Super Food- Broccoli

For the month of November, let us shift our focus to broccoli:

  • Did you know that broccoli originated in Italy and has been around since ancient Roman times? It is part of the cabbage family and its name is derived from the Italian word broccolo, meaning the flowering top of a cabbage. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable by classification. Other vegetables that fall into this category include cauliflower, kale, radishes, collard greens and cabbage.
  • Broccoli is packed full of nutrients. 1 cup raw contains about 31 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. Broccoli is also packed full of vitamins C and A. It is also a source of calcium with ½ cup cooked broccoli providing ~50 mg of calcium. Calcium is vital to our bone health and the average male needs 1000 mg of calcium per day and females may need up to 1200 mg of calcium per day. Broccoli has also been known to help cellular health and promote protection from cancers because of its antioxidant and phytonutrient properties.
  • China is the largest producer of broccoli in the world and California is the largest state producer in the US. There are a few varieties of broccoli that you may find in your local grocery store. Broccoflower is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower and usually looks like green cauliflower with spikey florets. It also has a taste that more so resembles cauliflower. Broccolini is known as “baby broccoli” but is actually a cross between Chinese broccoli and traditional broccoli. It tends to be tenderer and have a sweeter flavor than traditional broccoli. Lastly you may find purple broccoli in the store, while it looks like purple cauliflower it actually has a taste that resembles broccoli and turns green when cooked.

Recipes

Broccoli with Balsamic Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets, stems
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced into ½ inch thick (~4 cups total)
  • 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, quartered (2 cups)Broccoli and Balsamic Mushrooms
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper

Directions

  • Cook broccoli in a pot of boiling water until just tender, 3-4 minutes. Drain
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shiitakes and baby bellas, sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring often, until deeply brown in spots, 5-8 minutes
  • Reduce heat to medium; add garlic and the remaining 1 tablespoons oil and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add vinegar and tamari and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from heat; stir in butter, then add the broccoli and crushed red pepper and gently toss to combine.

Broccoli Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette

IngredientsBroccoli salad and sherry vinaigrette

  • 8 cups broccoli florets (2-inch pieces)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans

Directions:

  1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Set a large bowl of ice water by the stove. Add broccoli, cover and cook until tender- crisp, 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to the ice bath to cool, about 2 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with a clean towel.
  2. Whisk oil, vinegar, thyme, honey, mustard and salt in a large bowl. Add onion and the broccoli; toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  3. Add Parmesan and pecans to the salad, toss gently and serve.