Perhaps one of the more underrated vegetables when talking about what staples to bring to the roast dinner table, broccoli is certainly one of those vegetables that you probably felt pressured into eating when you were younger.
But, as you grow up, and you try new foods, and your tastes become a little more refined, you start to gain a new appreciation for the food your parents forced you to eat. Especially when you learn that at least half of those vegetables; Kale, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collard, kohlrabi, and broccoli, all come from the same species of plant. Now that’s a species that is working overtime!
Originally grown and cultivated in Italy, broccoli was first cultivated by the Italians in 600 BCE, then by the farmer of the Roman Empire. It was then brought up to northern Europe, then around the world in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, in large part due to the waves of immigration from countries where it is a staple crop. That’s quite a history for a little green tree.
As far as health benefits go, broccoli trees are certainly punching above their weight. A portion of the green plant can lower the amount of cholesterol in your body, which helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in turn.
They are also rich in a chemical known as sulforaphane, which is useful for clearing out toxins from the body, and is interestingly, also what gives broccoli its a somewhat bitter taste.
And this isn’t even counting all the vitamins and minerals that are also packed inside broccoli, and the high amount of fiber you’ll find in them too!
So, you might be thinking, why do you remember not liking them as much as other vegetables like potatoes or carrots? Why do you remember hating them and sticking your nose up at them when you were offered boiled broccoli as a child?
Well, part of it is just that. For many families, the broccoli most of us ate when we were little was probably boiled, which removes a lot of the best qualities that make broccoli a tasty food; no crunch to them, they lose almost all their flavor, and they tend to just urn to a green mush once they enter your mouth, especially if they’ve been boiled for too long.
Not only that, but many of the natural chemicals and vitamins that make them such a healthy option, like the sulforaphane we mentioned earlier.
Fortunately, we have passed the days of just boiling our broccoli and giving in to disappointing flavors. Roasted, steamed, thrown in a stir fry. When prepared right, broccoli can be used in so many different ways.
To help you start trying this green little treat in new ways, we’ve brought together a list of the tastiest recipes you can try with broccoli!
This recipe, prepared with fresh almonds, quinoa, and the crumbliest feta cheese, this quick-to-make salad is easy to prepare, is a cinch to make, and still tastes great the next day, if not better!
Plus, with not a scrap of meat in sight, this is a great dish if you are a vegetarian, or are thinking of trying to add a little more green in your diet, without sacrificing any flavor.
Simply toast the almonds in a pan for 5 minutes over medium heat, or until they turn golden, then leave them to cool whilst you throw all your other ingredients in a large bowl, adding olive oil and lemon juice at your discretion. Don’t forget to add the toasted almonds to your salad when you’re ready to eat!
Okay, for all the ranting and raving we just did when talking about broccoli, this one does require you to boil your broccoli a little. But only a little mind you. You want to keep that flavor and those nutrients in this recipe!
This low-carb recipe has a pretty good amount of protein hidden in there too if you’re looking for a healthy dish to tuck into today.
Add salt to boiling water in a pan, then add the broccoli to boil for just 1 minute, then throw the broccoli in some clean cold water, so it doesn’t keep cooking from any residual heat while you spin it in a salad bowl. Then just add all your ingredients into a large bowl, mix, add your dressings, and serve!
This little dish throws in ideas and ingredients from all over the Mediterranean, this salad has a great variety of vegetables to add texture to this meal.
With the sweet cherry tomatoes, some creamy feta cheese was thrown in, some lovely savory olives, and some fusilli or rotini pasta capture all those flavors with the broccoli florets, your tastebuds will be spoilt for choice in this meal. Great as a side dish to any greek main, or as a full meal in itself.
Simply rinse the blanched broccoli and boiled pasta in cold water, then toss in a bowl with all your other veg, add to a bowl with the other veg, and toss together to get a good mix. Make sure to add the feta cheese, dressing, and olive oil, and to make sure you’ve mixed it all well to get that perfectly thick final dressing.
With a potential cooking time of fewer than 20 minutes, this recipe is sure to be a favorite if you’re in a hurry and you’ve got the ingredients handy.
This vegetarian-friendly, high in vitamin and fiber salad is a nutritious day of getting your portion of fruit and vegetables down very easily. Plus it’s high in protein from all that broccoli and chickpeas! Or, if you’re getting a taste for your favorite meat today, you just throw in your favorites to bulk this salad up even more. Just remember that your salad will keep better in the fridge without those meats. But if you’ve prepped your food right, it’ll go down so well, that you won’t even need to think about how you’ll keep it!
Just add your vegetables together in a large bowl, whisk your dressing oils and sauces together, drizzle over your veggies, sprinkle some almonds, and you’re good to serve. Don’t forget the lemon juice!
Stuffed with red onions, cranberries, bacon, and of course, broccoli, this recipe is a great blend with the salty bacon and the zesty onion going great with the dressing, mayonnaise, and mustard. Plus, the raw broccoli just absorbs all that tasty mix, creating some pretty flavorful treetops.
The recipe recommends baking your bacon in this recipe, which will free up some time to let you prep the veg quickly. Remember, everything’s got to be as fresh as it can be when it goes on your plate and into your mouth!
Just remember to chop up the bacon and the onion, but they leave the florets whole (although we do recommend that you take them off the broccoli stem of course!). Mix all your sources, oils, and dressings in a different bowl before drizzling them on the salad, including the mayonnaise and dijon mustard.
If you can, make sure to always make more dressing than you think you’ll need. Even if it doesn’t all get used, it makes for a great topping to grilled foods of all kinds.
If you’re looking for a way to change up your coleslaw recipe, this is a great way to add some new flavor to this classic side to any meal, whether that’s a barbecue or a buffet.
The broccoli floret can be used in this recipe, and the chopped-up stem looks at how with the other vivid colors coleslaw is famous for adding an extra dash of green to the orange of the carrots, the deep purple of the cabbage, and the vivid red from the cranberries.
Just mix you thinly chopped vegetables and all your extra in a large bowl, drizzle about ¾ of your dressing over them, toss, and enjoy the slaw!
This might seem like an odd combination to go with, but the crunch of the broccoli stems, the apple, and the walnuts makes for a bite that you won’t soon forget.
Plus, the sweetness of the apples carries well into the rest of the salad, making for a great combination with the other, more savory sides of this ingredient list.
Just make sure to chop up the floret and its stem up into small thin, almost matchstick-like pieces, dice the red onion until it is finely chopped, And slice the apple so that it matches the broccoli stems. Then you can roughly chop the walnut then make the dressing that you can drizzle over and toss the salad in for a uniquely sweet and savory experience.