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Cooking with Broccoli

Broccoli Salad with Almond and Chile Dressing

Broccoli Salad with Almond and Chile Dressing Recipe

I’m a huge fan of broccoli in all its forms. I love it steamed just until it turns bright-green and crisp, but I also adore it cooked long enough so that becomes meltingly tender and velvety, blending its flavor with the ingredients around it. I grill it, roast it and stir-fry it, and even chop or grate it to meld into everything from soups to salads to pancakes. Raw it’s one of my favorite dippers, and cooked and pureed it also makes a fine base for the dip itself. It’s a year-round staple in my kitchen, and I’m happy to eat it everyday.

Broccoli was one of the first vegetables that came to my attention as particularly healthy, way back when I was in college, and I’ve sought it out ever since. Like other members of the cruciferous vegetable family, it features a huge array of vitamins and minerals, a great amount of fiber, and modest amount of protein. And although the discussion of antioxidants predates my love affair with broccoli, I’m happy to say that researchers say it’s packed with them too.

Choosing & Using Broccoli

  • Look for broccoli with firm, dark-green to purple-green clusters of florets without yellow blossoms, a sign of age. It should smell fresh and earthy, not sour or cabbage-like.
  • Refrigerate broccoli in a paper or plastic bag, preferably in the vegetable drawer.
  • Although broccoli will keep a fresh appearance for a week or more, it loses sweetness and crispness rapidly, so try to use it within a few days.
  • Cut florets into uniform size for consistent cooking. Use a paring knife and follow the branching structure of the head. 
  • Remember that broccoli’s thick, woody stalks are also delicious–don’t throw them out! After you’ve removed the florets, trim the base of the stalk and peel off the fibrous skin. You’ll have a tender bit of sweet, juicy flesh that you can slice and cook along with the florets, munch on raw, or grate for salads or slaws.

Nothing could be easier than a quick steam or sauté of broccoli to serve up as a side dish. Typically you’ll want to cook the florets just until tops are bright-green and the stems are barely flexible. That means just 4 to 5 minutes of steaming or grilling, about 3 minutes of sautéing, and about 2 minutes of boiling or microwaving.

A little salt, a touch of pepper, and maybe a drizzle of olive oil and some lemon is all broccoli needs. But delving deeper into this great veggies culinary possibilities can be terrifically rewarding. Here are some of my favorite recipes for this cruciferous crusader.

Broccoli, Rice and Cheese Casserole

Broccoli, Rice and Cheese Casserole Recipe

Say Cheese!

Broccoli as comfort food? Absolutely! Add cheese and you’ve got an irresistible combination. A classic is Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese Sauce, a contrast in flavors and textures that charms palates both young and old. This same duo updates wonderfully in this Broccoli, Rice and Cheese Casserole, featuring brown rice, and Warm Broccoli and Cheese Dip, a three-cheese combo that’s fabulous for parties or game-day snacking. Or explore broccoli’s affinity for blue cheese in this creamy Penne and Broccoli with Zesty Gorgonzola Sauce.

Crustless Broccoli and Onion Quiche

Crustless Broccoli and Onion Quiche Recipe

Everyone Loves Quiche

Its flavor melding qualities and crisp-tender texture make broccoli is a favorite addition to quiche. Add a few cups of florets to your favorite recipe, or try this super-easy Crustless Broccoli and Onion Quiche, quick enough for weeknights, or this deliciously vegan Tofu and Broccoli Quiche that sports an unusual crust made from whole-grain bulgur wheat.

Kung Pao Broccoli and Tofu with Pineapple

Kung Pao Broccoli and Tofu with Pineapple Recipe

Stir-Fry Standouts

Short cooking in sizzling hot wok or skillet is one of the best ways to preserve broccoli’s crisp texture while highlighting its natural sweetness. This recipe for Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry is an easy classic that gives broccoli a starring role, as does Kung Pao Broccoli and Tofu with Pineapple, a delicious, nutritious update of a take-out favorite.

