Sesame Broccoli with Sautéed Scallions

broccoli with scallionsThis recipe might just win the award for Most Sustainable Paleoveganista Recipe to date. I would call it radical, but then again most of my recipes fall into that category.

After living in a tent this summer (in a region where the drought in California struck rather significantly) it made sense to pay more attention to my “water footprint” and how to reduce it. When not at work and dining in the mess hall or teaching campers how to cook over a fire, I mostly ate raw vegetables. When I wanted the meal to look nice, I used a leatherman (pocket knife) to chop the cabbage (my dietary staple since 2010, it doesn’t require washing or boiling—as opposed to broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, and pretty much every other vegetable other than onions). Don’t get me wrong—I love onions, especially when raw…but I’d never try to make a meal out of a raw onion. Cooked onions on the other hand, I could probably live on. Back to cabbage; like onions, they have layers. Like I do. Ha. Broccoli and cauliflower on the other hand, or romanesco (the vegetable I find most aesthetically intriguing, as indicated by the Paleoveganista logo) are visions of fractal geometry and perhaps inspired the concept itself. *For anyone who would like to nerd out with me on this: just google(scholar) fractals, romanesco, doctrine of signatures—or ask me about books and publications/journal articles for recommended reading.

So, I have worked toward developing recipes that require fewer tools, appliances, and natural resources. Some things I pondered and insights intwined with my personal experiences include:

If the campground you stay at allows it, it—why not build a fire and cook over it rather than haul a propane stove and rely on the propane fuel? Granted, I haven’t always backpacked in to my camping destination. I grew up using propane stoves on camping trips and rarely hiking in more than 1 mile from the car to set up camp. Smaller backpacking stoves are one thing, but 2-burner Coleman stoves are another. That’s a lot of work. As I got older and started backpacking by myself or with friends or significant others, I never used pots or pans. We generally relied on cans of mixed vegetables or black beans (which taste great straight from the can when you’re hungry) or leftover almonds from the trail mix (never bring trail mix with chocolate on a trek, fyi). Raw cacao beans work well for energy, however. You can eat them with dried fruit (to sweeten the acidity) or on their own (if you like acidity or don’t mind it). You can also eat coffee beans if you don’t have water to boil them in, or don’t want to stop but feel a lapse in stamina. In many regions of the western hemisphere, wild blackberries or varieties of them grow along the trail. So do wild greens. In any case of foraging along the trail, be sure to identify it first.

This recipe for Sesame Broccoli with Sautéed Scallions utilizes a single burner and one pot + one skillet. There are several ways to make it happen, depending on your resources.

I boiled an artichoke the night before and saved the water. I used this to boil the broccoli (covered) for 5 minutes. Then I removed the pot of broccoli from the heat, and transferred the skillet to the flame. I added 1 Tbsp sesame oil to the skillet and then the sliced scallions. After 1 minute, I covered the skillet and removed it from the heat. I returned the pot of broccoli in broth to the heat, left it there (covered) for 1 minute while I cleaned the cutting board and knife. I turned off the heat and removed the pot from heat, replacing it with the skillet to absorb the residual heat. Then I served the broccoli in broth and topped it with the sautéd scallions. From start to finish, it took 10 minutes. Here’s how:


Bring water (or vegetable water/broth) to a boil whilst chopping the broccoli into florets. Chop the stalks also, after removing any unusable parts. Add chopped broccoli and stalks to the boiling water. Salt the water if not using veg broth/water. Cover, and reduce heat to slightly lower setting. Chop the scallions, and add 1 tsp sesame oil to your skillet. If you don’t have a skillet, wait to chop the scallions until they are cooked. In this case, place the scallions evenly over the grate (if campfire cooking) or (if using a camp stove) place them over the flame and let them broil for a minute and then turn them over (assuming you have tongs or something else to safely flip them with). When cooked, remove onions from the fire or flame and set aside to cool.

Return the pot of broccoli to the fire after checking to determine whether or not more water is needed. After that, once scallions have cooled, use a knife to slice them horizontally. Remove broccoli from the fire and/or turn off heat, pour broccoli/broth into bowls and top with the scallions. Top with fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice, if desired. Be sure to safely put out your fire.
broccoli scallions

*If you cook the scallions over a campfire and/or did not sauté them in sesame oil, drizzle each bowl with a modest amount (a few drops) of sesame oil if you have it on hand.

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