by Renu Chhabra
“When you’re green inside, you’re clean inside.” – Dr. Bernard Jensen
Today it’s all about green goodness in our diet. Yes, I mean green vegetables. We all know they are good for us, but why do some of us ignore them? Maybe, we just don’t like their taste, or they sound like diet food. In that case, we should try making them different ways than we usually do — something out of the box. Give them a new twist and explore a little. Who knows, they may surprise us.
Speaking of green vegetables, broccoli comes to my mind instantly. Its health benefits are several. But I know, it’s not an exciting vegetable for many of us. We have memories of eating bland steamed broccoli that we wished we could throw under the table. At times, it was topped with some plastic-like yellow cheese to make it more enticing. Even then it wasn’t very appealing. Since Mom insisted it was good for us, there wasn’t anyway to escape it except to wolf it down as fast as possible and forget about it until next time it showed up at the dinner table, staring at us.
But we don’t have to eat that way anymore. The same good old broccoli, when roasted, tastes completely different. The intense, deep flavor of roasting transforms it in a whole new direction. Try grilling it to experience the smokiness that comes from the grill. Stir fry it on medium heat without making it mushy. Hide its tiny florets in veggie patties, or make luscious broccoli soup with white beans for creamy texture. Apart from cooking methods, spices make a world of difference. Use the ones you love — hot or mild. Ginger root is also a good friend of broccoli in stir fries, as garlic is in pastas. Drizzle infused oils as well to deepen the flavors. Sesame and walnut oil are good options. They add another dimension to this so-called boring vegetable. Most of all, these are all healthy choices. And they make this not-so-exciting vegetable taste delicious.
I love it roasted, stir fried, or grilled added to salads, pastas, and whole grains. I actually enjoy it raw as well. So today, I decided to explore in a new direction with broccoli by keeping it raw; and pairing it with pepita seeds, and basil to make pesto. Something I haven’t made before. Then combined them together with garlic, lemon, and olive oil. We can call it pesto, spread, dip, or simply green puree. It’s all about trying new ways and new ingredients to make our meals more interesting. This was my first attempt to make raw broccoli pesto, and it surprised me pleasantly. Altogether, it turned out to be a wholesome and healthy bowl of green goodness. So, get creative and experiment in your kitchen. You may end up with a winning recipe.
6 oz broccoli florets
1/4 cup pepitas
1 clove garlic, minced
10-12 basil leaves
Juice of one lemon or to taste
salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
water to thin the puree, if needed
- Purée broccoli, pepitas, basil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in the food processor.
- Drizzle in olive oil while the machine is running. Add a little water, if needed to thin it.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Enjoy in pasta, on toasted bread, with pita chips, or in sandwich and wrap as a spread.
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