by Erin Marissa Russell
When you grow your own broccoli, you’re getting larger-than-life homegrown flavor and the assurance of knowing just where your food comes from and exactly which pesticides and other treatments were used to grow it. However, you may be wondering how on earth your family will eat the pile of fresh broccoli your garden is producing. Wonder no more—we’ve put together this handy list of recommendations for ways to cook the broccoli you grow in your garden that your family is sure to love.
Don’t expect to see plain steamed broccoli or broccoli and rice casserole on the following list, though. We assume you’re familiar with the most common ways to serve this tasty brassica vegetable, so for this article, we’ve featured preparations that are more on the unusual side that we think will help you think outside the box when it comes to serving up the broccoli you’ve grown in your garden. Bon appetit!
Recreate Your Favorite Restaurant Menus for Crowdpleasing Broccoli Dishes
Becoming an excellent chef (without going to culinary school) has only one downside—learning to cook well really takes a lot of the charm out of eating out. When you hear someone perusing a menu so they can decide what to order say, “I could make that at home,” the statement is often not the sign of a bargain hunter as some might assume. Instead, it may be the sign of an accomplished home chef who is spoiled to their own high-quality cooking.
It’s likely that no matter how much you hone your culinary skills, you’ll still choose to dine in restaurants some of the time just for the convenience, ambience, to sample a favorite dish, or for the opportunity to socialize with friends on a night out. However, the recipes below that feature broccoli served up in the style of some favorite restaurant specialties will show you just how simple food that’s worthy of a special night can be to prepare at home—and just how delicious.
Feature an Unexpected Broccoli Dish at Breakfast and Brunch
On the breakfast table or at a brunch party, diners aren’t likely to expect a serving of crisp green broccoli to appear on their plates. That said, we see no reason for this precedent to remain the case. Kicking your day off by getting a head start on meeting your veggie requirement is just one benefit of serving up this delicious veggie early in the day. You’ll also be starting your body off right by giving it all the nutrition of flavorful homegrown broccoli as food fuel immediately, from your very first meal.
After all, broccoli eaten whole is a better source of nutrients than getting those nutrients from a multivitamin or supplement because an important phytochemical broccoli contains isn’t deployed to your cells as easily when taken as a supplement. So while it may not have been the first way that crossed your mind to get your homegrown broccoli on the table and out of the garden, breakfast and brunch dishes made with broccoli are a natural choice nutritionally. Check out the tasty ways listed below to say good morning to a bowl of broccoli.
Let the Neighborhood Deli Lead the Way With These Classic Broccoli Recipes
An excellent neighborhood deli is enough to entice you to move in nearby, once you’ve sampled the fresh-tasting salads, simmering soups, and other offerings behind the glass case. Broccoli is a perfect partner for many deli favorites, so let your favorite local deli counter lead the way when you’re looking for preparation inspiration.
Spice Your Broccoli Up and Take Inspiration from Global Cuisines
While American food tends to serve broccoli with a plain Jane approach—salt, pepper, and oil, maybe some garlic or cheese—other cultures have their own traditional food pairings that can really jazz up your side dish repertoire. Picture broccoli kissed by golden garlic and savory toasted sesame seeds, folded into spicy, velvety curry dishes, or slow-cooked as part of a multilayered, rich Bolognese sauce and spooned over twirls of pasta.
There’s a reason tried and true favorites are part of the regular lineup, but the benefits of thinking outside your usual standby dishes are many. For one thing, your family is bound to get hungry when they see a new, exciting dish on the menu. Turning to food from other cuisines can teach you new preparation techniques or introduce you to unfamiliar ingredients and unexpected flavor pairings, expanding your culinary horizons.
Check Out These Unique Ways to Eat Broccoli
Speaking of the unexpected, the creators of the broccoli dishes listed below have a thing or two to say to thinking outside the box (or bowl, or plate) when it comes to eating that stash of broccoli from your garden. Take your pick among recipes ranging from Italian-inspired toasty, cheesy calzones stuffed with broccoli’s green goodness to classic roasted broccoli topped with crumbled Cheetos for a play on the traditional broccoli-and-cheese pairing. There are even ways to prepare the stems (other than the standby of slicing them thinly into salads) by whirring up a salsa verde or preparing a vinegary pickle. If none of the recipes we’ve suggested so far tickled your fancy, we’re sure you’ll find something to inspire you in these selections.
As you’ve heard time and again (though maybe not often applied to broccoli), there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing. If the broccoli crop your garden produces gives you more than your family can possibly eat, pass along your good fortune. Friends, family, and coworkers are bound to appreciate the gift of fresh, homegrown produce. When you run out of contacts to gift with baskets of your garden bounty, don’t overlook those less fortunate. Food pantries (from local nonprofits to soup kitchens and church food pantries) usually are more than glad to accept fruits and vegetables that those who donate have grown themselves.