Bitter. Grassy. Gross. Blech. When you ask people what broccoli tastes like, you rarely get a positive response. That same disdain is magnified by the inexperienced palates of children. They tasted it once and forever labeled it as “terrible,” “yucky,” and “owie on my tongue!”
In my pursuit of ways to feed healthy foods to my kids, I found a way to make broccoli that they enjoy. In fact, it’s now the only vegetable that I know my two-year-old and four-year-old daughters will finish every time. And it’s not hard to make.
Broccoli is a superfood for a good reason. Its fiber regulates your child’s blood sugar and keeps hunger cravings at bay. Vitamins A, C, and K give a boost to the immune system, develop better eyes and healthier skin, help bones develop correctly, and make sure those scraped knees heal faster. Potassium helps blood pressure and makes sure muscles contract easier. And folate helps your child’s body make healthy cells. Let me put it this way: If there were a Justice League of superfoods, broccoli would be Superman.
My recipe will change the bitter flavor to sweet, the grassy to nutty, the gross to “not bad,” and the blech to “more please.” And it doesn’t take a lot of work. Seriously, it’s easy. Here’s what I do:
Ingredients: One or two heads of broccoli Olive oil Salt Pepper Granulated garlic Lemon wedge Parmesan cheese Directions: 1) Cut the broccoli florets from the stems. Make sure the pieces aren’t too big. We want to charmelize (I made up that word) as much surface as we can. 2) Wash the florets in a colander and set to dry. The stems are packed with fiber and good for cheddar broccoli soup if you want to save them. Add the leaves to your salad for extra anti-inflammatory benefits. 3) Put your dry florets in a large bowl. Hit it with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Shake the bowl to get the unseasoned broccoli on top and add the olive oil, pepper, and granulated garlic again. Shake once more. 4) Cover the bowl with a large piece of foil. You’ll use this foil to grill the broccoli. Make sure it’s long enough that the pieces aren’t bunched. 5) Fire up the grill to 500 degrees. 6) Lay down your foil. Pour your broccoli onto it. Space them with tongs, keeping the biggest pieces away from each other. 7) Close the grill’s lid and let them cook. I like to have them going on one side of the grill, while cooking meat or corn on the other side. 8) After about ten minutes, use the tongs to flip every floret. 9) Let cook another five to ten minutes. 10) Lift the foil from each side. Drop the florets back into your bowl. Hit them with a few more splashes of olive oil. Shake the bowl. Squeeze one wedge of lemon. Shake bowl again. 11) You can serve your broccoli right away or use that same foil to cover the bowl and allow your other foods to finish cooking. It’s wonderfully flexible. 12) Once you plate the broccoli, sprinkle a little parmesan onto the florets. In my house, the kids love to do it, so I put about a tablespoon of parmesan into a pair of small sauce cups. When kids participate in the making of a dish, they’re much more likely to eat that dish. 13) That’s it. Enjoy.
My daughters are extremely picky eaters. But the broccoli, they’ll eat.
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