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Ingredient of the Week: Broccoli

broccoliMmm…broccoli.  I shunned it so thoroughly as a child that I blocked it from my memory: I’ve managed to convince myself that it wasn’t introduced to Ireland until 1990. But as with so many other things, my slightly more grown-up palate can appreciate the charms of broccoli, and now I cook it all the time.

Broccoli is in season at the moment, and is rich in Vitamin C and fibre. It makes a great component of meat and three veg, but there’s so much more that  you can do with it.  We’ll be featuring a number of broccoli recipes this week.

Broccoli, Feta and Tomato Salad

This salad originally came from the Avoca Cafe Cookbook, and you can buy their version of it in their cafes.


  • 1 head broccoli
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Feta cheese – the best and cheapest feta can be bought in blocks in halal shops
  • Whole or chopped hazelnuts (optional)
  • Salad dressing – use a bought viniagrette dressing or make the one from this recipe


  1. Steam the broccoli for about 4-5 minutes: it’s essential that the broccoli is crunchy so keep a close eye on it and don’t let it overcook.
  2. Put the feta, broccoli and tomatoes into a bowl and toss together. Pour over the salad dressing and sprinkle the hazelnuts.


  1. where is there a halal shop ? i live in D7 and work in D2 so anywhere in or between the two (ie: city centre) ?

    • Hi SJ – Moore St and Parnell St are your sweet spots for halal shops. The Spice of Life on Moore St and Madina on Parnell St are particularly good. The best feta I’ve ever tasted, however, comes from Camden Halal on Camden St. It’s next door to Listons, which also sells very similar feta.

  2. I love broccoli and stilton soup. Fry some garlic and onion, add chopped broccoli and stock and bring to the boil. Blend to the desired consistency (with some cream if you want). Drop in crumbed pieces of stilton and serve so that the chunks of stilton are slightly melted. Mmm

  3. I’d replace the hazelnuts with some chickpeas and it would make a more filling meal. A balsamic type dressing works really well with feta too.

  4. Jean, the other Avoca “broccoli” recipe that is so, so yummy and perfect for a chilly day is their Chicken and Broccoli Gratin.

    If you follow Avoca’s recipe exactly it can be time consuming, so you can also easily use left-over roast chicken and use store bought stock instead of making your own.

    I make a big portion for the adults and then put kids portions in little ramekins and they devour it!

  5. ooo I love broccoli, nothing like it steamed and then sauteed with garlic, red chilli and lemon juice!!

  6. If you can come up with a recipe for fried chili broccoli that my local Chinese does I’ll love you forever.

  7. I followed my own recipe for Chicken Brocolli this week and found it much cheaper, easier and nicer than Avoca’s (Not to blow my own trumpet…) I will post it later this week.

  8. the right place to find your books