Super Food 6: Broccoli
"Eat your broccoli!" was a common command in our house when we were growing up. Back then I didn't like broccoli much. It's floral-like heads always seemed enormous and unmanageable. So much so, that I used eat the baked potato on my plate but not the skin, which I would turn upside down and then sneakily shove the broccoli underneath, creating a secret stash, while also making my plate look finished.
Thankfully I have discovered that there are alternatives to simply boiling broccoli and serving it as is, and some of them make it taste pretty good too. Plus every mouthful of broccoli is doing your body wonders.
So what makes broccoli such a superfood?
5 Facts about Broccoli you Didn't Know
- Broccoli is known as a cruciferous vegetable. What is "cruciferous" I hear you ask? Well, the family takes its name from "cruciferae" (New Latin apparently for cross-bearing, according to my research) from the shape of their flowers whose four petals resemble a cross.
- High in Vitamin C, soluble fibre, folic acid and carotenoids, which are packed with Vitamin A.
- Can improve reproductive health, protect your cells from the damage of free radicals and enhance immune system function.
- Just one serving (one medium stalk) provides 175% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin K, which helps build strong bones and plays an important role in blood clotting.
- Half a cup of broccoli a day can prevent certain cancers, including cancers of the lung, colon, rectum and stomach.
Broccoli & Parmesan Pasta
Here's what you'll need...
- 3 tsp minced garlic
- 2 long red chillies
- 2 heads broccoli
- 140ml extra virgin olive oil
- 60g grated parmesan
- 350g short dried gluten free pasta
- 1 cup rocket
- 1 lemon
And here's how to make it ...
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Halve chillies lengthwise, remove seeds and finely chop. Cut stalks from the broccoli, peel, then cut into 1cm pieces. Cut the broccoli heads into small florets.
- Add florets to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes or until almost tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and keep water boiling. Place half the florets in a food processor with 2 tbs oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add 40g of grated parmesan to the food processor and process to a paste. Transfer to bowl with remaining florets.
- Add gluten free pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Halfway through cooking, add the broccoli stalks. Drain pasta and broccoli stalks, reserving 125ml cooking water and the pan.
- Place remaining 100ml oil, garlic and chillies in reserved pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant. Add reserved cooking water, pasta, broccoli mixture, rocket and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, tossing, for 2 minutes or until rocket wilts.
- Squeeze lemon over pasta, season and toss well to combine. Divide among bowls and scatter with remaining parmesan.
If you enjoyed this recipe, why not either: