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MF Food: Broccoli

Love it or loathe it, there's no denying that this fit-guy staple can get old quickly—especially if you're boiling or steaming it. We asked Josh Silvers of Syrah Restaurant in Sonoma, CA, for some alternative ways to prepare it.

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TOSS IT WITH RICE

  • To make a supereasy salad that's ready in minutes, grab a head of fresh broccoli and clean it well under running water. Shake dry, then chop the stems and florets into 1/2-inch pieces. Chuck them into boiling water for a couple of minutes, drain and rinse again under cold water. In a large bowl, measure out a 1/4-cup each of halved green olives, sliced cucumber, chopped green onion, toasted pine nuts, diced red onion, and grated parmesean cheese. Toss in 2 cups of cooked brown rise, the drained broccoli, and mix well. For a dressing, try a combo of oregano, parsley, garlic, olive oil, and OJ.

THROW TOGETHER A SOUP

  • For a delicious one-pot meal, chop up a head of broccoli, separating the thicker stems from the more tender florets. Heat a tbsp of oil in a large pot, toss in a diced onion, and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and the broccoli stems and cook 10 minutes. Chop up a couple potatoes and add them to the pot along with a quart of chicken broth. Cook until potatoes are tender (20 to 30 minutes). Add the remaining florets and cook 5 minutes more. Dump the cooled mixture in the blender and process until smooth. Top with sour cream.

A TWIST ON A CLASSIC DIP

  • Whip up some broc-amole. Chop up a head of broccoli, then boil the pieces in a skillet filled with a couple of inches of water. Once tender, drain the pieces and rinse in cold water. Dump the cooled broccoli in a food processor or blender, along with some garlic and diced onion, 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, the juice of 2 limes, 1 minced jalapeno, 1 tsp of cumin, and salt. Process until creamy.

A DELICIOUS POST-WORKOUT MEAL

  • You'll love broccoli and shrimp stir-fry. Start with the sauce: Mix a clove of minced garlic, some fresh grated ginger, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp chopped cilantro, and 2 tbsp orange juice. For the stir-fry, add a tbsp of oil to a hot wok or frying pan, add diced onion, and saute for a couple of minutes. Next, add a cup or two of diced broccoli, plus 1/2 cup of thinly sliced red bell pepper, and 10 large shrimp (cleaned and deveined). Once the shrimp turns pink, add the sauce, saute another 30 seconds, and serve.

COOKING TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Buy While broccoli is available year-round, the best time to buy it is between October and May. When picking out a fresh head, look for stems that are firm and bright and florets that have the deepest coloring.
  • Store Store heads of broccoli in a plastic bag in your fridge's veggie drawer. Don't wash the broccoli until you plan on cooking it. This lengthens the veggie's shelf life and helps it stay crisp longer.
  • Prep Rinse broccoli head well under the tap then let drain. (Letting the broccoli sit in water can leach out nutrients.) When washing, pay close attention to the tips since dirt can get lodged in them.
  • Cook Aim for speed. The faster you prepare your broccoli, the more nutrients you get. Steaming, stir-frying, and sauteing are great options. Nuking broccoli is also fast but may zap away vitamins.

Broccoli Substitutes If you can't handle the green stuff, consider these instead:

  • Cauliflower: Milder in flavor, this broccoli cousin contains a high amount of vitamin C, fiber, and many of the same cancer-fighting properties as broccoli.
  • Broccoli Rabe: Slightly bitter and much richer in flavor, this broccoli doppelganger is delicious when sauteed with olive oil and garlic.
  • Bok Choy: Leafy and very similar tasting to cabbage, these dark-green leaves cook quickly and work great in place of broccoli.
 

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