Back in November, broccoli started to make a lot of sense to me. I’d been walking past it all summer but suddenly I was craving it. Broccoli has a winter sort of flavor: robust, slightly bitter, slightly spicy. Added bonus: it’s chewy and filling.
After a few weeks of daily broccoli, I came across a charming interview with Ringo Starr, who is also a fan of this vegetable. In fact he claims to be 99% broccoli. At this point, I might be closing in on that percentage. Which is not a bad thing. Broccoli’s healthy food reputation is well deserved. Here are some nutrients of note for 1 cup of chopped raw broccoli:
|vitamin A (RAE*)
*RAE – Retinol Activity Equivalents, a measure of vitamin A activity. Recommended daily vitamin A intake for adults is 700-900 mcg.Like
Like other vegetables, broccoli contains less significant amounts of other vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and iron. And like other vegetables, it does not contain significant protein or fat.
Unlike other vegetables, broccoli contains several unique antioxidant molecules that can help fight cancer and cell damage. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoid molecules that play an important role in eye health.
Broccoli every day. Is that possible? If you hate it, there are certainly other vegetables that provide a similar mix of nutrients. If you love it, there’s nothing wrong with eating it every day, other than eventual boredom, or a change of seasons. I suspect I may switch to other vegetables when the weather warms up.
My favorite way to eat broccoli is a quick sauté in peanut or canola oil. The pieces should retain their green color, with a touch of caramelization on some. Flavor with garlic and/or ginger; season with soy sauce or hot sauce. Or just some salt. Make it a meal with sautéed tofu, chicken or shimp, or baked salmon, or roasted peanuts.
Raw is good, too. Add chunks to tossed salad. Or add friséed broccoli to cole slaw or a chopped salad. It goes well with fruit like apples, pears and dried cranberries. Use raw florets for a filling and non-sweet snack.
What I don’t recommend is overcooked broccoli. It’s easy to overcook it by boiling, or even steaming. The flavor is ruined; the texture is ruined. Broccoli doesn’t need to be insulted by bad cooking choices. 365 days of overcooked broccoli would be a sad experience.