Broccoli Salad with Walnuts and Currants

Broccoli Salad with Walnuts and Currants Recipe

Great Salads

This terrifically healthy recipe for Broccoli Salad with Walnuts and Currants calls for steamed broccoli, but you can also try recipes like this with raw florets if, like me, you’re a fan of this veggie raw. The same goes for this wildly popular Broccoli Salad with Almond and Chile Dressing, a super-healthful salad that brings out broccoli’s nutty side with a creamy almond dressing. And for a pasta salad, you can’t beat Artichoke and Broccoli Pasta Salad, packed with Mediterranean flavors and perfect for a potluck or picnic.

Hungry for more? Check out the collection of terrific recipes and share your favorite recipe in the comments section. 

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Teresa says …

Thanks for all the different ideas and ways to eat Broccoli ! They all sound great and I certaily will be trying them:) We usually eat Broccoli steamed with cheese or plain or just as a snack. #HealthYeah

Ron Rotter says …

Can I order on line and come and get your food

Benny Starr says …

Broccoli really awesome beside from the nutrients you can get from it you can also enjoys eating it. I usually eat Broccoli salad, but i will certainly try the others and let see what's next.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@RON - Some of our stores offer pre-ordering but we do not have an online process set up yet. Check with your local store to see if they offer ordering through email.

Jinnie says …

Instead of using lettuce in salads, I use spinach as the base and from there I always add broccoli flowerets, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and any other veggies in the fridge. Sprinkle with favorite dressing. I also make my own pizza and add broccoli along with other veggies, left over meat, and several different cheeses.

Mary Edwards says …

Thank you for the recipes.

DEE says …

Unfortunately I just found out that Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are bad for you if you have a hypothroid - a high TSH. This is not publicized and my son was eating broccoli every day and his TSH went way up. Cruciferous vegetables do something on taking the iodine out of the body. So no more broccoli or cruciferous vegetables for him. I on the other hand can still eat them.

Pamela says …

I had a really tasty dish in your store the other day: sweet potato, apple, gruyere gratin. Any chance I could have the recipe? If I lived closer, I would buy it every day! :-)

Mark says …

Any vegan suggestions? like a cheese substitute?

Kathy Kolstad says …

I know this is so basic, but we love it. Sautee' in basil olive oil (my fave is Oliviers & Co.-from France)onions,red & yellow peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, and add whatever else you choose. Don't over cook. And at the end put in some slivered almonds or pecans. And if you want put a bit of shaved parmesan. LOVE it with salmon! I always keep things simple. :-)

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARK - I would encourage you to reach out to your local store to see what vegan cheese options they have in stock. Typically our stores will carry a rice or almond based cheese but the vendor can vary.

Brad Otts says …

This past Thursday, jan 24, I was in the store. Y'all had this amazing "detox" salad at the food bar Broccoli Cauliflower Carrots Ginger Lemon juice Olive oil Cayenne I believe that was it.would y'all mind passing along the recipe, ingredients & measurements ? I don't live in Austin and I was to Malik's it at home..... It was sort minced or something like that. Thanks

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BRAD - Sounds like a great salad! I was unable to find this recipe on our website so this means that more than likely it was created by a regional or store chef. I would suggest reaching out to the store where you had the salad to find a recipe. If they have one, they will be happy to share it with you!

Marisa Procopio says …

Broccoli sauteed in olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes until soft + anchovy paste + plenty of Parmesan cheese + minced fresh garlic+ pasta. Heaven anytime but especially on a cold winter night! mcproco.wordpress.com

Riaz says …

Nice broccoli recipes

Toni says …

@Brad, if you find the recipe for that salad you mentioned, please post it. I really would like to try it. It sounds great.

krsljanina2 says …


Kelly says …

Always looking for ways to get broccoli into a meal. Great options. Yumbo!

martin says …