I have the hardest time categorizing recipes – is this a salad or a side? I’d wager that it’s a side more than a salad, but you add a bit of grilled meat or serve some Turkish eggs alongside and it effortlessly transforms into a substantial main.

You first make a simple marinara: garlic, tomatoes, and fresh basil. Cook until thickened and reduced, then blend to a smooth purée. Dollop onto a large plate.

The second layer is the veg: sear broccoli and zucchini in a hot pan until you get a good char on all sides. The trick to that deep sear is to lay the vegetables down in a large wide pan and let them just be. Don’t overcrowd the pan; do it one veg at a time if necessary. Also, don’t move them around until the underside gets nicely browned, then flip and do the same. Layer onto the marinara.

The pièce de résistance is the topping: heat together olives, capers, garlic, chilli flakes, and olive oil to make an umami rich sprinkling to go over the top. Its salty, spicy hit really accentuates and elevates the other flavours of this salad. This side. This..thing.


Servings: 3 people


  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • 6 tomatoes, blended
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 10 Italian basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive-chilli topping:

  • 3 tablespoons black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chilli flakes


  • First make the marinara: heat olive oil and garlic together in a pot. When the garlic starts to brown, add the blended tomatoes. Season with salt, sugar, and pepper. Cover and cook for 15-20 mins stirring occasionally.
  • When the sauce has thickened and reduced, add torn basil leaves and cook for 1 minute. Cool the sauce, then blend and set aside.
  • Chop the broccoli into medium florets. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, then chop into uneven cubes (to get more surface area).
  • Take out the widest pan that you own and heat the olive oil. Add the broccoli and zucchini and cook over a high flame to get some nice colour on them. Flip only after the underside has browned and caramelised. Cook until they’re browned on all sides. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Olive chilli topping: add all the ingredients to a small pan and cook over a low heat. Stir frequently until the garlic just starts to colour. Remove and set aside.
  • To serve, spread the marinara at the bottom of a wide plate. Top with the broccoli and zucchini, then the olive-chilli topping. Serve warm or at room temperature.


- Serves 3 as a side with grilled meats or Turkish eggs.
- All the components can be made in advance and reheated just before serving.


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