Crowd-Pleasing Roasted Broccoli
You are what you eat.
I've said this a lot in the last few weeks. I've been thinking about it a lot. How important it is to put quality food in our bodies if we want to have quality health.
I also think that it's very important to love what you eat. Unfortunately, for the majority of people I talk to (or at least, so it seems), the idea of healthy and delicious seem mutually exclusive.
I'm here to attempt to convince you otherwise.
So, today we're roasting broccoli. Yes, that's right. If Brussels sprouts are the #1 most disliked vegetable in America, broccoli is probably #2.
If you fall into the category of people-who-hate-broccoli, here are three reasons with which I hope to change your mind.
Reason #1 to Love Broccoli: It's Cruciferous, Baby
Wait, what does that even mean? The word cruciferous comes from the Latin word, crucifer, meaning "cross-bearing."
If you cut a head of broccoli in half, you'll notice this cross-shape. Cruciferous vegetables are an entire class of veggies that also includes cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy, to name a few.
What's so great about this cross-shape? These veggies include a group of phytonutrients called glucosinolates. When consumed, glucosinolates are broken down into an array of substances that collectively have been shown to reduce risk of all types of cancer. Take a look at the American Cancer Society's website for more details.
Reason #2 to Love Broccoli: It's Filling
Like most other veggies, broccoli has lots of fiber compared to it's caloric price tag. Fiber content is one of the reasons that eating whole veggies is better than:
- Juicing - it removes all of the amazing fiber. Why would you do that?!
- Smoothies - it pre-digests food for you, so you don't feel as full after drinking the same amount of calories as you would have eaten (even though smoothies are better than juice because they at least do have the fiber)
- Supplements - sorry (not sorry), but you'll never, ever get the nutrients from a vitamin or protein drink that you would from real food. Supplements are for people who are sick and either can't consume enough real food, can't absorb it properly, or can't metabolize it
Including veggies with a meal is a great way to help you feel full and satisfied. As you include veggies, decrease your portions of less nutritious foods, like white rice or pasta. Cut the steak in half and double the portion of broccoli, and you have a recipe for life-long good health.
Reason #3 to Love Broccoli: It's Super Yummy
Remember those glucosolates I was bragging about before? These compounds happen to contain sulfur, which is what gives broccoli its distinct aroma and slightly bitter taste.
Thus, when preparing broccoli, it's really important to cook it in a way that enhances its flavor. If you steam or boil broccoli, this will usually enhance the bitterness rather than mitigate it. I'd recommend topping steamed broccoli with a squeeze of lemon juice or a few drops of soy sauce - sweet, salty, and sour flavors can all help tame the bitterness.
However, my all-time favorite way to tackle bitterness is to roast my vegetables. We talked about the two chemical reactions (caramelization and Maillard browning) when we discussed Brussels sprouts - and how the combination of these two processes transform some of the starches in veggies into sugar. This, of course, helps to cut that bitter flavor. Yum.
Enough of my jabbering. Let's start cooking!
Rinse a beautiful large head of broccoli well and drain. Cut the head in half, then cut off florets into 1-inch pieces. You can also include the stem of the broccoli and cut this into 1-inch pieces, but avoid tough ends.
Toss florets with canola oil and salt in a 9x13-inch baking dish
Roast broccoli at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring half-way through to ensure even browning on all sides.
Crowd-Pleasing Roasted Broccoli
- 6 c. broccoli florets (about 1 large head)
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground salt
- Cut a large head of broccoli into 1-inch florets. Also include the stem of the broccoli, but avoid tough ends.
- Toss florets with canola oil and salt in a 9x13-inch baking dish
- Roast at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring half-way through to ensure even browning on all sides
Serves 4 - Serving Size: 1 cup - Nutrients per serving: 107 calories -- 7g total fat -- 1g saturated fat -- 0mg cholesterol -- 284mg sodium -- 9g total carbohydrates -- 3g fiber -- 2g sugar -- 4g protein