Broccoli is one of those vegetables that you either love or hate, and it also seems to be one of those vegetables that are just universally associated with being something kids and picky eaters dislike. While its cousin cauliflower has achieved a glow up and rise in popularity in the last few years as a carb alternative, broccoli has not enjoyed the same time in the spotlight.
Broccoli is a predictable long-season staple. Depending on when it is planted, you can expect it from early summer through fall to be available fresh at local farmers markets. It holds up fairly well in the fridge (I’ve made it last a week + before using) and can be used in so many versatile recipes. If you’re buying organic (not-treated) broccoli, be sure to check for worms. These are harmless, but you’ll want to clean your broccoli well to remove them. The easiest way is a salt water bath.
Why should you enjoy broccoli? Well – first of all, there are so many more delicious ways to prepare and eat it other than steamed plain (gross) or raw in a veggie tray (no thanks). Secondly, it’s practically a superfood with all of its health benefits. Broccoli is vitamin and antioxidant rich, it is an anti-inflammatory food, it is fiber-rich, and it supports good heart health and HDL “good” cholesterol.
Now… on to my favorite ways to enjoy broccoli!
Asian Roasted Broccoli | Recipe by Self Proclaimed Foodie
Get the recipe here. This sheetpan roasted recipe is super flavorful and pairs well with takeout type fare, such as a beef or chicken stirfry. Two of my favorite Asian meals are linked here: Onion Scallion Beef Stirfry from Rasa Malaysia and Skillet Chicken with Baby Bok Choy from Simply Recipes. The layers of flavor are really magnified by the two step process in seasoning the broccoli. I can’t promise you that it is quite as delicious as takeout broccoli smothered in sauce, but it’s really darn good for an at-home and slightly healthier recipe!
Cheesy Broccoli Fritters | Recipe by Gimme Delicious
Get the recipe here. These broccoli fritters are a deceptive way to hide broccoli (or any other veggie, really) and they’re cheesy enough and dippable enough that even kids will enjoy them. Fritters are a great way to serve up something that feels like a deep fried appetizer at home, but is really loaded up with fresh veggies. Spicy mayo is a must for dipping these fritters. I’m not a big ranch fan, but I suppose if you’re spice averse these would taste pretty good with ranch on the side, as well. When I make my own spicy mayo at home, my current favorite combination is organic mayo from Tessamae and Truff truffle-infused hot sauce. Yes, I realize it is completely ridiculous to eat $17 a bottle hot sauce, but I’m ADDICTED and put the teeniest bits of it into just about everything to conserve it!
Best Broccoli Salad | Recipe by Le Creme de la Crumb
Get the recipe here. I love that this broccoli salad doesn’t have mayo in it. We go to a lot of family cookouts in the summer and all of the side dishes being smothered in mayo gets a bit old. This is a nice change of pace with a honey mustard dressing in lieu of mayo. Leave the mayo to the potato and pasta salads, please. This recipe goes great with a summer cookout, but the dried cranberries could also lend well to a fall meal.
Squash Salad with Pasta and Mint | Recipe by Katrina Runs
Get the recipe here. I’m a big sucker for pasta salads and I love an olive oil based one. I prepped this salad the night prior and served it as a cold pasta salad. The beauty of this recipe is you can mix in whatever veggies your heart desires. I incorporated broccoli, but didn’t have quite enough, so I also added in the broccoli stems and a bunch of swiss chard (stems first, leaves later). It’s fresh and flavorful (the mint is such an unexpected flavor!). You can also make this recipe more interesting texturally by using two types of pasta in different shapes.
Chicken and Broccoli Stirfry | Recipe by Carlsbad Cravings
Get the recipe here. I am eternally on a search for good Chinese takeout dupes I can make at home. Chinese food is probably my favorite takeout, but I know that part of why I love it so much is all the sugary sauces and deep frying. When I can recreate my favorite takeout items at home, I can control the cooking methods and find lighter ways to still enjoy decadent favorites. The only thing I recommend changing in this recipe is to use boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts. Dark meat has such better flavor and stays juicier.