Broccoli Basics: Picking, Storing, Nutrition and Healthy, Oil-Free Vegan Recipes

Here are Broccoli Basic Essentials: How to pick, store, and cook healthy, oil-free vegan recipes.  When to choose organic. Plus, nutrition information on this delicious fresh vegetable.

Fresh Broccoli is a delicious, healthy vegetable.  Bake, steam , or roast it for your favorite oil-free vegan recipes

Fresh Broccoli is a delicious, healthy vegetable.  Bake, steam , or roast it for your favorite oil-free vegan recipes

Baby Rapini is a healthy vegetable, a relative of broccoli.  It has a peppery bite, and the leaves provide interesting texture.  It's sort of like broccoli meets arugula.  It makes a tasty option for a spicy flavor, great in stir-fry and pasta dishes.

Baby Rapini is a healthy vegetable, a relative of broccoli.  It has a peppery bite, and the leaves provide interesting texture.  It's sort of like broccoli meets arugula.  It makes a tasty option for a spicy flavor, great in stir-fry and pasta dishes.

Chef's Cooking Tip:  To "shallow steam" broccoli, simply bring a 1/2-inch of water to a boil in a pot.  Add trimmed broccoli florets, cover, and steam until knife-tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Chef's Cooking Tip:  To "shallow steam" broccoli, simply bring a 1/2-inch of water to a boil in a pot.  Add trimmed broccoli florets, cover, and steam until knife-tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Chef's Plant-Based Tip:  To lock in the bright green color of broccoli, submerge steamed broccoli in an ice bath for about 5 minutes, until cold.  The florets will stay bright green.  Use in healthy salads, oil-free stirfry, or vegan pasta dishes

Chef's Plant-Based Tip:  To lock in the bright green color of broccoli, submerge steamed broccoli in an ice bath for about 5 minutes, until cold.  The florets will stay bright green.  Use in healthy salads, oil-free stirfry, or vegan pasta dishes

Chef's Tip: Roast Broccoli with cashews and tofu for a healthy, oil-free crunchy dish.  This makes an easy vegan side, great for some Asian flavor at a potluck or dinner party.

Chef's Tip: Roast Broccoli with cashews and tofu for a healthy, oil-free crunchy dish.  This makes an easy vegan side, great for some Asian flavor at a potluck or dinner party.

 

Quick Reference Pin:

Broccoli 101 - Healthy Infographic Pin for Season, How to Choose, Store, Cook, and Nutrition

Broccoli Basics

Seasons:  

  • Fall and Winter: Although available year-round, prime broccoli season is October through April

Choosing: 

  • Tight Buds: Broccoli buds should be tight and the head heavy
  • Avoid the Yellow This is a sign of aged, dried-out broccoli. It's probably been on the shelf too long
  • Dark Green:  Darker green has been linked to more healthy, anti-oxidant carotenoids
  • Organic?  It's up to you.   Broccoli is one of the least-sprayed vegetables when it comes to pesticides and herbicides.  It's naturally bitter flavor isn't very appealing to pests.  While organic is always a better choice for the environment, there isn't much flavor difference.  It's up to you and your budget if you want to pay for organic broccoli

Storing:

  • Refrigerate for 10 Days:  Place in a vegetable bag in the coldest part of your fridge.  Eat within 10 days.
  • Freezing:  You'll want to steam or boil broccoli florets before freezing or canning.  Simply boil or steam until knife tender and drain.  Store in an air-tight plastic bag (removing as much air as possible) for freezing.

How to Clean and Cook:

  • How to Clean: Rinse broccoli under running water.  If particularly dirty, submerge in a bowl of water and "swish" around, letting the sediment sink to the bottom of the bowl.
  • How to Trim: Trim the bottom of broccoli stalks.  The stalks are edible, but you want to peel the tough outer layer with a vegetable peeler.
  • How to Cook: Steam, boil, or roast broccoli until knife-glide tender.  Use cooked florets in stir-fry, pasta dishes, loaded baked potatoes, and grain salads.  Use raw broccoli florets in salads, serve with hummus as an appetizer, or shred for slaw.
  • Use in Vegetable Stock?  NO.  Cruciferous  vegetables like broccoli release sulfur when boiled or steamed for too long.  Sulfur smells like rotten eggs and does not have an appetizing flavor.  Don't use broccoli trimmings in vegetable stock.

Nutrition (help from the World's Healthiest Foods)

  • Fat Free, Cholesterol Free, Low Sodium
  • Low Calorie: Only 55 calories per cup of broccoli
  • Fiber Power:  One cup of broccoli has 5 grams of fiber!  That's 20% your daily recommendation
  • Protein Power:  1 cup of broccoli has 4 grams of protein, with only 55 calories.
  • Excellent Source of: Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Chromium, Folate
  • Very Good Source of: Fiber, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Manganese, Phosphorous, Choline, Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, Potassium, Copper
  • Good Source of: Vitamin B1, Magnesium, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Protein, Zinc, Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Selenium
  • Antioxidant Photonutrient Power:
    • Glucosinolates - makes isothiocyanates (ITCs) that helps fight cancer cells and support healthy digestion; also fights type-2 Diabetes
    • Cardiovascular Health - The B-vitamins in broccoli is linked to reducing LDL cholesterol, risk of stroke, heart attack, and atherosclerosis
    • Eye Health - Antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin help protect eyes
    • Vitamin D - while broccoli doesn't contain Vitamin D, its high levels of Vitamin K and Vitamin A helps metabolize Vitamin D
    • How much?  Just 2 cups a week (or 1/2 cup a day) is linked to these health benefits
  • Broccoli Relatives:  Broccoli is part of the Cruciferous family.  It's relatives include cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli rabe.

Healthy, Oil-Free Plant-Based Broccoli Recipes