Broccoli. You either love it or you hate it. And if you have children, you’re probably dealing with more hate than love when it comes to this cruciferous vegetable. Maybe you’re most accustomed to seeing raw broccoli on veggie trays on catering trays. Or, maybe you just dunk a frozen bag of florets into boiling water, and drain, salt and butter them.
But there’s so many other fun options when it comes to broccoli. Even your kids will be asking for seconds.
When you purchase a bunch of broccoli, how should you prepare it? Because the stems and stalks can be difficult to digest, feel free to discard those.
But if you do want to use them, just be sure to cut away the outer layer. It’s quite tough on the digestive system.
Broccoli is incredibly versatile. It can complement the main dish, or it can be a strong side dish on its own. You can roast broccoli or eat it raw. You can sauté, steam, blanch or boil it, too. The only problem is, many people over-boil their broccoli. So, it’s always a good idea to quickly boil them just until you can stab the florets easily with a fork. The broccoli should look vibrant green.
Otherwise, if you over-boil it, you can end up with a mushy mess. Plus, you can also cook away beneficial enzymes and other healthy properties by overcooking them. This goes for frozen broccoli, too.
9 Yummy Ways to Sneak Broccoli Into Meal Time
Do you have to feed a picky eater? If you do, veggies can be the hardest food group to promote at the dinner table. So, here are some sneaky and delicious ways to make sure everyone’s getting an adequate amount of this healthy vegetable.
Macaroni and Cheese Casseroles
Who doesn’t love an oozing, warm bowl of macaroni and cheese?
The next time you prepare this staple, add a bunch of broccoli florets into the glorious mix. The smaller the pieces, the more difficult it will be for your child to pick them out.
Plus, he might actually – and accidentally – eat broccoli, and like it!
Add Broccoli to Hummus or Pesto
Give your pesto and hummus a healthy upgrade.
After boiling your broccoli, blend it or puree until it becomes a smooth and spreadable consistency. Then, have some fun and add it to your hummus or pesto.
You can toss your child’s favorite pasta in your new and improved pesto and watch them gobble it up. Or, you can dip crackers and pretzels in this new dip.
Roasted broccoli is both easy and effortless. After you chop up your broccoli, toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and let the oven roast it to perfection.
The flavor of roasted broccoli is scrumptious and you can eat it either as a bona fide side, or use it in a variety of dishes. For example, you can add it to your omelet, quiche, pizza, salad, or grains, like quinoa, barley, farro or rice.
Raw and Real
Raw broccoli is incredibly versatile and a great way to make a refreshing dish.
You can finely slice the florets to give a new twist on cold slaw. You can also mix shaved broccoli and Brussel sprouts together to make a crunchy salad that packs a punch. Another favorite is this broccoli salad with bacon, raisins and walnuts.
You’ll find that raw broccoli goes well with sweet dressings and rich balsamic vinegars.
Another great complement to raw broccoli is nuts. It goes particularly well with peanuts and walnuts. So, as long as nut allergies aren’t a concern in your household, using nuts in your broccoli salads adds a nice touch of flavor.
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Soups are generally easy and budget friendly, and cream of broccoli soup is no different.
The basic recipe always includes sautéed onions and celery to start, then milk, cheddar cheese and of course, broccoli. You can blend it all together to create a smooth, rich and satisfying dinner that the whole family can enjoy. You can even make large batches to save for later in the week.
Asian Stir Fry’s
You’ve probably seen broccoli in one of your favorite Chinese take-out cartons. But as we all know, Chinese take-away isn’t always the healthiest option, even if there are vegetables in there.
So, why not make your own stir fry?
You can easily sauté broccoli, together with garlic, carrots, and any other vegetable of your choice. Add some beef or chicken, scrambled eggs and soy sauce, and you’ve got a delicious stir fry. It’s an ingenious way to include broccoli into your meal.
If you like the warmth of spicy curries and coconut milk, why not make your own?
You can include broccoli, along with your other favorite veggies to make a healthy comfort food, because yes! It’s possible to have healthy comfort food.
Add The Cheese
If there’s one food that makes the perfect match for broccoli, it’s cheese.
You can sprinkle parmesan cheese atop broccoli and roast it, or cook a big pot of warm, creamy soup. You can drizzle hollandaise sauce, or your own cheese sauce over boiled or roasted florets. Let’s not forget a cheesy casserole with your child’s favorite pasta shape.
So, if you’re stumped on how to prepare that broccoli you bought, grab some cheese and voila! Problem solved.
Fried Broccoli Florets
Now, this might not be the healthiest option out there, but it sure is delicious.
Broccoli holds up well as a fried entrée, and what’s more, you can modify the batter to meet your preferences. A basic batter with white flour works perfectly well.
But if you’re trying to avoid gluten, you can substitute gluten-based flours with garbanzo bean flours or any others you’re familiar with. It’s a yummy treat and easy to do.
Broccoli might not be your favorite vegetable, or maybe you’re just bored with the same old preparation. So, give one of these ideas a go, and you’ll forget you’re eating broccoli!