True Superfood: Broccoli

When Cailin was a toddler she loved to eat broccoli straight from the refrigerator – we called them broccolollys. She is 6 now and still prefers her broccoli uncooked and preferably frozen – when I include broccoli in her lunch I just grab some florets straight from the fridge. Super easy. Broccoli is actually one of my favorite vegetables too – and this is coming from someone who can now say I actually have a favorite vegetable after spending most of my childhood hiding peas under mashed potato and adulthood avoiding vegetables and salads as much as I could. A lot has changed since then! Since we began ‘eating clean’ and increasing the nutrient density of our diet by adding in more vegetables I can honestly say that now I look forward to a good stir fry.

Broccoli is part of the cabbage family (Who knew! Right?) and is a true nutritional powerhouse offering a good does of Vitamins C and K, the B Vitamins, Vitamin A, folate, fiber and potassium. Broccoli is one of the cancer-fighting superstars and new research has shown that you can boost that benefit combining your broccoli with other veggies or condiments that contain the enzyme, myrosinase. This could include broccoli sprouts, radishes, horseradish, cabbage, arugula, watercress or mustard. I immediately think stir fry – yum! Combining broccoli with one of the myrosinase-containing food produces an anti-cancer agent called sulforaphane which can be measured in the bloodstream. Researchers found levels were higher after eating the combination of broccoli and broccoli sprouts than when either food was eaten alone.

How To Cook Broccoli

Broccoli is a great addition to stir-frys, stews and soups. You can also simply steam broccoli – just cut the florets from the stalks – cut the stalks into bite size pieces and place in a steamer basket over large pot of simmering water. Five minutes or so should be enough. Don’t forget to add some olive oil or butter and seasoning before serving to add some extra delicious to the nutritious and to make sure you have some fat for those fat-soluble vitamins.

One of our favorite ways to cook broccoli is to roast it – it is wonderfully crispy and tastes wonderful when tossed in some olive oil, salt and pepper. Just place into a bowl or zip lock bag and toss then place on a baking sheet in a preheated oven and roast at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until tender and lightly browned. While it is still hot add your favorite topping. If you are doing Paleo/Primal try some lemon juice and the lemon zest or some slivered almonds. If you are WAPF or Lacto-Paleo some Parmesan slices or shredded Parmesan is amazing.

Finally, a creamy broccoli soup is some serious soul food. Here’s a quick recipe for a Paleo/Primal approved version:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Dice a large onion and sauté until soft and translucent
  • Mix in some salt & spices to taste; cumin, coriander, black pepper or a few that you might have on hand. About a tspn of spices.
  • Add 3 cups of chopped broccoli and 3 cups of chopped cauliflower – sauté for about 5 minutes
  • Cover with water – about 2-3 cups and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 12-14 minutes or until tender
  • Use an immersion blender to purée, taste and adjust seasoning if you need to
  • Serve with your topping of choice – some lightly fried slices of pancetta or proscuitto diced is a Paleo or Primal favorite. We do include raw dairy so we would probably add a little heavy cream when we purée the soup and would serve with some feta or cave-aged gruyere with the pancetta ‘croutons’.
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About the Author:

Candice is a certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach living in sunny San Diego, California with her husband and seven year old daughter. She is passionate about nutrition and holistic health and sharing what she has learned and continues to learn with others who want to achieve health and vitality.