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Broccoli Bhajis

Fri 30th Aug, 2019 - 1:41pm by Emma Cockrell

Quick and easy lunch-time meals can often be a challenge, especially when time is short. These Broccoli Bhajis can be prepared in advance and are an excellent option for a lunch box, snack pot or ‘grab and go’ lunch. The recipe provides another way to incorporate nutrient dense veggies into the diet.

Nutritional Value

Broccoli is packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins – including vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate and vitamin K. Being a member of the cruciferous family, broccoli also supports the body in its detoxification processes.

Onions likewise  are a good source of vitamin C, and the B vitamins, and properties known to fight bacteria. They are a concentrated source of a flavonoid antioxidant called quercetin. Since quercetin has anti-inflammatory properties, it may be beneficial those suffering with allergies, while also helping decrease heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure. Another ‘plus’ for onions is their content of  prebiotic fibre  – a food source for all the beneficial bacteria in your gut that you want to thrive.


Recipe Options

If your children (or you) are picky about onions, then leave them out and combine broccoli with cauliflower. You can also play around with the spices. The ingredients for my Broccoli Bhajis use mild spices, and you can increase or decrease these according to taste. Alternatively, if you aren’t a spice-lover, omit the spices and add some fresh herbs. A tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander or parsley provides freshness, or adding marjoram or oregano will bring a Mediterranean twist.

Gram Flour

Broccoli Bhajis provide an excellent egg-free meal, since the traditional Indian way to prepare the dish is to use chickpea flour. This is generally sold as gram flour, or Besan, although Besan can sometimes refer to lentil flour. If the Besan you can find is from lentils, then this works equally well.

I have found the secret to good bhajis is not to use too much of the chickpea flour. You want to use the least possible amount you can get away with, that still holds the vegetables together. This roughly works out as a level tablespoon of chickpea flour for each cup of raw vegetables used. It is always best to add less gram flour than you think you will need, and add a little more if necessary. I do have a tendency to over-do it, which produces a stodgier Bhaji. This is fine if you like them filling, but since my emphasis is to increase vegetables, I generally prefer a lighter end-product.

Broccoli Bhajis


  • 4 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 small head of broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 Tablespoons of chickpea flour (Gram flour or Besan)
  • I heaped teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried ginger
  • ½ teaspoon garlic granules
  • Pinch Lo-salt or Himalayan pink salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of filtered water, if necessary


  • Place the chopped vegetables in a large pan with the extra virgin olive oil.

  • Place over a medium heat and add a lid to the pan to allow the vegetables to ‘sweat’. Makes sure they don’t burn or catch.
  • When broccoli is ‘al dente’ (still slightly firm), remove from the heat and add the spices.

  • Stir well and return to heat for a few minutes to allow the spices to cook through. Be careful not to let the mixture burn.
  • Remove from the heat and add a little salt.
  • Stir in the gram flour, using only enough to allow the vegetables to begin to clump together.

  • Work the flour so that it can’t be seen, adding a little water if necessary.
  • Take dessertspoons of the mixture and make into balls and place on an oiled tray.

  • Drizzle the finished balls with a little extra virgin olive oil
  • Place in a medium heat oven – 180 for about 20 minutes, until firm to the touch and golden.

  • Serve immediately, over roasted vegetables. Alternatively, allow to cool and store in the fridge ready for an easy salad lunch. Great alongside shredded red or white cabbage drizzled with lemon juice, olive oil and a sprinkling of caraway seeds.

  • Try adding to a lunch box with vegetable crudités – batons of celeriac, mouli and cucumber
  • Add an avocado dip – blend together 1 avocado, 1/4 onion, 1 clove of garlic, and the juice of 1/2 lime