Charred Broccoli Mexican Salad

by | Aug 12, 2014 | 21 comments


It is nice to be able to look at your new year's resolution when half the year has passed you by and realize that you are still sticking with it. At the start of the year, I made a promise to myself - to sit down and eat a nourishing meal either from leftovers or one I had put together quite simply. This was hard for me because as much as I hate to admit it, eating food was low on my priority of things that needed my attention. I cooked it, styled it and photographed it to death but somewhere along the way, I lost the most primal emotion associated with food. To want to eat it and savour eat.


Charred Broccoli Salad With Black Beans And Berries - Cook Republic


It was hard at first to get used to the discipline of stopping work in the middle of the day to think about nourishing my mind and body for just half an hour. On some days, I fried an egg and stuffed it in bread while I caught up with emails (bad idea as I often had runny egg spills on the keyboard - yikes!). On other days I would make myself a big bowl of cereal. Because it was easy and quick (but really, cereal is not lunch fuel!). A lot of the times I had a small serving of whatever it was that I was shooting and only cared about rushing off to work again.


But as the days passed and spilled into February, I realised I was consciously cooking more the previous night so I would have nice leftovers the next day. When March came and the cold weather was no longer suitable for bircher muesli straight from the fridge, I realised I was roasting vegetables in the evenings so I could blend them into a gorgeous soup for lunch. Right through the renovations with absolutely no permanent place to call my own, I felt like I was getting addicted to thinking about and prepping for the next day's lunch.


Then came a time in early May when I caught myself looking at the clock at 11:00 in the morning wondering when I could stop and have the gorgeous raw noodles I had prepped for lunch. That was an epiphany. I was a convert. I needed to stop and switch off for half an hour. I needed to sit down and eat whether it was with a friend or client or by myself. I needed to have time off in the middle of the day to nourish my body and rest my mind. It had become a habit and I was very pleased about it.


Charred Broccoli - Cook Republic

Charred Broccoli Mexican Salad - Cook Republic


Over the months I created heaps and heaps of really simple and nourishing lunches for myself, a lot of them inspired from recipes in my cookbook. Just for me (with maybe some leftovers for Nick so he could get a taste of what I was raving about during the day!). And I felt happy. It is by far the kindest, most special thing I had done for myself. Even when I was shooting at home, there would be a simple sit down lunch for my clients and everyone involved.


As a result of consuming a nutritionally dense meal in the middle of the day, I felt clear headed and pumped. I stopped craving caffeine for a pick-me-up. I don't think I can ever go back to not being mindful about my lunch. Remembering to feed ourselves can be a struggle we can all relate to in our busy, social media loving lives. So I am going to share my Power Lunch For One recipes here in the hope that they bring you more energy and a pocket of peace during the flurry of your everyday. The recipes have become some of my favourites because they are quick to make and full of delicious and wholesome ingredients. I hope you cook them and love them as much as I do!


Today's recipe is a charred broccoli salad with lots of crunch, some black beans, some chewy sweet and sour inca berries and heaps of Mexican flavour. I love pan charring broccoli, it seriously elevates the humble vegetable to all kinds of awesome. This salad is a spin-off this broccolini almond salad that I have loved for years. Inca berry , an indigenous fruit of South America is hailed as a superfood because it is higher in antioxidants than goji berries, green tea & blueberries. It also has three times the dietary fibre of most dried fruits. If you don't find it substitute with prunes or craisins.


Charred Broccoli Mexican Salad - Cook Republic


Charred Broccoli Mexican Salad - Cook Republic


Charred Broccoli Mexican Salad - Cook Republic




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A simple salad of pan charred broccoli tossed with black beans, inca berries and vibrant Mexican flavours makes a nourishing power packed lunch for one.
Print Recipe Rate / Comment
Author: Sneh
Course // Lunch
Cuisine // Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1


  • 1 small head of broccoli, florets torn
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • handful of toasted pine nuts
  • handful of dried inca berries or craisins
  • 1 can, 400g black beans, drained rinsed and drained
  • 1 small red capsicum, deseeded and diced
  • 1 small lebanese cucumber, diced
  • 120 g fresh corn kernels
  • handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • handful of fresh mint leaves
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • lime wedges, to serve


  • Heat the oil in a small wok or skillet on high. Add the broccoli florets and sauté for a few minutes until charred. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 3-5 minutes until broccoli is cooked and stalks appear glossy. Turn off the heat. Remove broccoli and place in a large bowl.
  • Toss the nuts and berries in the hot pan for a minute until lightly toasted. Add these to the pan with the broccoli.
  • Add all ingredients except lime wedges to the bowl with the broccoli and nut mixture. Toss lightly to mix well. Plate the salad and serve with lime wedges. Find a nice book to read or sit in a quiet corner and don't think of work while you enjoy this beautiful dish.
Did you make my recipe?I'd love to hear how you went! Tag me on Instagram @cookrepublic



I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!


