Broccoli So Good It Should Be Stalked

Photo by Clara S. from Flickr.com

To be honest, I didn’t like broccoli for a long, long time. When I first went shopping as an adult, I was surprised to find the veggie green and crisp in its original form. They seemed alien – these green stalks that resembled trees as seen from an airplane. This form of broccoli, sprayed intermittently and stacked appealingly in the produce isle, was entirely unlike the veggie simmered limp and decidedly brown by my mother. (Sorry mom. But, you do have other skills other than cooking broccoli.)

Still, despite the fresh green that the broccoli offered from our local greenhouse even midwinter, I did not trust a vegetable that could turn out so horribly once applied to a pan. It wasn’t until my son, 18 months at the time and looking to use his newly sprouted molars on something other than the base of my thumb, happily ate a whole hor’s d’ouvre tray of fresh broccoli at an art gallery opening. I didn’t stop him as I figured the patrons and owners wouldn’t notice as long as he was quietly munching away. I bought my very first stalk as an adult after that. I was 36 years old.

Photo by Carolyn Coles from Flickr.com

Broccoli, In addition to its great crunch and fabulous looks, it has high amounts of potassium which is good for your nervous system, your brain, and your muscles. It contains vitamin C which is a natural antihistamine that can help you breathe clearly while fighting a common cold. It also contains elements that repair skin damage, aid your immune system, and maintain bone health. It even contains some vitamin A which our bodies use to form a light absorbing molecule necessary for low-light and color vision. And, as you crunch through your florets, remember that it also contains calcium and magnesium which regulate blood pressure.

Recipe: Jenna’s Twisty Waldorf Salad

Photo by woodleywonderworks from Flickr.com

While I have since found ways to stir fry, blanch, and even roast broccoli in ways much more edible than my mother could ever dream, I decided to include a recipe that loves broccoli for what it is; a crunchy, green bit of good. The twist on a Waldorf salad below can be made vegan, holds up to lunch boxes and potlucks, and is darn yummy too. Enjoy.

Sunflower Seed Dressing Ingredients
(adapted from 101 cookbooks website recipe)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 T honey ( or agave nectar to taste if making vegan)
salt to taste
warm water to loosen dressing as desired

Salad Ingredients
2 crunchy apples washed and cubed into bite sizes
1 cup broccoli florets cleaned and cut into bite sizes
1 dash salt
1 cup thinly sliced celery (can be omitted)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (can be omitted for nut allergies)
1 cup sunflower seed dressing
raisins to taste (can be omitted)

Preparation
Put apples, florets, celery and walnuts into a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for a few minutes. Add a cup of the sunflower dressing and toss. I like the dressing on the thicker side for this recipe as it sticks to the apples and the nooks and crannies of the walnuts and florets. If you’d like, even add a few raisins… If you find that the apples are browning, feel free to add more lemon juice. But, usually the lemon juice from the dressing does the trick.