5 Healthy Ways To Cook Broccoli
Broccoli is one of the super-foods that is studded with high quality nutrients, flavonoids and ample fiber to keep your satiety satisfied. It can complement any and every meal (from veggie pasta to balsamic chicken or fish). Depending upon your cooking method, you can prepare a main-dish, side-dish, appetizer, salad, snack or even a refreshing beverage such as green smoothie.
Based on the recommendations of daily nutritional intake; one cup of broccoli supply these nutrients (based on the recommended daily value):
Vitamin C: 135%
Dietary Fiber: 10%
Vitamin A: 14%
Vitamin B6: 8%
Vitamin K: 115%
Vitamin B5: 5%
Vitamin B2: 7%
Vitamin E: 4%
Some Key Tips to cook Broccoli:
In order to retain maximum nourishment and nutritive value, healthcare providers and nutritionists advise these simple tips:
– Maintain a low cooking temperature. Maximum tolerable temperature for florets should be around 100°C (or 212°F) for steaming and up to 3-times higher for pan cooking.
– Make sure to avoid over-cooking. To be safe, cooking at these recommended temperatures for 5 minutes is more than sufficient.
– Broccoli stems are fibrous in nature and took slightly longer to get soft; which is why you should cook them separately from florets.
– For quick cooking, you can use a vegetable spiralizer to prepare thin slices of broccoli. The sliced variety of broccoli can be prepared within 10 -30 seconds (via microwave).
– Broccoli does not have a very long shelf life. It is therefore highly recommended to buy fresh bright green broccoli florets with firm and sturdy stems (instead of yellow or brown florets and stale, dull stems that is usually a sign of old and dying broccoli).
5 Healthy Ways to cook Broccoli:
1. Wash the broccoli with ample clean running water. Drain the extra water.
2. Now cut broccoli in bite-sized pieces with the help of a sharp cutting knife. Alternatively, if you don’t have a lot of time, you can always go for spiralizing approach (involves the use of a spiralizer). The benefit of using spiralizer is to get even slices of broccoli that helps in uniform cooking.
3. Stems of broccoli are also edible; so make sure to utilize the stems fully.
Cooking method # 1: Blanching
1. Heat water in a pan and bring to boil. Now put broccoli in the pan and cook for 1 – 2 minutes (or until crisp)
2. Now immediately pour the florets in ice-cold water.
3. Drain the water and serve
Serving tips: Blanched broccoli can be served in casseroles, cold salads, vegetable platters and frittatas.
Cooking method # 2: Microwave Steaming:
1. Place washed and spiralized/ cubed florets of broccoli in a microwavable dish.
2. Pour 2-3 tsp of water or lemon juice on the florets before covering partially with a lid.
3. Ideally, a duration of 1 minute for spiralized broccoli and 4 minutes for medium-sized broccoli florets is considered ideal to get a soft chewy consistency. You can microwave the broccoli for another couple of minutes if you like your broccoli really soft.
Cooking method # 3: Stove-top Steaming
1. Pour small amount of water in a pot (covering up to 3-inches in height of the pot). Bring the water to boil.
2. Place a steaming basket with broccoli florets over the pot (but make sure not to let the water touch the base of the steaming basket).
3. While pot is still on stove, allow broccoli to get steamed for about 3-5 minutes.
Remove from the pot and serve hot.
Serving tips: Steamed broccoli is ideally served as a side-dish with meat proteins. Additionally, you can also serve it as an appetizer (after mixing with seasoning and butter/ olive oil) and seasonings, soups, frittatas, warm salads, and casseroles.
Cooking method # 4: Roasting
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degree F. Make sure to work with dry broccoli (avoid washing or rinsing if you don’t have time to completely drain the water).
2. Put broccoli florets and stems in the oven tray and sprinkle small quantity of salt/ seasoning and olive oil. Spread evenly in a single layer.
3. Bake until broccoli is crunchy and well-done (you will see brown caramelized spots suggesting a desired consistency).
4. Serve hot.
Serving tips: Roasted broccoli is ideally served as warm salad, soups, side-dish with protein entrée, pizza topping (do not cook completely if you are planning on using broccoli as pizza topping).
Cooking method # 5: Sautéing
1. Make sure to use dry broccoli florets/ spirals (so don’t rinse unless you have ample time to dry/ drain the water from the broccoli).
2. Pour 2-3 tsp of olive oil in a skillet and heat on a medium flame.
3. Add florets of broccoli with stems in the skillet and seasoning/ salt to taste. Toss gently to coat the broccoli with oil and seasoning.
4. Cook until the florets are dark green.
Serving tips: Sautéed broccoli is ideally served with salads (both cold and warm). You can also combine it with other sautéed vegetables for a healthy lunch or snack.
Make sure to try different types of seasoning and herbal flavors to improve the flavor quality and nutritional value of broccoli.