How To Make Broccoli Taste Good.

For years I wasn’t a huge fan of eating broccoli in the same way I wasn’t a huge fan of walking everywhere backwards while naked.  I could do it, but there was nothing fun about it for me or anyone unfortunate enough to witness the torture. Now I like broccoli!  My tastebuds didn’t change; my recipes did. I learned how to make broccoli taste good.

I come from a long line of canned food eaters. Canned peas, canned corn, canned green beans, even canned asparagus which has the consistency of baby food after it’s been digested, expelled and sat upon for a day or two.

When I first moved into my house at the age of 28, I loaded up my cupboards with canned peas, canned corn and canned green beans. Because that’s how my mother did it, that’s how her mother did it, and that’s how everyone who was raised on white bread and cellophane wrapped cheese slices did it.

Over the years I started to draw the line on canned goods and bought less and less canned stuff and more and more fresh.

Of course, now I’ve gone and hopped right over the canned vegetable line, landing smack dab in the middle of a 1600 square foot garden.  I don’t just eat fresh vegetables, I now grow almost all of them that I eat for the entire year.  Like a hippie.

It’s only a matter of time before I throw out my blush in favour of painting flowers on my face.

Even with all the vegetable growing I do, the one thing I didn’t grow for years is broccoli. Unless you spray it and cloak it and babysit it, broccoli tends to get cabbage worms, a caterpillar-like thing. Often they’re large enough to wear hats, but because they’re the same colour as broccoli they’re impossible to spot. Unless they’re wearing their hats of course, which they rarely do.

Since I built and started using my hinged hoop houses, I’ve been growing broccoli successfully for years and because I grow it, I’m more likely to try to find ways to eat it that don’t cause me emotional distress.

Why not just do away with eating broccoli?  


The benefits of eating broccoli.

  1. Broccoli is low in calories but relatively high in fibre. Meaning, you’ll feel full quicker and longer for just 33 calories per cup.
  2. It’s full of a variety of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals (C, K1, B9, potassium, manganese, iron.)
  3. It’s available *in good condition* year round in the grocery store.
  4. You can eat it raw or cooked and you can eat the entire thing from the florets to the stems.

So if you’re stuck in a broccoli rut or the thought of it makes you gag, read on because there’s more to cooking broccoli than over boiling it (I also come from a long line of over boilers) and dumping it on the plate with salt and butter.

I know boiling broccoli into oblivion is an easy way to prepare it but guess what? So are these …


Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan 

Toss your broccoli florets in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast at 400 F until tender crisp and slightly caramelized.  Drizzle with olive oil and immediately throw a handful of shaved parmesan cheese on top.  (I shave mine with a potato peeler)  Done!

If you like an actual recipe, Ina Garten has a really good Roasted broccoli with parmesan recipe.

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon

Roasted broccoli all on its own is delicious, and tastes completely different than steamed or boiled broccoli. But if you want to make it even better just add a squeeze of lemon over it all at the end.  It’s an easy way to brighten up the roasted flavours.


Lemon

 

Toss broccoli florets in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, roast on baking sheet in 400F oven until tender crisp and caramelized.  Remove from oven, drizzle with olive oil and finish was a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  

 

Broccoli Salad

This is the dish that started me on the path to enjoying broccoli. I figured if the disgusting combination of adding brown sugar, lemon juice and mayo could improve broccoli – just about anything could.

There is ZERO reason this classic broccoli salad recipe should be delicious but it is.

 

 

Salad

You can also add a handful of crumbled, crispy bacon


.For a less sweet, more savoury Broccoli salad this one will be your preferred choice.Salad With Feta

for added interest throw in a handful of slivered almonds.

 

Broccoli Soup

Broccoli soup is my go-to quick meal.  Just add a grilled cheese sandwich and watch their faces light up.

