Photo by Sophie Mackenzie WHOLEHEARTED EATS


While broccoli stems are often thought of as tough and fibrous, peeling them reveals a tender and sweet centre which is great to roast, add to slaw, or in this case pureé into a creamy sauce. The combination of lemon, capers, olive oil, and vibrant green broccoli make for a super springy main that’s rich and creamy as any nutty vegan mac and cheese. The addition of making a quick version of plant-based ricotta out of homemade almond milk pulp helps add a salty hit and a great cheese-like lusciousness. And to think, we often compost the stuff. Happy week and here’s to doing more with less

SERVES:   2-3

DIETARY CONSIDERATION:  Vegan, Vegetarian, Sugar-Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free



  • Around 2 bunches broccoli

  • 2 ½ cups nettles (or kale), lightly packed

  • 2 teaspoons capers

  • Zest from ½ lemon

  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

  • ½ tsp. sea salt

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • 1 cup blanched almonds, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed

  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

  • ½ tsp. garlic powder

  • ½ tsp. sea  salt 


  • 450 gr. (1 lb.) pasta

  • Toasted breadcrumbs for serving



Combine the soaked almonds and 3 cups filtered water in the container of a high speed blender and blend on high for 30-60 seconds. Strain the milk through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a bowl. Tie up the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the almond milk and save the rest for another use. Transfer the almond pulp to a medium bowl. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and reserved almond milk and stir well to combine. Set aside.


Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil. Peel the broccoli stems and cut into ½ inch rounds (you should have about 2 cups). Add the stems to the boiling water. Blanch the broccoli stems for 7-10 minutes, until very tender. Add the nettles (or kale) to the pot and blanch for a few more minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli stems and nettles to the container of a high speed blender (no need to rinse it out from the milk). Add the capers, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt and 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Blend on high until completely smooth. With the blender running at medium, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream to the sauce.

Cut the rest of the broccoli into bite sized florets and set aside.


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes. Add the broccoli florets and cook for another 3 minutes. Drain the pasta before returning it to the pot. Add the sauce to the pot and stir well to evenly coat. Serve with dollops of ricotta and toasted breadcrumbs.

Stacey Christie