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  • Writer's pictureChef Kelly Unger

Broccoli - Eat the whole plant!

Broccoli is part of the Brassica family along with cauliflower, brussel sprouts, collards, kale, cabbages, wasabi and radishes. “Broccoli is high in many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. It also boasts more protein than most other vegetables.” according to

Did you know that the broccoli crown is a head of unopened flowers? Yep! Broccoli likes to be steamed, sautéed, or roasted. But don’t overcook it because, like every member of the brassica family, it contains the healthy compound sulfur. But when overcooked, that sulfur smell will be pronounced and let you know you’ve gone too far.

I would like you to look at broccoli as more than just those delicious crowns, though. The stem and leaves are edible and they are delicious. You don’t have to get super fancy with those parts, you can steam them with the crowns. The stems prefer steaming but if you’d like to saute them, just cut them into small pieces, I think a small julienne cut is best - julienne is the matchstick cut. The leaves also work well steamed but also can be sauteed with olive oil and garlic and onion for a whole separate side dish.

It’s fun and delicious to serve a broccoli salad that is all broccoli but each part is cooked a different way - sauteed stems with garlic, roasted crown fleurettes and steamed sliced stems. I like to finish that with a drizzle of melted butter seasoned with Harissa. The dried Harissa spice mix is spicy enough to brighten up the earthy broccoli but not too spicy to put you in distress.

Broccoli likes other bright flavor companions like lemon, olives, chilis, ginger and mustard. So let your imagination take off. These pairings can be as simple as a topping for steamed broccoli or as complex as a sauce.

To help spur your imagination, I’m sharing a list of herbs and spices by cuisine so you know how to get the right combinations for your flavor craving du jour. List of Herbs & Spices by Cuisine

I'm also sharing a recipe collection that is sure to please everyone:


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