I have two children: a three-year-old who hates broccoli and won’t eat it, and a six-year-old who tells me that broccoli is his favourite vegetable, but still won’t eat it. They should eat broccoli, because broccoli is magnificent. It’s a one-stop shop for fibre, protein, iron, potassium, calcium, selenium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C, E and K. We should all be eating more broccoli, even if – like my kids – we don’t want to. Here are 10 recipes sure to entice even those adamant that it’s not for them.
If you have only ever encountered broccoli in its damp, claggy, boiled form, then let’s change your life by roasting it. Just by popping broccoli in an oven for 20 minutes with a little olive and sesame oil, as Alex Bluett does, you will automatically elevate it to new heights. I’d estimate that 70% of broccoli haters will change their minds after roasting it. The rest of you, though, will need a little extra work.
Spicy stir-fried broccoli with Sichuan peppercorns
Alternatively, you could stir-fry it. My personal preference is to follow this WGBH recipe and dump a load of Sichuan peppercorns all over it, which will not only completely transform the taste, but also make your mouth go so numb that it’s like you aren’t even eating anything at all.
Orecchiette with broccoli and rocket
The problem with Sichuan peppercorns, of course, is that they are way too spicy for a three-year-old. Perhaps pasta is a safer bet. Yotam Ottolenghi’s orecchiette with broccoli and rocket is a work of sly genius because the broccoli – initially fried with garlic and anchovy – breaks down almost to the point of invisibility when cooked.
Pea, broccoli and mint soup
Everyone knows that broccoli and stilton make a classic soup, but I’m much more inclined to make the Green Kitchen’s pea, broccoli and mint soup. Not only is it far fresher than a cheese soup, but the pea and mint are so punchy that you’ll barely even notice that half of it is broccoli.
Roast broccoli grilled cheese toastie
If you have kids, this might be quite high risk, but Bluett also puts roasted broccoli in cheese toasties, which is genius because everyone knows that you can absolutely drown broccoli in melted cheese. There is a chance that a broccoli hater will take one bite, instantly identify the broccoli and reject the whole sandwich. But it’s unlikely.
If you’re cooking for someone who’s guaranteed to faint at even the merest detectable sight of broccoli, it’s time to start hiding it in stuff. Sarah Trotter and Romi Ash have a recipe for broccoli pesto that might be a good place to start. The broccoli takes the place of basil in this pesto made with garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice and parmesan. Make it in minutes, stir it through pasta and nobody will be any the wiser.
Hidden vegetable pasta sauce
If that’s too green, and therefore liable to rouse suspicion in a three-year-old who is clearly ramping themselves up for a tantrum, sneak your broccoli into a tomato-based sauce instead. If you have got kids, you’ll already know how to camouflage vegetables in sauce, but Shivani Loves Food has a good basic outline. Roast a load of vegetables, including broccoli – chuck some peppers and aubergines in there too if you like – then blend it with some cherry tomatoes and basil. Serve, again, with pasta.
Mac and cheese with hidden broccoli
Still not enough pasta recipes? Good, because Streaming Gourmet has a way to hide broccoli (and cauliflower) in a mac and cheese. There’s slightly more to it than this, but you blend the vegetables, hide them in the roux and pray that your children are too hungry to notice the tiny flecks of green.
Never forget the smoothie. Pack in enough other big, bold flavours and you can make people drink broccoli without them realising it. Always Use Butter has a recipe in which the broccoli is overpowered by pineapple and ginger. It also contains carrot and spinach, because clearly whoever wrote this recipe is drunk on veg-based power.
Broccoli chocolate muffins
If all else has failed and you have hidden broccoli in so many dishes that your children will never trust you again, it’s time to admit defeat and give them a chocolate muffin. Except, wait, these are Archana’s Kitchen’s broccoli chocolate muffins, made by chopping up a cup of broccoli as finely as possible and adding it to a basic chocolate cake mix. Look at them, unwittingly ingesting all those nutrients.