Bursting with broccoli

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (Hy-Vee) - You may or may not be a fan of this famous green vegetable. Regardless of your thoughts on broccoli, all of us can agree that it is a nutritional powerhouse. It is high in vitamin C, high in folate, a good source of fiber and also a good source of potassium.

If you are like most people, you probably usually steam your broccoli or eat it raw. Today, I will show you how to prepare broccoli in new and delicious ways that will forever change how you look at this vegetable.

Cooking Method #1: Blanching
Prepare a bowl of ice water and have it next to the stove. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add a heaping tablespoon of salt. Add the broccoli florets and cook until crisp-tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge immediately in the ice water. Let the water come back to a boil, then cook the stems until they are also crisp-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. If you would like softer vegetables, cook for an additional 30 seconds.

- Uses for blanched broccoli: Vegetable platters, cold salads, frittatas, and other casseroles.

Cooking Method #2: Steaming in the Microwave
Place the broccoli florets and stems in a microwave-safe dish and pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of water over top. Cover with a dinner plate and microwave on HIGH for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the lid carefully and check if the broccoli is tender. Microwave in additional 1-minute bursts if necessary.

- Uses for steamed broccoli: Side dish with olive oil and seasonings, warm salads, frittatas and casseroles, soups.

Cooking Method #3: Steaming on the Stovetop
Fill a pot with a few inches of water and insert a steamer basket over top. Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli florets and stems and cover. Steam for 4 to 5 minutes, until tender.

- Uses for steamed broccoli: Side dish with olive oil and seasonings, warm salads, frittatas and casseroles, soups.

Cooking Method #4: Sautéing
Make sure the broccoli is as dry as possible. Film a skillet with oil and set over high to medium-high heat. Add the florets and a big pinch of salt. Toss to coat with oil. Add the stems 1 minute later. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is bright green and tender.

- Uses for sautéed broccoli: Vegetable sautés, side dish with seasonings

Cooking Method #5: Roasting
Heat the oven to 425°F. Make sure the broccoli is as dry as possible. Toss the broccoli florets and stems with a few teaspoons of oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Spread the broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the broccoli is crunchy and you can see deep caramelized brown spots. Serve immediately.

- Uses for roasted broccoli: Side dish, cold or warm salads, pizza topping (under-roast slightly so the broccoli doesn't burn on the pizza)
Source: www.thekitchn.com

Nicole Johnson represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert working throughout the community to promote healthy eating and nutrition. Nicole is a Registered Dietitian and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.