Broccoli is super. Not only is it jam-packed with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, calcium and fibre, but it's one veggie that refuses to be just a side-dish. Nobody puts broccoli in the corner.
And there's never been a better time to get creative with veggies. In the last 25 years, the amount of obese people in the UK has more than tripled. In 2011, 24.8% of adults older than 16 were classed obese, whilst 16.3% of children from 2-15 shared the same title. Our interest in cookery and food culture might be spiking, but are we keen on cooking the right types of food?
Broccoli is here to change that. One unusual and delicious recipe at a time.
Commonly the province of creamy French cheeses and chocolate, the world's favourite vice, broccoli soufflés are the latest gourmet treat gracing restaurant specials boards. Soufflés are notoriously technique sensitive and make take a few tries to get right, but only need a few ingredients. Cheese is often a secondary accomplice to broccoli in this scenario, with plenty of different recipes out these featuring cheddar, goat cheese, or if you're feeling saucy (or cheesy), try a broccoli and three cheese concoction.
Who doesn't love a chunky, crunchy cookie? Mix chunky, steamed broccoli bits with cheddar cheese, bread crumbs and eggs into batter then roll those bad boys out onto grease paper for a savoury take on a kid's classic or stick to chocolate. And if one veggie isn't enough, try mixing in some carrot for a super-healthy tea-time treat.
This recipe is a bit more finicky, but well worth the time if you've got it to spare. Granted, cauliflower isn't broccoli, but this take on classically cheesy comfort food is so clever it definitely deserves a mention. And hey, you should always try substituting the 'riced' cauliflower with broccoli that's undergone the same treatment, or even work in some broccoli flour.
There's no need to throw your broccoli stalks away: chop them up and boil them in some water to make natural vegetable stock. You could even use that base to make a nice, ridiculously easy cream of broccoli soup. It's also fat-free and vegan.
As well as buying your broccoli in stalks, you can also get it in dried, powdered form. One of the richest sources of beta-carotene and with more vitamin C than an orange, broccoli has key detox benefits that work to neutralise and eliminate unwanted toxins in your body. Broccoli's potassium levels will also work to combat high blood pressure, whilst the folate present works to help natural tissue growth in women. It is often taken as a supplement to birth control pills and during pregnancy.
In powder form, add a spoon or two into a smoothie, or stir it into some water and gulp it straight down. You can also sprinkle it over a fresh salad.
You might have to travel to Korea to get a taste of one of these, but if you consider that green tea lattés are the latest trend to sweep the global culinary world, it shouldn't be too long before you're able to get them anywhere.
Considering that combining broccoli with cream and milk in other recipes such as soups and smoothies, it shouldn't seem too weird to blend broccoli powder with some warm, foamed milk?
Carrying on with the broccoli-and-dairy theme, our delicious green friend can also be quite neatly worked into ice-cream. Since making your own ice-cream is pretty easy provided you have an ice-cream maker or adequate blender, here you've really got the chance to take creative control and experiment with different flavour combinations.
Try this broccoli, spainach, banana, blueberry and chia seeds combinations, or stay classy with vanilla seeds and almond milk.
It's true that almost anything can be made into a cake. Thanks to broccoli's mild, slightly nutty natural flavour, the super veggie is a shoe-in for all kinds of baked goods including cakes, cupcakes and scones. Whether you like it plain, with pumpking icing or in cute, cupcake form, there's a broccoli-and-cake combination out there to satisfy any sweet tooth or tea-time classicist.
Bread doesn't need to be boring, nor strike fear into the hearts of neurotic carb-counters everywhere. Whilst there's a spate of ways you can incorporate broccoli into your soon-to-be loaf of bread, the most curious and creative idea I came across was this low-carb, gluten-free broccoli bread.
You can even buy ready-made broccoli flour if you're after a finer texture, stick with chunkier broccoli bread options for a fuller, thicker bite. Some of us got even more creative and came up with these broccoli breadsticks.