Cut a head of broccoli into equal sized pieces (so they cook at the same speed) and throw it into a pot. I cut the stems up and everything – just peel the stems and chop away.  Add enough broth (vegetable or chicken) to completely cover the broccoli and simmer until tender. Pulverize with a blender or stick wand, add salt and pepper to taste then add some cream or milk until the soup is the thickness you like. Top with croutons and shredded cheddar cheese.

 

Broccoli Fritters

I’ve had these on my “to make” list for about a 5 years but when given the choice I’ll always go for a potato pancake over a broccoli fritter.  Fingers crossed this is the year I actually try Smitten Kitchen’s broccoli fritters.

 

Smitten Kitchen

This looks like an ideal way to use up leftover cooked broccoli to me.  Mix up cooked broccoli with a bit of a batter and pan fry them. Feel free to try the recipe which you can see here and let  me know how it is! 

See? Broccoli has proven to me that it is possible to like new things and do new things. You just have to keep marching forward. If you’re constantly walking backwards you can’t see what new things are ahead of you, you can only see where you’ve already been.

Wow.  Deep.  So deep for a broccoli post. You’re welcome, feel free to print that little gem upon a tee shirt.

How To Make Broccoli Taste Good.

44 Comments

  1. Des says:

    Karen, I do not mind eating the broccoli at all. It’s what happens in my gut the next day that I don’t like. If you are nearby me you wouldn’t like it either. What can be done about that?

  2. Minnie says:

    I’m weird, actually we both are (him, raised in a meat/potato’s family – loves my (now) vegan, macro, Ayurvedic, whatever I feel like thrown together recipe. He’s a hunter, and yes I’ll cook him his game meat – elk spaghetti sauce last night).

    Just slightly steamed, still bright green, with or without carrots, no butter, nothing, no S or P either. Yum.

  3. Darla Travis says:

    I enjoy growing broccoli because it produces a continuous harvest. It keeps giving and giving until all that is growing are little sprouts and they are delicious also. I will definitely try some of these recipes.

  4. Lynn says:

    I stay away from growing cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and raspberry’s due to the dang bugs that are so prone to devour my lovely crops. 🥴 I call them predators

  5. Ann Visco says:

    I have the same husband. Meat, and anything white. He’s Italian and doesn’t even like red sauce. Yet we have a big vegetable garden and demanded half for himself. He grows all this stuff but doesn’t eat it. Makes me crazy. But it was hysterical watching him plant the asparagus upside down. He got all of them in the ground then I came into the garden and told him the stems (roots) ho in the ground. Who needs directions.

  6. Sandra D says:

    I was also raised with canned vegetables, though I’d only eat the peas and corn. I’m glad mom cooked “real” carrots. Today, I only eat frozen peas (or fresh) but I do like canned beans now – especially in a 3 bean salad. When I was 18, I tasted broccoli and loved it right away. I’ve never grown it, but I’d love to try – I’m in Calgary, will it even grow here?

  7. Cathy McCoy says:

    Hmmm. Broccoli tostones. That’s a new one!

  8. Mark says:

    About a dozen years ago, my parents had some foreign university students staying with them who peeled the broccoli stems and cooked them with the florets. I had always just discarded the stems but discovered that I actually like the stems more than the florets as they do not have the same bitterness! Go figure!

    The roasted broccoli with parmesan sounds good – will have to try that recipe. Thanks for that!

  9. Josephine Dubois says:

    These are good ideas! My DH very recently decided he liked Broccoli – only took him like 50 years… Then he decided he loved asparagus, Broccoli and brussel sprouts. What the…???? I love most veggies! Now that I’ve discovered every one of them tastes the best if roasted, we’ve been eating more of the good stuff, including brussel sprouts which are so good roasted! I do want to try them pan fried in bacon grease. Nothing is bad pan fried in bacon grease… I recently tried roasted Broccoli and it’s really the best – but I do love it boiled to mush and slathered with butter and salt, too. :) All veggies slathered in butter and salt are good – like beets! Yum!!! If only I had a green thumb… Luckily we have a decent farmer’s market here if I can drag my butt out of bed early enough on a Saturday. I think I’ll try the fritters on the DH and see how that goes!

