To up your nutrition game, eat more broccoli. Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as bioactive compounds that may protect against cancer. Cooking broccoli on the stove is a simple and flavorful way to prepare this king of of vegetables.
Sauteed Stovetop Broccoli
If you've got a pan and a spatula, you can cook broccoli on the stove. You don't even need any oil or spices. Simply heating it begins to break down the tough cell walls to make it tender and bring out its sweetness. But a little oil helps keep the broccoli from sticking and drying out.
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One of the healthiest ways to cook broccoli is by lightly sauteeing it in a little oil. According to the Mayo Clinic, olive oil is a great choice for medium-high heat cooking and contains essential fats that can boost heart health. Just remember that olive oil has 120 calories per tablespoon, per USDA data, so don't go overboard.
Add enough oil to the pan to just coat the bottom lightly, and adjust the heat to medium high. Wash and trim the broccoli, then cut it into bite-sized pieces. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, place the broccoli in the pan. From here, there are a few different ways to go:
- Simply cook the broccoli, stirring frequently for several minutes until it turns bright green and is crisp-tender.
- After you put the broccoli in the pan, add a little water or stock. Cover the pan and steam for 3 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is browned evenly and the liquid has evaporated.
- Cook the broccoli over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it is bright green. Reduce the heat to low, listening for a low to medium sizzle. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adjusting the temperature if necessary to prevent the broccoli from becoming too brown. Reduce the heat again to very low and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until the broccoli is browned evenly but not mushy.
Read more: Why You Should Eat Raw Broccoli
Stovetop Broccoli Recipes
Once you have the basic technique down, you have endless options for adding flavor and oomph to your dishes. An easy combination to start with is lemon and garlic. Before you add the broccoli to the pan, quickly saute some fresh, minced garlic over medium heat for about 10 seconds.
Add the broccoli to the pan and saute, using one of the techniques discussed above. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When it is done cooking, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the broccoli and toss to coat.
Stir-frying is another easy way to prepare broccoli with an Asian flair. It's similar to sauteing, but uses a wok and higher heat. This cooks the broccoli more quickly and requires constant stirring to prevent burning.
Sesame oil is a good choice for high-heat cooking, and it has the right flavor for stir-fried Asian dishes. Add just enough to coat the pan. Allow it to get hot, then add your broccoli and cook for 3 minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water to the wok and steam the broccoli, stirring constantly.
Push the broccoli to the edges of the pan. Add a dash more oil, as well as some freshly grated ginger, minced garlic, red pepper flakes and diced scallions. Stir until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add a little more water and some low-sodium soy sauce and stir to coat the broccoli. Remove from the heat and serve, topped with toasted sesame seeds.