BROCCOLI - THE QUEENS OF VEGGIES

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While broccoli is certainly nothing new it is worth looking at it in a fresh light as a superfood. Where the classic potato might well be considered a king among vegetables for its robust flexibility and pervasiveness Broccoli should certainly be thought of as the queen. She offers so much more than many people see, she is flexible but is not easily silenced with her bold flavours and Broccoli is certainly a beautiful thing to behold. 

Broccoli the Superfood

The term superfood is certainly used a lot these days but this green delight really does pack a lot of goodness into every bite. It is full of vitamin C , vitamin E and vitamin K and in conjunction with the high levels of iron this actually aids absorption. It is a great source of fibre, folic acid and the usual array of superfood antioxidants too. One of the surprising things about it is that broccoli is also really high in calcium. While it may not offer as much as a glass of milk its a great calcium source; especially for those who go vegan full time or part time. 

Boiling is Boring

OK so we have all been fed boiled broccoli as children and let's face it; unless you always loved it that kind of cooking doesn't do it any favours. It is terrible for keeping in the natural goodness. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and brussels make great additions to salads for added texture and crunch. Broccoli tastes great roasted, blanched, steamed or sauteéd. You can even pop broccoli into a food processor to make 'rice' to serve as a main dish with other vegetables or alongside a protein. Or add raw broccoli into your fruit or green smoothie for extra health benefits.

How to Cook Broccoli

There are quite a few different ways to tackle this amazing vegetable but it is important not to forget how good it is raw!
When shopping for broccoli, look for tightly packed florets and stems that are firm, not shriveled or dried out. Just give it a wash and try it. You can chop it into very small florets.

Sauteéd with olive or coconut oil in a pan or skillet is really where it comes into it's own. Treat it like asparagus and use some fresh garlic and a pinch of top quality salt. It is even better served with some shaved Parmesan and some lemon juice and zest if you are feeling decadent. 

Buy It and Love It

The health benefits of broccoli are clear but so are the taste benefits too.
You can really add a boost to your wellness eating plan and ideas by bringing in this familiar face and try it in new ways. 

Recipe Ideas

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Maybe not so much in the summer months but this soup recipe from Hemsley & Hemsley is a real winner for getting in you greens.

Ingredients  - Serves 9

  • 2tbsp coconut oil or ghee
  • 4 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 heads broccoli, 350g each
  • 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1.6 litres bone broth or water
  • Small bunch of celery, around 6 sticks, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1.5 lemons
  • Sea salt and black pepper

How To:

1. In your biggest saucepan, melt the coconut oil or ghee over a medium heat.
2. Add onions and fry for around 8 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the broccoli by removing the florets and cutting into equal-sized pieces. Roughly chop the stalks into inch sized cubes.
4. To the pan, add the broccoli stalks, celery and garlic for a further 2 minutes, until softened, then add the broth and turn up the heat to a medium simmer with the lid on.
5. Remove the lid and add the broccoli florets to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, adding a bit more broth or water, if needed. Stir and allow to simmer until the broccoli is tender but not overcooked – about 5 minutes will be enough.
6. Remove the lid and test the broccoli it by piercing it with a knife. Add the lemon juice and season again if needed.
7. Finally blend the soup using a handheld stick blender or whizz in batches in a food processor until thick but creamy.
8. Top with toasted seeds and a swirl of pesto.

Samantha Warner