  10. Julie Guillemin says:

    I love roasted cabbage too! Cut a head into 6 or 8 wedges and brush it with a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. It’s nothing like the boiled mush I hated as a kid.

    • Josephine Dubois says:

      My step-daughter slices cabbage thick and does olive oil, S&P and roasts them in the oven. They call them cabbage steaks. Looks pretty good to me!

  11. Kat Bat says:

    Love broccoli salad! I’m an omnivore, so I like to add chopped bacon, and occasionally, candied or spiced pecans. I also like broccoli dipped in something “bad” — blue cheese dressing. I will be trying your fritter recipe soon!

    • Karen says:

      No, no, you’ve got that wrong. Blue cheese GOOD, broccoli BAD. ;) ~ karen!

      • Kat Bat says:

        OHHHH! I didn’t know. Thank you for making it okay for me to consume mass quantities of one of my favorite foods! I would put it on cereal, but that would probably be gross. Maybe. I’ll let you know if I try it.

  12. Erin says:

    Several years ago my husband wanted to try growing his own veggie crop (I am the main gardener, so usually grow everything.) Feeling he needed a challenge, I assigned him broccoli. Challenge accepted. He grew a row of broccoli as big as his head! (And yes, the row was covered to protect from cabbage moth. Bleh.)

    Of course, it was all ready at once. We kinda laid off broccoli for a few years but I’m back at it; growing a sprouting broccoli this year as well as standard. Thanks for the recipes!

    • Karen says:

      The hardest thing about covering them for protection is if that cover flies off just ONCE, you’re doomed. I had that happen last year. But BTH really does work if you’re diligent about putting it on every few weeks. ~ karen!

  13. Lisa Steele says:

    Ever since a worm bobbed up to the surface in the pot my Mom was cooking broccoli from our garden in when I was a kid, broccoli hasn’t been at the top of my list . The best way to enjoy broccoli is to give it to the chickens… although I do admit I like broccoli salad and I can see broccoli fritters would be amazing!

    • Karen says:

      Funny, that’s the same way I enjoy brussels sprouts. By feeding them to the chickens. ~ karen!

      • Lisa Steele says:

        LOL! I used to hate Brussels sprouts until my vegan mother in law stayed with us and showed me how to slice them really thin and saute them with fresh sliced garlic. After we left, I tried cooking them in bacon grease…. SO good!

  14. Tracey Durrett says:

    I love broccoli and a ton ofother produce. My hubby (aka “Mr. Meat and White Carbs”) not so much. So I have to get sneaky – I mean creative – in order to get my 6’4″ 10 year-old to eat broccoli and cauliflower. I rice it and add it to spaghetti sauce, chili and any other saucy dish where it can be easily disguised. Added bonus if said dish also includes cheese! His white rice also includes a healthy amount of riced cauliflower.

    • Karen says:

      These are the things one has to do to raise a healthy juvenile husband to adulthood, lol. ~ karen!

    • Ann Visco says:

      I have the same husband. Meat, and anything white. He’s Italian and doesn’t even like red sauce. Yet we have a big vegetable garden and demanded half for himself. He grows all this stuff but doesn’t eat it. Makes me crazy. But it was hysterical watching him plant the asparagus upside down. He got all of them in the ground then I came into the garden and told him the stems (roots) ho in the ground. Who needs directions.

  15. Eileen says:

    Eating broccoli while watching tv. Down to the last bits on the plate, which required looking to get them on the fork. Mistake. Most of the last bits were…[looks just like broccoli] cabbage worms. It’s been years folks, and, while I do sometimes eat the stuff again, it is not without trepidation. And a good soak in salt water first. I also tend to buy the ones no one else wants, the very stemmy ones.

