Nutrition & Healthy Eating : Health Benefits of Broccoli
How to Eat Raw Broccoli
When you think about eating broccoli, you probably picture it roasted or steamed. While these methods are common, cooking broccoli reduces the nutritional value and crispy texture. To absorb the full nutrients that broccoli has to offer, consider eating it raw. You can dip the florets in a creamy homemade sauce, or assemble a colorful salad for a quick lunch. For a crisp side dish, pair the florets with your favorite meat, or other raw vegetables.
Preparing the Broccoli
Clean the head of broccoli with cold water.The crevices in broccoli can easily hide dirt and even small bugs. Run cold water over the broccoli head, and use your fingers to rub clean any dirty spots.
- For broccoli that is particularly dirty, fill your sink with cold water and let the broccoli soak for 2 to 3 minutes. Soaking the broccoli will loosen any crusted particles that you were unable to rub off. Then, rinse the broccoli for a second time to wash away the dislodged dirt.
- If you are using packaged broccoli florets, pour the contents into a colander and rinse the florets under cold water.
Dry off the broccoli head with a paper towel.Gently pat the broccoli until it is completely dry. The crevices can hold water just as easily as they can hold dirt, so rotate the broccoli head as you are patting it. Drying the broccoli will give you extra traction for when you go to cut it later, and will also prevent any dressings you put onto it from becoming watery.
- Do not rub the surface of the broccoli to dry it. Excess pressure against the bundle of florets might cause pieces to start to break off.
Use a sharp knife to cut the florets from the main stem of the broccoli.Do this on a cutting board to avoid damaging your counter or table. Cut the florets until they are broken into pieces of about 1 inch (2.5 cm). Trim any brown or damaged-looking parts as they may be rotten. The broccoli might still be wet, so be careful when cutting and trimming it.
- The florets are the dark green, bushy parts. Each will have a small stem, or a bundle of small stems.
- While the stems are completely edible, not everyone likes to eat them raw because they can be stringy or tough. Taste one of the stems and determine for yourself whether you want to keep the them or not.
- A medium head of broccoli will yield approximately 3-4 cups (525 g-700 g) of florets.
Experiment with herbs and spice pairings to simply season the raw broccoli.Broccoli has a simple taste that can be paired subtly with lemon pepper, or salt and black pepper, or combined with bold flavors like balsamic vinegar, basil, and fresh ginger. These common flavors will add to natural taste of the broccoli, and can even be combined with other raw vegetables to make a salad.
- Some other classic broccoli seasonings include garlic powder, cumin, curry powder, cayenne pepper, cilantro, and rosemary.
Drizzle the florets with a homemade ranch-style dressing for a creamy topping.By making your own dressing, you will be able to experiment with the texture and consistency of the dressing. Add more vinegar to thin out the dressing, or add more sour cream to thicken it up. If you don’t have time to whip up your own dressing, grab the store-bought ranch and dip the florets in that for a quick snack.
- For a quick ranch-style dressing, mix together a cup (120 mL) of mayonnaise, a cup (59 mL) of sour cream, 1 teaspoon (4.9 mL) of white distilled vinegar, and 2 tablespoons (9.6 g) of ranch seasoning mix.
Toss the florets with lemon juice, olive oil, and Dijon mustard for a zesty flavor.In a bowl mix together 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of olive oil, and the juice from half of a lemon. Add in the florets from 1 medium head of broccoli, and toss everything together. The simple dressing will have spicy and acidic flavoring from the mustard and lemon juice.
- Add different textures with the florets that will complement the seasoning. Cherry tomatoes or sliced almonds will add an extra crunch, and 1 clove of minced garlic will add a pop of flavor.
Dip florets into a creamy Greek yogurt dip for a filling lunch or snack.The Greek yogurt will add protein to your dish that will help keep you full longer. Take 1 cup (240 mL) of Greek yogurt, the juice from half a lemon, and season it with your favorite spices. Play with the different amounts of spices to make the dip fit your tastes. Start with approximately 1/2 tsp (0.8 g) of the spices, and increase the amounts from there.
- Try a combination of onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, dried dill, and dried parsley for a mild tasting dip.
- Experiment with bold flavors like a mixture of paprika, fresh chives, and minced garlic.
Marinate the florets to add flavor and soften the texture of the broccoli.Create a simple marinade using lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. To do this simply put the coated florets into a plastic bag, seal the bag, and let it rest in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. The flavors will have softened the florets and thoroughly seasoned them.
- If the lemon marinade sounds too simple or bland, then consider making a vinegar-based marinade instead. Using the florets from 2 medium heads of broccoli, mix together 1 cup (240 mL) of cider vinegar and olive oil, and 1 tsp (approximately 1.6 g) of sugar, dill weed, black pepper, garlic salt, and table salt. Allow the marinade to soak the broccoli overnight in the refrigerator, and enjoy the myriad of flavors the next day.
Pairing with Other Foods
Mix a bowl of florets with your favorite protein or fruit for a simple salad.Given the sweet and earthy flavor of broccoli, it can easily substitute lettuce in your favorite salad dish. Experiment by using different fruit combinations with grilled chicken, turkey, or any other meat of your choosing. Broccoli salad can be an excellent lunch or dinner option to serve to your family and friends.
- For a refreshing afternoon salad, take 1 head of broccoli florets and mix it with slices of fresh strawberries, red onions, and almonds. Drizzle on a dressing of 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of lemon juice, and a cup (120 mL) of mayonnaise. Serve this salad chilled, and enjoy.
- For a fun evening salad, add chunks of grilled chicken to 1 head of broccoli florets, and sprinkle on some sweet cranberries, and crunchy sunflower seeds or walnuts. Then whisk together a zesty dressing using cup (180 mL) of mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons (9.9 mL) of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of honey.
Pair the florets with other raw vegetables for a colorful side dish.When paired with other raw vegetables, broccoli can be used as a simple side dish for large dinners. To your broccoli florets, add chopped carrots, blanched pea pods, and slices of bell peppers. Then toss the mixed vegetables with any sauces or juices that are prevalent in your meal to tie the flavors together.
- Serve the florets and mixed vegetables with grilled chicken and rice. Drizzle on some soy, sweet and sour, or teriyaki sauce to make a colorful Asian cuisine.
Transform the raw broccoli into a creamy coleslaw.You can buy broccoli slaw mix that is already assembled at the store, but if you choose to make your own, you can experiment with mixing different types of fruit and vegetables. For a dressing, either marinate the broccoli-mix in traditional slaw vinaigrette found at your local grocery store, or get creative and whisk up your own.
- To the florets from 1 medium head of broccoli, consider adding 3 large grated carrots, 1 cup (100 g) of shredded red or green cabbage, 2 sliced green onions, and 1 diced and peeled red or green apple.
- Complement the mixture with a spicy vinaigrette by mixing 1 cup (240 mL) of mayonnaise, cup (59 mL) of apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp (6.25 g) of grated ginger, 1 tsp (1.6 g) of salt, 1/2 tsp (0.8 g) of black pepper, 1/2 tsp (0.8 g) of Chinese Five-spice powder, and 1/4 tsp (0.4 g) of cayenne pepper.
- Mix the vegetables with the vinaigrette, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours. When you are ready to serve, top broccoli slaw with hazelnuts or raisins for an added texture.
Video: DON'T EAT BROCCOLI UNTIL YOU DO THIS!
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