or other vegetable oil
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp soya sauce
Half tsp sugar
Sea salt and pepper

How to make Penne with Purple Sprouting Broccoli Summer Salad

  • Firstly prepare the vegetables. Wash and trim the purple sprouting broccoli, the asparagus and the radish.
  • Slice the broccoli and asparagus into 3 cm pieces, and slice the radish thinly.
  • Place the radish in a bowl of cold water.
  • Using a double layered steamer, boil some water and steam the purple sprouting broccoli, the asparagus pieces and the peas for approximately 5 - 7 minutes. The vegetables should be quite tender, but still green and slightly crisp.
  • Remove the vegetables from the steamer and set aside to cool on a clean preparation tray.
  • In a little jug mix together the sesame seeds, rapeseed oil, zest and juice of the lime, the soya sauce, sugar, a pinch of sea salt and a generous grating of black pepper.
  • In a roomy salad bowl, mix together the steamed purple sprouting broccoli, asparagus and peas.
  • Add the drained radish slices.
  • Add the soya and lime dressing.
  • Toss the salad well and serve.
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Serves 4

Love Your Greens

Published with permission of Love Your Greens

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