  16. Kirsten says:

    Ok, I will NOT be growing it in my garden. Too small anyways I guess. I’ll stick to lettuces, herbs, and a couple tomatoes.

  17. Holy, F, Karen! You may have just wrecked the one vegetable I actually eat! Cabbage worms?!! They exist and they camouflage? I’m not sure I’m ever going to forget that fact. But if I do, It might be because of one word: Fritters. Okay, maybe Lemon as well. Darn good thing those pictures are so amazing!

    • Karen says:

      I know. It’s a horror show. BUT most of the broccoli you get in the grocery store will be fine, so don’t you think another thing of it.(was that convincing?) ~ karen!

  18. suzanne says:

    Love Broccoli. Not raised with it because it didn’t come from a can. Need help with green beans PLEASE.

    • Julie Guillemin says:

      My favorite way to serve beans: Lightly steam the beans. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, dill and black pepper. Mix dressing and beans. Add some crumbled feta. Serve warm.

    • Karen says:

      Honestly, for green beans for some reason I find I like they WAY more if I french them. I also really like my homemade canned green beans. I guess because they remind me so much of the canned green beans I grew up eating. ~ karen!

      • Paula says:

        So for green beans, take a half pound of bacon and chop it up and brown it, then add a chopped up onion, and when they are translucent, add a drained quart of home canned green beans and two pints of diced tomatoes. Cook this while you’re cooking rice, and then serve this on rice. I actually learned to make this with okra (and it’s yummy that way as well) when I lived in Florida, and while it sounds kind of unappetizing when you read it, it’s actually pretty darn tasty (that would be the bacon and onions) and I can feed it to my 6’3″ husband without complaint. Sometimes twice a week if I’m really tired.

      • Valerie says:

        Hi Karen, I enjoy your blog so much. I will have to try the hoop technique in my garden, as have only had mediocre success growing broccoli.
        But we LOVE broccoli now that I use a pan roast and steam method that only takes about 5 min and is delicious everytime. Cut broccoli so each piece has at least one flat side (to facilitate browning). Heat some olive oil or butter in a skillet that has a well-fitting lid. Place the broccoli flat side down in hot fat at medium hi heat. While pieces are browning slightly, stir 1/2 tsp salt into 1/3 cup water to dissolve. When broccoli is browned to your liking, pour in salt water and cover pan immediately to steam cook for about 2 minutes. Test the stems with a fork for the preferred degree of tenderness, adding a little more water for more steam, if necessary. The broccoli should be bright green and delicious.

    • Petra says:

      Green beans! French them (thinly slice lengthwise) steam them briefly til tender-crisp.
      Saute sliced almonds in a little olive oil with finely sliced garlic then dress the beans with this. Season with coarse sea salt. Enjoy!

    • suzanne says:

      Thank you all for the varied recipes. I want to love them as they’re such easy growers for me.

  19. KATHLEEN HARTZELL says:

    I like raw or roasted,nothing in between! And roasted with radishes and fennel is the best ever.

  20. MeganTerrell says:

    Somehow, when my son was toddler, he truly enjoyed “Stir-fried Tofu & Christmas Trees”…. he still asks for it when he comes home as as 28 year old. Being Jewish, the Christmas trees were extra special, hah. I will try these other recipes, Broccoli is almost a pantry for us now, and I mostly just roast it.

  21. Victoria says:

    Omg thanks for these!!!! I’m in a Covid rut cooking a billion meals for the family every day….

  22. Mary Edmondson says:

    I’m going to try every one of these recipes – so easy for a non-cook like I’ve managed to be for 74 years. But sometimes, my cold cereal meals just don’t cut it & the bf is not available for eating out or eating in at his place. Did I mention I’m lazy? Actually, I have just never liked to cook.

  23. Fritters! What a great idea!

    • Karen says:

      I thought so! I can’t wait to try them. I can’t wait to have a range to try them on. I can’t wait for a lot of things, lol. ~ karen!

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