  1. erin

    A beautiful ritual you have created, Sneh.

    A guy I work with sits down every day and eats the most amazing lunch. He is Italian so it's often home made bread, beans, fruit and some meat. Always dressed in olive oil. I love to watch him tuck into it.

    This salad looks like a ripper- I love charred Broccoli!

  2. Shobelyn

    So true. When I started blogging, a time came when I have to be more mindful of enjoying food as it is not as a possible photography subject. Also, eating schedule becomes wacko because you taste the dish so often that you are so full by dinner time. Indeed, it takes a lot of conscious effort to cook healthy meals and savor your food at the same time when you are food blogger.

  3. justagirlfromaamchimumbai

    It is so easy to forget to look after oneself when when is busy. Love how you made the attempt to eat well and look after your well being, The salad looks so so good. Love it.

  4. Dhanya Samuel

    Such a relevant article for me...When the blogging bug bit me, I also went into such a phase but fortunately, got a reality check and now I too follow that half an hour of 'me' time. And yes, like you mentioned, it really helps to control the caffeine addiction. And a wonderful recipe too, perfect as a work day lunch.

  5. Deepa@onesmallpot

    This salad has me craving must be a good one! It's so important to set those times aside for yourself. Eating sitting down at a table beats eating in front of the computer any day.

  6. Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health

    this is indeed a way way to fuel up during the day. i have never heard of inca berries but sounds very nutritious.

  7. Medha

    Salad looks so good, wholesome and delicious, love it! I can totally relate to your post! We are all chasing the goal of being the most efficient and productive and jumping from one thing to next! Thanks for the reminder to slow down and enjoy the delicious meal 🙂

  8. Rosa

    A fabulous salad! So many great flavors going on in there.



  9. Coco

    What a gorgeous salad. I know how you felt. I'd always get mad at myself to eating just to keep from getting hungry, but sometimes there just isn't enough time for an elaborate meal.
    I have to taste this salad! Thanks, Sneh. xo

  10. Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    I love these flavors, an inspired lunch!

  11. Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas

    This post really resounds with me. I too made a resolution at the start of the year to be more concious about lunch, the one meal where I felt I was really letting myself down. I find I am eating better during the day and I like carving out that little bit of time just for me. A time when I am not preparing a meal to suit other people but just myself.
    I love charred and roasted broccoli. Lovely salad.

  12. Tieghan

    This is just gorgeous and I am huge fan of charred broccoli. Eating some now! Perfect lunch bowl!

  13. Francesca

    Some nice earthy flavours here.

  14. milkteaxx

    what a beautiful salad! definitely trying this one out!

  15. ami@naivecookcooks

    Sneh I have been having the same problem lately. I feel if I stop for lunch I am wasting so much time and I think that's the reason I have been feeling super tired by the end of the day. Thanks for opening my eyes. I am going to be doing it to change my outlook towards my health!! Thanks Sneh!

  16. Maureen

    That's a great way to show yourself every single day that you are important. Lovely salad.

  17. Simone

    Great idea. I can sometimes be so busy I forget to actually sit down and have lunch and I do need to get better at it. If I do make time lunch is my playtime. I can cook ingredients I have leftover from shoots, create a fun and delicious meal. Now I just have to go and make that a habit....:)

  18. Suné Moolman

    Broccoli is one of my favourite veggies. I've never charred them though, what a great idea.
    I'm so inspired by your ingredients – this salad looks fantastic.

  19. Claudia

    So mouth watering! That appears to be amazing.

  20. Helen | Grab Your Fork

    Such a great idea to char broccoli for a salad. Definitely going to have to try this next time 🙂

  21. Chrissy

    Blogging is why I not longer subsist on only cottage cheese, eggs and salad. Thank God for leftovers! And I love charred broc, so this is totally in my wheelhouse. Cheers!



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