Food Challenge: Broccoli


When I was younger I remember my mom telling me to eat my vegetables, which usually consisted of broccoli, peas, or carrots. I couldn’t stand the carrots, but I loved my broccoli. Why? I have no idea. It has always been my go-to veggie of choice until I married my Army spouse who can’t stand it. My husband moved in and broccoli stepped aside.

Even though I divorced broccoli, I still want to have it in my life, so I am slowly trying to build a relationship between broccoli and my husband with some of these recipes for this week’s #IDFoodChallenge.

If you have a brokenhearted relationship with broccoli, don’t worry because it has been known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Eventually your heart will become strong enough to take on almost anything. If you are trying to kindle a spark with broccoli, here are some tips to help you out. It’s like a cheat sheet for dating broccoli. (Sorry for all the cheesy, lovey undertones. You can say that with Valentine’s Day right around the corner that I am in a lovey, dovey kind of mood.) If your love affair with broccoli is going strong, it is a good stand-alone side dish as well. Just add a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt and you’re good to go.

How to prepare Broccoli


Broccoli Pesto


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  • When I found this dish on Pinterest I knew I had to try it. I was even more encouraged to try it after I read Kimberly’s post about Spinach Pesto Dip and knew that it would be a treat. I was surprised at how delicious the simple ingredients tasted together.

  • If I hadn’t told my husband what it was, I am convinced that he wouldn’t have known that he was consuming broccoli.


Cheesy Roasted Broccoli Patties


  • I was able to find Panko breadcrumbs in a local grocery store, and you can often find them in the international aisle of the commissary. If you can’t find them, or wish to use a different type of bread, simply use your favorite breadcrumbs, or pulse bread in the food processor to make your own. My family often discards the heels of the bread, but making them into breadcrumbs is a great way to salvage the waste.

  • I had some broccoli on hand so I used that up instead of buying a bag of frozen. This ended up being about three cups of broccoli finely chopped. But, frozen veggies offer a convenience factor, can be more economical than fresh, and can surprisingly be more healthful than their fresh counterparts because they are picked at peak season.

  • To make these patties more to my taste, I used ¼ cup of organic sharp cheddar cheese and a little more of the recommended amount of Parmesan cheese. I think other cheeses like feta or goat cheese would also work well in the recipe, just add as much or as little as you like to taste.

  • These are great to have as a side dish. Or, you could make them a little larger to have as the main dish. Next time, I am going to try to have it more of a pizza crust like option.


Rigatoni with Broccoli and Sausage

from Operation Live Well, p.26

  • Anchovies provide some amazing benefits, like heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and magnesium. Want to get the omega-3s another way? Simply sprinkle a tablespoon of ground flaxseed over each serving.

  • Having a large amount of finely chopped broccoli on hand, I added this to the pasta instead of the florets. Feel free to chop the broccoli to your tastes or needs.