I love veggies, and among my favorite is broccolini. Broccolini is not baby broccoli, instead it is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale created back in the 1990’s. This is NOT some genetic engineering product. It is a product of slow cross pollination efforts – that’s what all hybrid plants are.
Broccolini is tender and slightly more mild and sweeter than traditional broccoli. All parts are edible and are particularly delicious when sauteed with garlic.
Well, this week broccolini saved the day. I typically do my food shopping once every two weeks and receive fresh produce each Wednesday. Getting fresh produce midweek is a game changer, especially on the second week as the food supply diminishes.
It was Friday, the day before food shopping, and I was running low on just about everything. I was planning on making BLT’s for lunch, but then discovered that we only had three slices of bread. I then thought about veggie omelettes, but you guessed it, no eggs. No pasta. No substantial protein for a salad. No cheese. With three teenage boys and my mother to feed, I was a bit stumped.
But then I focused on what I did have: some leftover chicken from dinner (not enough on its own), bacon, sundried tomatoes, beans, my three slices of gluten free bread, and lots of broccolini. So I loaded everything onto the counter and began to toss together lunch. And you know what? It was good, very good, and it came together in a snap in under 30 minutes.
Sometimes the best meals happen like that!
Chicken & Broccolini Panzanella Skillet
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
2 bunches broccolini, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup cubed, cooked chicken
15 oz. can cannelini beans, drained, rinsed
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil & herbs, drained & chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup cubed gluten free bread (about three small slices)
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Cut the gluten free bread slices into small cubes (about 16 cubes per slice). Place them onto a baking sheet or the tray of a toaster oven, bake at 350 for 7-9 minutes. The bread should be toasted but not solid and hard like croutons. Since every oven is different, keep an eye on them and check for the proper doneness (lightly toasted).
Meanwhile, saute the onion in the olive oil and butter for 3-5 minutes. Stir often. Add in the minced garlic, and saute for an additional minute.
Add in the chopped broccolini (stems and florets) and the last tablespoon of olive oil. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in the lemon juice, cooked chicken, beans, sundried tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until everything is heated through.
Turn off the heat and stir in the cubed, toasted bread cubes, bacon crumbles, and fresh basil.
Divide among four bowls; top with a bit of parmesan cheese, and serve.