One of my favourite Low Carb tricks is to take classic Italian pasta dishes and switch the pasta for cooked veggies.
While my Cabbage Carbonara is a firm favourite in this house, this Broccoli Puttanesca comes a close second at the moment.
Love how the big bold flavours or the canned fish, olives, chilli and tomato combine to make an incredibly delicious sauce for humble boiled broccoli.
With food this delicious, I don’t ever get cravings for pasta.
I’ve used canned mackerel here because a) it’s delicious and b) it has much less mercury than tuna. But if you prefer tuna, go for it!
Enough for: 2
Takes: 15 minutes
Net carbs: 17g/serve
2 heads broccoli
2 cans mackerel or tuna, (110 g / 4oz each), drained
large handful olives, pitted (1/2 cup)
1-4 red chilli peppers, finely sliced
4 tablespoons butter
1 punnet (250g / 9oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
1. Bring 1cm (1/2in) salted water to the boil in a medium saucepan. Chop broccoli into bite sized florettes. Slice the stems.
2. Boil / steam broccoli, covered, for 5 minutes. Drain and return the pan to the heat with the broccoli, stir in the fish, olives, chilli, butter and tomatoes.
3. Stir and cook until everything is hot. Remove from the heat. Taste and add a little more salt if needed.
4. Divide puttanesca between 2 bowls and drizzle over of your best extra virgin olive oil.
WINE MATCH: A crisp dry Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris.
Variations & Substitutions
extra flavourings – capers, anchovies, garlic, sun dried tomatoes or parsley can all be welcome additions or substitutions. Or try squeeze of lemon or a little chopped preserved lemon flesh.
keto / ultra low carb – replace the broccoli with leafy greens like spinach.
vegetarian – replace tuna / mackerel with boiled, poached or fried eggs or roast almonds. I’m imagining chunks of avocado would make a super delicious (if un-traditional) substitute. You could also try feta, goats cheese or parmesan.
dairy-free – butter = extra virgin olive oil.
more substantial (carb lovers) – cooked pasta.
more substantial (low carb) – roast almonds, crumbled feta, extra butter, avocado, extra olives.
Low FODMAP – replace 1/2 the broccoli with baby spinach leaves tossed in at the end.
family-friendly – skip the chilli and possibly the olives.
different vegetables – cabbage, cauliflower, spiralized zucchini or serve the sauce on a bed of your favourite roast veggies
different protein – eggs, crumbled feta, crumbled sausages (will need to cook through), fresh cooked fish, sardines.
different chilli – feel free to use fresh or dried chilli peppers. I like fresh red Thai Birds Eye or serrano for the intense heat.
low lectin / nightshade-free – replace tomatoes and chilli with crumbled feta or goats cheese.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
broccoli – will keep wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Can be frozen (if you have time chop before freezing so it will defrost quickly in the pan).
cans of mackerel or tuna – keep them in the pantry.
olives – keep them in the pantry.
chillies – will keep for weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. Or can be frozen.
butter – will keep in the fridge for weeks.
cherry tomatoes – either halve and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes (180C / 350F) OR just cook in a pan with a little oilve oil. In either case store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few weeks. Or freeze the cooked tomato for longer periods.
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, warm in a pan with a little oil.