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Vegetable Highlight: Broccoli!

Broccoli always seems to be the go-to example of icky green vegetables that your mother made you eat. One reason so many of us had broccoli on our plates growing up is that it is actually an incredibly affordable vegetable that can feed a lot of hungry family members. Another is that our moms were right: they really are good for us! Broccoli is an amazing source of vitamin K (for bone and blood health), vitamin C (for bright, healthy skin and immune function), potassium ( for heart health, folate (for cellular function) and fiber (for happy, healthy digestion). Not only that, but broccoli is one of the best sources of two amazing compounds called sulfurophane and indole-3-carbinol, which support our body’s natural detoxification pathways and help eliminate the free radicals that cause cancer! Wowza that’s some awesome powerful nutrition! So why don’t we all love this incredible veggie? It likely has to do with its slightly bitter (or for some, very bitter) taste. Most cruciferous vegetables (aka: veggies with leafy greens) have a bitter taste that can be off-putting in both smell and flavor, but that bitter taste actually signifies the presence of those powerfully healing plant compounds. So rather than smash our broccoli under the plate where mom can’t see it or feed it to the dog, try some of these new ways of preparing it in order to enhance more of its sweet and tangy flavors. I guarantee you’ll be buying broccoli by the bucketful after trying some of these tasty ideas!

Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Garlic (A classic and a true winner. Use leftovers in salads, scrambled eggs, mixed into quinoa or on a pizza!

Steamed Broccoli & Squash with Tahini Sauce

Lemony Broccoli Salad with Chickpeas & Feta (I can’t stop drooling over this one!)

Paleo Chicken with Broccoli (like a stir fry but waaaaay better)

Pasta with White Beans & Broccoli Pesto (try making this dish with a legume-based pasta like Banza or Tolerant for more protein and less refined starch! And use leftover pesto on fish, chicken or roasted veggies!)

Roasted Broccoli Salad with Lemons and Almonds

Broccoli Stalk Salad (Yes you read that right! Don’t throw those stalks away! I even enjoy by Broc’ Stalks as dippers for snacking throughout the week!)

Steamed Broccoli Dippers + Plain Greek Yogurt mixed with Trader Joe’s Green Goddess dressing (not a recipe, just an RD Megan fave-it’s seriously so good! And something about dipping the steamed broc instead of raw makes it luxurious!)

Breakfast Miso Soup (Soup for breakfast!? Yep, it’s a thing. In fact, most other cultures have some form of breakfast soup, which is a super warming and filling way to start the day, so let’s jump on that bandwagon!)

Pesto Broccoli Rice (Sure you can grate it yourself, but why when you can buy it ready to go like this??)

Spaghetti Squash Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo (If this isn’t your gateway into the world of broccoli, I don’t know how to help you J )

One last tip is to save all your broccoli off-cuts! Save the stalk ends and leaves and freeze them for next time you make a veggie or bone broth! Those nutrients will soak right into your delicious brothy liquid!


Author: Megan Wroe, MS, RD, CNE, CLEC Megan is a registered dietitian and health coach at St. Jude Wellness Center. She runs the REACH Weight Management program, teaches classes on a variety of nutrition topics and sees clients for individual consults.