When it comes to green leafy vegetables, kale reigns supreme. Or at least, it used to. You haven’t met the BroccoLeaf yet - but you’re about to.
A few weeks ago, I attended a lunch provided by Foxy Organic, a Salinas, California-based organic vegetable grower and the only (current) commercial seller of BroccoLeaf. The luncheon was hosted by nutritionist Ashley Koff and prepared by the always amazing Akasha Richmond at her Culver City, California restaurant.
We were treated to flatbreads, a BroccoLeaf-cauliflower soup, a scrumptious raw slaw that everyone was gushing over (including me!), and for my entrée I had a light and filling vegan quinoa pilaf, replete with emerald green nuggets of BroccoLeaf.
But what was I eating, exactly? Was this BroccoLeaf some kind of kale/broccoli hybrid? Is it genetically modified? Is it a mutant broccoli? None of the above, it turns out. The answer actually blew my mind.
If you’ve ever grown broccoli before (I have not), you may be familiar with the robust leaves that the broccoli floret is surrounded by. And if you tossed those leaves to your compost bin, you’re going to kick yourself in a minute. Those green leafy vegetables surrounding the broccoli are what Foxy Organic is now marketing as its trademarked BroccoLeaf. And for good reason.
The leaves of the broccoli plant are extremely nutritious, containing more calcium than kale, a full daily dose of vitamin C, and packed with vitamin A, folate and phytonutrients including glucinosates and the flavonoid Kaempferol.
Compared to the other part of the plant, broccoli, BroccoLeaf has more fiber, more healthy carbs, more protein (a whopping 4.68 grams per serving!), and nearly five times the vitamin A. And while kale is higher in vitamin A and vitamin K, BroccoLeaf contains more calcium and more green leafy vegetable plant protein.
So, how does it taste?
I’m an easy sell when it comes to green leafy vegetables. In my book, the more bitter, the better. BroccoLeaf is surprisingly mild, but with that perfect balance of bitter bite. It’s a great “starter” green for those who find kale and other green leafy vegetables too intense. Texturally, it’s soft, almost like a chard, but a bit hardier. It looks a lot like a collard, and it would work just as well in raw wraps in that regard. And for anyone who loves using greens in juices and smoothies, you’re going to love adding the BroccoLeaf to your repertoire.
But what’s most amazing about this food is how we’ve disregarded it for so long. It makes me wonder what other powerhouse foods are sitting out in the fields right now that we’re tossing. Perhaps the folks at Foxy Organic are scouring the fields for other green leafy vegetables to add to our diet. We can only hope. In the meantime, you can start looking for BroccoLeaf in the produce section of your favorite supermarkets. The company is planning to support it with store demos as well.
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Images: Foxy Organic (top), Jill Ettinger