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Eat your broccoli and be young, and here are some ideas for how

March 11th, 2008 · 2 Comments · Healthy eating, recipes, Research

Broccoli2Never mind what certain politicians say, broccoli is the it vegetable, as far as I’m concerned. And now, more than ever, I have science to back me up.

Scientists at the University of California-Los Angeles has published a study that suggests that broccoli restores immune function. From the UCLA press release:

[A substance in broccoli] switches on a set of antioxidant genes and enzymes in specific immune cells, which then combat the injurious effects of molecules known as free radicals that can damage cells and lead to disease.

Andre Nel, the principal investigator, goes on to say, that the substance, sulforaphane, “may be able to interfere with the age-related decline in immune function.”

Cool. And there are many more health reasons to eat broccoli. But that’s not why I eat broccoli. I eat it because I like it. It’s my vegetable of choice. Here are some ideas for eating it.

  • Steamed just until tender, with a light sprinkle of salt (my favorite), or add a little butter if you like.
  • In stir-fries.
  • Raw, with dip. (Not my fave.)
  • Steamed with cauliflower until just tender, with chopped bits of raw sweet red pepper or roasted red pepper on top and a drizzle of olive oil. Very pretty.
  • In a pasta dish that I love. Oddly, I can’t find the recipe, but it’s a snap to make. Here’s one way:


Pasta with broccoli

  • 8 ounces medium pasta, such as penne
  • Salt
  • 1 large stalk broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons water or chicken broth
  • Ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Cook pasta in pot of boiling water seasoned to taste with salt.
  2. Meanwhile, cut broccoli tops into florets and stem into matchsticks.
  3. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook about a minute, but don’t let garlic brown. Add broccoli. Toss to coat with oil.
  4. Add water or broth. Simmer until broccoli is barely tender, then set off heat. (I usually cover the pan for a quicker steaming.)
  5. Drain pasta, then add broccoli-garlic mixture to pasta. Toss well. Serve in individual pasta bowls with a grind of black pepper and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Makes 2 generous servings.


2 Comments so far ↓

  • Jennifer (Baklava Queen)

    Ahhh, that might explain why I always feel so good after eating broccoli. I would just add crushed walnuts to your pasta recipe… the extra crunch makes me feel like I’ve eaten a hearty meal. :-)

    I also steamed some broccoli with sweet potato last night and added a mixture of sauteed onion and garlic with Indian spices, tossed it all together, and baked it for about half an hour. Double yums.

  • Janet Majure

    Ooo! That sounds good, Jennifer! I may try that (or something like it) one of these days soon. And guess what? It’s 70+ degrees today. Yea!