How to Make Broccoli and Cauliflower That Even Your Kids Will Think Tastes Good
Broccoli and Cauliflower Really Can Taste Good
We consume a lot of broccoli and cauliflower in our household, but eating them raw or steamed just doesn't do it for me. I need more flavor, more punch in my veggies. As such, I have developed these three recipes as a way to get all of the nutrient benefits of these cruciferous vegetables, but with all of the flavor benefits of eating things that taste good, too.
The first recipe below is simple and easy, and even kids who visit our household say they love broccoli. The second uses cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes, and every kid and adult who claimed to hate cauliflower were shocked to discover that the "secret" to my great mashed potatoes was that they weren't potatoes at all! The third recipe, broccoli and blue cheese mash, bribes your kids to eat their broccoli by giving them cheese, too.
Oven Roasted Broccoli and/or Cauliflower
This is a very simple way of creating a very flavorful side dish that does not add a lot of extra calories. By roasting vegetables, you use their own natural moisture content to cook them, and it brings out the natural flavors and sugars to create the flavor--all the while creating a crunchy texture. The amount of salt used is relatively low and necessary to draw out moisture from the vegetables to help them roast.
- 4 cups of broccoli or cauliflower florets. Broccoli florets can be left in tact. Cauliflower florist should be sliced into halves or thirds for larger florets.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a glass baking dish, toss the broccoli and cauliflower florets in the olive oil and salt.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the florets are soft at the stem.
How Not to Screw It Up
- Use a glass baking dish. If you use a metal sheet or dish, you will burn the delicate flowering ends of the florets before the stems are soft. This happens because the metal radiates extra heat.
- Make sure you put the dish in the center of the oven. Otherwise, the florets will be too close to the heating element in your oven and burn before the stems get properly roasted.
This side dish makes an excellent substitute for potatoes. It looks like mashed potatoes, and unsuspecting dinner guests have sometimes wondered how my mashed potatoes were so unique and flavorful.
- 1 medium to large head of cauliflower, broken into its florets and stem, sliced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- salt and white pepper to taste
- Steam the cauliflower pieces for 15-20 minutes to soften.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat.
- When the butter has melted, add the jalapeño pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.
- In a food processor, combine the cauliflower, butter/jalapeno mixture, salt, and white pepper. The resulting texture is the same as creamy mashed potatoes.
How Not to Screw It Up
- You may have to stop the food processor and rotate the cauliflower pieces around and start the food processor up again. I usually have to repeat this process several times until the cauliflower is completely mashed.
- Aesthetically, it's important to use white pepper. It tastes the same as black pepper, but when incorporated into your white cauliflower mash, it won't look like specs of dirt.
Broccoli and Blue Cheese Mash
With this recipe, the sharp flavor of blue cheese pairs very well with the broccoli, and mixed together as they are, yield an almost mashed potato-like texture. I've tested this one out on folks who say they don't like blue cheese, and they still like this side dish.
- 2 large crowns of broccoli
- 1/4 tablespoon of butter
- 1/4 cup of water
- 3 oz crumbled blue cheese
- kosher salt
- Cut up the broccoli to remove the flowery crowns from the stems and slice the stems into 1/2 inch pieces.
- In a medium pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the stems, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cover, add the water, and bring to boil.
- When the water starts to boil, add the crowns. Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring the crowns often. This will cook the crowns to a very vibrant green, but keep them somewhat crunchy and not overcooked and mushy.
- Place the broccoli in a food processor, and mix for 1 minute.
- In a mixing bowl, place the blue cheese and a large pinch of kosher salt. Add the broccoli to the top and fold them together. The result, is a "mash" that blends the broccoli and the blue cheese. Serve as a side dish in place of potatoes or rice.
How Not To Screw It Up
- You want a good mix of broccoli stems to crowns. The crowns have more fiber and help to give more structure (and less crumble) to the final product.
- It's important that you cook the stems for 10 minutes in the pan before adding the crowns. The stems take longer to cook, and giving them 10 more minutes of sauté time, makes them very soft.
- There is more nutrition in this dish, I believe. For one thing, when I make it, I usually substitute it for a starch (potato or rice) and end up with two vegetable sides. Also, there a lot of nutrition in the stem of broccoli, and we're using a lot more stem than most people do when they make broccoli.
- To determine the amount of broccoli you need, I usually assume that I need 1/2 the broccoli than I would ordinarily serve to a given amount of people. For example, if 2 broccoli crowns would–when serving broccoli by itself–serve 2 people, it will serve 4 with this recipe.
- You can adjust the amount of blue cheese to suite your taste. If you are blue cheese averse, add less. If you are blue cheese junkie, you can add more.