Broccoli is by far one of the most unusual-looking vegetables out there. When kids see it, they automatically know it’s not something they’ll love finding in their plate. But a little research on the benefits of broccoli can easily convince you that it’s worth trying.
Broccoli is rich in nutrients, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. You can dip it sauce or mix it with any kind of meat. You can even put it in a food processor to mix with your healthy drinks. But did you know that there are so many ways to prepare broccoli? If you didn’t, here are 5 easy methods.
Method 1: Steaming
If you want a method that will keep the vibrant color of the broccoli, then steaming is for you. Steaming is an easy way to cook broccoli while keeping its nutrients and shape intact. Steaming will also help bring out an earthier flavor to the broccoli. You can steam this vegetable through a microwave or a steamer itself.
Using a microwave:
- Before placing the broccoli in the microwave, first slice it into smaller pieces. If you want to cook the stem, cut it from the crown and slice it into smaller chunks. For the crown, separate the florets and make sure that they have a small part of the stem left.
- If you have a microwave-safe bag, you can place the florets and the stem inside. But if you don’t have this kind of bag, you can simply place the broccoli on a microwave-safe dish.
- Pour 1-2 tablespoons of water onto the broccoli to maintain its color.
- Then, turn the heat on your microwave and cook it for 1 minute.
- To know if the broccoli is cooked, get a piece of its stem and slice it with a knife. If it gets sliced easily, then you can now take out the broccoli. I
- If the stem is still a bit hard, keep heating the broccoli in the microwave. Heat it for 30 seconds at a time until the stem is tender.
Using a steamer:
- Prep the broccoli as if you are going to cook it in the microwave.
- Place water in a steamer pot. The water should be an inch below the steamer basket so that the steam reaches the broccoli easily.
- Heat the water until it starts to simmer. When it does, place the steamer basket on top and put all the broccoli in it. You can cover the steamer basket for faster cooking time.
- Steam the broccoli for 4-5 minutes or until the stem is tender.
Method 2: Roasting
Roasting is usually not the way people will cook their broccoli. Even though it produces a crisp and glazed-looking vegetable, it often takes a lot of time and electricity. But if you have spare time in your hands, roasting is worth a try.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- While waiting, you can start by washing the broccoli properly.
- Slice the broccoli as if you are cooking it in the microwave. Once they’re in smaller pieces, make sure that each and every one is dry. When it comes to roasting, it’s important that the broccoli is dry so it can be crispier after. You can use a paper towel to remove the moisture.
- Spread all the broccoli over a baking sheet and coat everything with olive oil.
- Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
- Place it in the oven for about 10 minutes to cook. The smaller the broccoli pieces you have, the faster and crispier they are when you cook them.
For best results, make sure that you serve the broccoli right after roasting it. This is because the broccoli tends to lose its crispness when exposed to cool air.
Method 3: Sautéing
Another common method for cooking broccoli is sautéing. Sautéing refers to a kind of cooking technique where you cook food in fat or in oil. It’s similar to frying except that you cook it over fat for a short period of time. Here’s how you can sauté broccoli.
- Similar to roasting, your broccoli needs to be as dry as possible before you start cooking it. Some people skip cleaning to make sure that it’s dry.
- Prepare your skillet and heat it over medium heat.
- When the skillet is warm enough, put olive oil. The amount should be just enough to be able to cook all the broccoli.
- Add both the garlic and the broccoli. Cook it for 4-5 minutes by stirring the ingredients from time to time. You can add some salt and pepper to add taste to the vegetables.
- When the broccoli is starting to glaze, turn off the heat and serve.
The beauty in sautéing is that you can already put spices on your broccoli so that it tastes well. This is a good way to add flavor especially if the broccoli is going to be a dish on its own. Aside from salt and pepper, you can add chili or other earthy spices to bring out the taste of the broccoli.
Method 4: Baking
Just like roasting, most people wouldn’t think of baking broccoli unless they have a lot of time in their hands. However, baking is a great way to add taste to the broccoli because you can make sure that each floret and stem is seasoned perfectly.
- For this method of cooking, you’ll need olive oil, salt and pepper, and lime juice.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- While waiting, clean the broccoli using cold water.
- Once it’s clean, dry it up by using a paper towel. When it’s dry, cut it into smaller pieces. If you’ll use the stem, cut the stem off first and chop it into equal sizes. Then, separate the florets from the smaller stems. For the florets, they don’t all have to be equally cut.
- In a large bowl, put all the broccoli. This is when you season them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and other spices. If you have garlic and chili powder, you can add them to the mix. Mix the broccoli well so that each floret and stem has enough spices.
- When the oven is heated already, place the broccoli over a baking sheet. Make sure that they are even.
- Bake the broccoli for 15-20 minutes.
- To check if the broccoli is cooked, take out one floret and pierce it with a fork. If it’s tender enough, then the broccoli is already cooked. If it’s still a bit hard, leave it in the oven for a few minutes.
Method 5: Boiling
And last but not least is the fastest method of cooking broccoli. If you’re pressed for time, boiling is the best way to go because the total cook time is less than 10 minutes. Here’s how to do it:
- Wash the broccoli with water and vinegar. To do this, mix water and vinegar with a ratio of 3:1 and pour it over the vegetable. You can also mix water and vinegar in a bowl and soak the broccoli in it. This will help wash away the bacteria in the broccoli.
- When you’re convinced that it’s clean, cut off the stem. Use a sharp knife to cut through the broccoli. Cut just below the crown.
- Then, separate the florets from the main trunk. You’ll notice that they will look like smaller versions of the broccoli.
- Start the boiling process by putting water in a pot. The amount of water you’ll put should be enough to fully submerge all the broccoli. Turn the heat up and wait for the water to boil.
- When the water starts to boil, place the broccoli inside. If you plan on consuming the stem, chop it to equal sizes and boil them first.
- Boil the stems for two minutes. After two minutes, add the florets to the pot by lowering them gently using a slotted spoon. Let all the broccoli cook for 4-5 minutes.
- When the broccoli is starting to get tender, use a pair of tongs to remove the florets and the stem. Place them in a strainer to remove the excess water.
- Transfer it to a bowl to cool down to room temperature before serving.
With these five methods, you’ll realize that there is more to broccoli than just a simple side dish. In fact, you can do so much with broccoli that you can mix it with any meat. Some people are even able to create broccoli pies using the oven.
But to ensure a good-tasting broccoli dish, keep in mind that you should buy good broccoli. If you don’t know how, just remember that the darker the color, the fresher the broccoli is. The stem and the florets should also have a clean look to it. This means that there shouldn’t be any bald or brown spots. It’s also helpful to know that broccoli, in any way it’s cooked, is crispier when it’s dry. So before adding spices, don’t forget to pat it with a paper towel.
- Steaming Broccoli – HowStuffWorks
- 4 Techniques That’ll Prevent You From Ruining Broccoli – HuffPost Life