Did you know that broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange? Not to mention it's also rich in calcium, vitamin A and vitamin K -- all of which help with vitamin D absorption -- as well as fiber and antioxidants. It's no wonder that parents are constantly trying to force their kids to finish it! But we know better. We know how rich and savory roasted broccoli is, how crisp and flavorful lightly steamed broccoli can be. And this crucifer is in season, which means it's the perfect time to set your Meatless Monday table with some broccoli recipes.
The reason behind childhood hatred of broccoli tends to be the same as that of other crucifers: broccoli, like Brussels sprouts, should not be boiled to within an inch of its life. Not only is raw broccoli a tasty treat, but roasted, steamed, or blanched, broccoli takes on a bright green color and a certain sweetness that will have even the pickiest eaters asking for more little trees.
We all know the power of combining a strong-flavored crucifer with something a bit sweet -- all those kale salads with raisins or roasted cauliflower dishes with sultanas over the top are the proof that this combo works. This broccoli and cranberry salad (pictured above) is not only remarkably rich in antioxidants, it's also perfect as the holidays roll around, with its red-and-green colors.
Image: Erin Kunkel
I've made a habit in the past few years of always throwing the stems of my broccoli in the freezer whenever I serve roasted broccoli or steamed broccoli as a side dish. That means that I'm pretty much always ready to make a pot of broccoli soup. Use a light veggie stock in this recipe, and feel free to throw in as many frozen stems as you have -- peeled an chopped of course -- along with at least one full head of broccoli to get the pretty color contrast of light and dark green. The parmesan frico adds that special touch that turns this from a simple soup into a gourmet starter.
Everyone should have at least one versatile frittata recipe in their arsenal. These Italian-style baked omelettes are perfect for using up scraps of veggies from the night before, and they're just as delicious for breakfast with buttered toast as for dinner with a green salad. This tasty broccoli, tomato and feta frittata is a snap to prepare, making it absolutely perfect for Meatless Monday.
Image: Laura Klein
Broccoli goes absolutely wonderfully with garlic, and the Italians know it -- a common contorni in Italian restaurants is broccoli simply sauteed in olive oil with a bit of minced garlic. Take this fantastic side to main dish status with a green garlic and broccoli orzo pasta recipe. You'll end up with almost equal parts veggie and grain, with just enough pungent parmesan over the top to bring out the natural nuttiness in the crucifer.
Top Image: Renato Ganoza
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