There are some foods that were just meant to be in your daily repertoire, and Broccoli is one of them! But don’t let broccoli fool you; it doesn’t have to be the traditional, boring green tree on your plate! And, don’t think for even one minute that broccoli is just a source of vitamins (A, K, C, E, and B’s), fiber and minerals. Broccoli has hidden SuperPowers. It can be transformed into amazing fun, easy, “yummy in my tummy” goodness, AND it packs a whole lot more nutritional goodness than you might think! But, to unlock the yummy, nutritional goodness, you have to know a few secrets. Get ready, I’m sharing the secrets of Broccoli to put this hero of the vegetable world back onto your family’s plate!
Today is your day to begin adding Broccoli back into your diet! Your waist and health will thank you for including this SUPERFOOD on the plate. You intuitively knew broccoli is good for you. But you probably didn’t realize broccoli contains a huge source of naturally occurring compounds called glucosinolates, isothiocyanates (ICTs), flavonoids, and many other antioxidants that are exceptionally powerful for combatting cellular damage, boosting energy, and preventing cancer and disease.
Please know I don’t throw the word, “antioxidants” around lightly! Consistently shown in research, including recent work published in Clinical Interventions in Aging, oxidative stress is our body’s protective defense mechanism, but oxidative stress is also a key player in the pathogenesis of many inflammatory diseases, including cancer. Environmental toxins from the air and water; sleepless nights; medications; chemicals, pesticides, synthetics, additives on our foods; high-sugar foods, and high stress are all catalysts for oxidative stress that floods our body and impacts long term wellness. Without a high source of antioxidants, especially ones to repair cellular damage, health suffers and risk of disease increases significantly.
Broccoli contains certain compounds that help keep chronic diseases at bay.
Broccoli contains an amazing secret compound called Sulforaphane. But, to access sulforaphane, you have to encourage your veggies to CREATE the compound; it’s not just there! Physical damage, including chopping, chewing, breaking, and light steaming is required to create sulforaphane. This compound is produced from the damage to the plant allowing a sulforaphane precursor, glucoraphanin, to mix with the enzyme myrosinase. The damage allows the two compounds to mix and react…and Sulforophane is born!
A small bit of Sulforaphane is obtained from raw or fully cooked veg, but according to researchers* the greatest amount of Sulforaphane is acquired from chopping broccoli followed by light steaming (3-4 minutes will triple the sulforaphane you absorb!!). And, you want this amazing antioxidant, Sulforophane in your daily diet for cellular energy, to combat free radicals, to clear carcinogens and toxins for detox, to decrease risk of and fight cancer, and for weight loss too…hey, it’s also low in calories and high in fiber to keep you full longer!
Is Broccoli a part of your daily diet? It should be…florets, stems, and sprouts!
Grab your knife and potato peeler! Let’s get cooking!
First, rinse and slice off the beautiful florets. Then, clean the “trunk” by peeling off the the tough outer layer (for compost) to expose its soft trunk. Use the whole broccoli plant in at least 3 ways!!! Just remember to damage the plant FIRST since heat deactivates the power of the myrosinase enzyme to create Sulforophane. And if you forget, please include Mustard Powder in your creation, since it naturally contains myrosinase.
Just a few of my favorites to share with you:
- SOUP Slice and roast with onion and garlic, then purée with broth, add coconut milk, and seasonings for a yummy soup! OR, simply add chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen) to minestrone or veggie soup.
- SALAD Slice into small florets and strips then add to a green salad with spinach, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and white beans. Sprinkle with Italian Seasonings, Garlic powder, pink salt, and black pepper. Drizzle with red wine vinegar, balsamic vinaigrette, and olive oil. Toss to combine, adjusting seasoning to taste.
- CHIPS…slice into floret wedges and slice the trunk across the base to create “chips,” season generously, and use for dipping into hummus or salsa. Raw broccoli contains 30% more cancer-fighting sulforaphane than cooked broccoli.
- BROCCOLI TOTS…A super fun broccoli recipe, and it combines another favorite SuperFood, quinoa!
- STIR FRY Drizzle a small amount of sesame or coconut oil in a skillet or stir fry pan and warm over medium high heat. Chop broccoli, bell peppers, onion, carrots, snap peas, and asparagus into similar, bite-sized pieces. To allow for even cooking, add hard veggies to pan first and saute until vibrant but still crisp, then add soft veggies such as snap peas, and asparagus. Once veggies are soft but still beautiful colors, add minced garlic and ginger, sesame seeds, almond slivers and your favorite Asian sauce (free of sugar), such as tamari. Warm thoroughly and serve over prepared brown rice or quinoa.
- LEMON PESTO WRAPS…A Team PK exclusive…Fun, light, beautiful, and perfect for summer, featuring Broccoli Sprouts, which contain the highest amount of Sulforophane!
- CRUNCHY BROCCOLI SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING Summer is perfect for salads, especially this raw, broccoli salad, which can be thrown together in a matter of minutes to make ahead of time and to enjoy poolside or at barbecues.
- VEGGIE OMELET ….Fold chopped broccoli into your morning omelet or frittata.
- PASTA AND RICE. Add small broccoli florets to boost color, texture and more nutritional value to your pasta and rice dishes.
- BROCCOLI PESTO. In a food processor, combine ½ pound steamed/drained broccoli florets with 2 garlic cloves, 1 cup tightly packed fresh basil, 1/3 cup olive oil and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Pesto can be used as a spread with crackers or over pasta.
- ROASTED BROCCOLI Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place cleaned, chopped broccoli on the paper. Brush broccoli with olive or coconut oil and dust lightly with garlic powder, salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until vibrant in color and softened to bite into easily and serve.
- STEAMED BROCCOLI Place broccoli florets into a microwave safe dish with a few drops of water or steam in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover with lid and cook in the microwave or in steamer basket until broccoli is vibrant green. Season with lemon juice, lemon pepper, garlic powder, pink salt, and pepper. Serve hot.