Let’s learn about 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 vitamin C and vitamin A. It is also a source of calcium with ½ cup cooked broccoli providing ~50mg 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 of the Month

Broccoli Quesadilla with Avocado, Garlic and Cilantrobroccoli quesadilla

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • whole wheat tortillas
  • ½ cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro
  • ½ tbsp. lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil and broccoli. Cook until just crisp and tender, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate to remove from heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mash ½ avocado and mix with a pinch of salt and ½ tbsp lemon juice
  3. Return sauté pan to head and place one tortilla in the pan. Add ½ of the cheese, ½ of the broccoli mixture. Spread one side of the tortilla with avocado and sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
  4. Remove from heat, fold tortilla in ½ and cut into fourths to enjoy!

Lightened Up Broccoli Casserolebroccoli casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2 pounds of broccoli florets
  • 3 tbsp. butter divided
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ tsp. ground pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups low fat shredded colby-jack cheese, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 Degrees F. Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray
  2. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake until crispy, about 10 minutes. If you do not own a food processor, may also use bread crumbs.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Steam broccoli until just tender, 4-6 minutes. Chop coarsely and spread evenly in the prepared baking dish.
  4. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp. butter and the oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and cook for 1 minute. While stirring, slowly pour in chicken broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in cream cheese, Worcestershire, pepper and salt, cook, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 ½ cups cheese. Pour the cheese sauce over the broccoli.
  6. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp. butter. Combine the melted butter and the breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Spread evenly over the broccoli mixture. Top with the remaining ½ cup cheese.
  7. Bake until cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling around the edges, 25-30 minutes.