Choosing a Recipe of the Month for November was a challenge. Brian and I have tried a lot of new recipes this month, but many of them weren't veggie-centric, and most weren't vegan. My new lower-carb regime has required me to shift in just the opposite direction, eating a lot more animal products in order to get the required ratio of protein and fat to carbohydrates. Brian has experimented with reduced-carb versions of lots of foods, from pumpkin bread (a big success, not just with me but with pretty much everyone who has tried it) to pancakes (much less successful; they weren't as filling as real pancakes and not nearly as filling as my standard breakfast of high-fiber toast and cocoa). But making these treats low-carb generally means using almond flour, which doesn't rise without a lot of eggs to help it along. I was beginning to wonder whether I might have to abandon the idea of making my Recipe of the Month vegan, as I've done for the past three years, and go back to posting any kind of recipe that features vegetables or fruits (most likely vegetables, since even fruit is too high in carbs for me to eat much of anymore).
Well, it may still come to that, but I can put off the decision for one more month, at least. And that's thanks to a new veggie side dish we added to this year's Thanksgiving menu: Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Garlic.
I knew Thanksgiving was going to be a challenge for me this year. My folks always get a free-range turkey so I can partake of it, but my favorite part of the meal has always been the side dishes, and most of those are pretty high in carbs. My dad's stuffing is mostly brown rice with apples, mushrooms, onions, pecans, and herbs. We also have white and sweet potatoes and whole-berry cranberry sauce. Usually, the only vegetable on the table is herbed carrots, which not only aren't really my favorite, but are also pretty high in carbs as non-starchy vegetables go. So filling half my plate with those wasn't really going to work for me.
When I voiced this concern to Brian, he said he would be happy to add another vegetable dish to the feast if I could come up with one I liked. And when I brought up the idea with the rest of the family, I heard a lot of support for the idea of adding a green veggie to the meal. So I did a quick search on "low-carb Thanksgiving sides" and found a very simple-looking roasted broccoli recipe at Taste of Home. When I proposed this to the family, my aunt requested that we leave out the pepper, which she can't eat. So instead, Brian decided to do the broccoli with lemon and garlic, which is how my uncle said he usually makes it.silicone baking mats. He popped that in the oven, turned it up to 450F, and let it cook for about 20 minutes, stirring it once. By the time we'd finished taking our annual family photo, it was tender and flavorful. He transferred it to a bowl, sprinkled it with a little more salt and about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, and added it—with some difficulty—to the array of dishes already crowding the table.
This simple recipe was a hit with most of the family. My dad didn't care for it, saying he prefers his broccoli only lightly cooked. But all the other adults at the table ate it with gusto, leaving none left over at the end of the meal. Fortunately, I was able to get enough to fill a quarter of my plate, which was the point of the exercise.
So will we make this dish again? Maybe, maybe not. This is really a side dish, and we don't tend to follow the main-dish-plus-sides style of eating. We're much more likely to use broccoli as a component of a dish like sesame tofu or lemon-garlic Soy Curls. But it might make a suitable companion to a protein-forward main dish like vegan Swedish meatballs. (Although these meatless balls are rather carb-heavy, I could still have them as long as we stick to carb-light side dishes, like mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes.) Or better yet, it could accompany something else that needs to be baked, such as the low-carb version of our favorite butternut squash lasagna (made with sliced hearts of palm in place of noodles), and take advantage of the already-hot oven.