It used to be a childhood rite: glaring defiantly a plate of boiled broccoli and refusing to eat it. No pudding or play – it didn’t matter. That soggy stuff was not going anywhere.
Happily, things have changed with the introduction of more international cuisine (stir-fries, crunchy salads, tempura and spicy dips) into South African kitchens, making those little green trees so much more palatable – even for the little ones.
Broccoli, crammed with numerous health benefits but containing very few calories, is hailed as a superfood for good reason. High in vitamin C, dietary fibre, and minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium, broccoli also contains nutrients with anti-carcinogenic properties and has been shown to help prevent heart disease.
Steaming or stir-frying broccoli for 3–4 minutes is recommended to maximise its nutritive potential and anti-cancer compounds, but this versatile veg can also be roasted, puréed into soups or eaten as crunchy crudités.
Try these quick ideas:
• British celebrity chef Rachel Allen makes a delicious creamy broccoli soup with Parmesan toasts.
• Give your normal side of roasted broccoli a kick by adding a dressing of lemon juice, Dijon mustard and olive oil. Pour over the roasted greens, sprinkle with hazelnuts, toss well and serve.
• For a lovely Asian side dish, mix coconut milk, soy sauce, lime juice and crushed garlic and spoon over steamed broccoli.
• Try crispy tempura batter on tender broccoli and cauliflower florets for a delicious, seasonal starter of tempura vegetables with tangy garlic mayo.
• Broccoli florets, roasted cashews and apple slivers add a lovely crunch and a bit of sweetness to a quinoa and smoked mackerel salad. It’s quick too; the fish doesn’t require any cooking!
• For an easy green pasta lunch or dinner, roast chopped up broccoli and green beans while you grate Parmesan and set out a few handfuls of baby spinach and frozen peas. When the vegetables are roasted and nicely charred here and there, boil wholewheat fusilli. Just before your pasta is cooked through, add the frozen peas. Drain and mix in the roasted vegetables, spinach, Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon juice, as well as a good few glugs of olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper and toss well.
• Add some crunch and zest to risotto by updating your normal recipe with steamed broccoli, lemon juice and Parmesan.
Image by cyclonebill