Healthy Ways to Flavor Steamed Broccoli

Broccoli
A chef holding a head of broccoli on a board with garlic and balsalmic vinegar. (Image: mareciok/iStock/Getty Images)

Broccoli is naturally low in calories and high in fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C. In fact, it has more vitamin C than a glass of orange juice. It is also a good source of potassium and calcium. To retain all its healthful attributes, steaming broccoli in hot water is a good option. Starting it in cold water leaches out much of the vitamin C, according to Julee Rosso, author of "Great Good Food." Skip heavy cream sauces and butter to flavor it and choose natural seasonings instead.

Citrus

The bright, fresh taste of citrus pairs well with steamed broccoli. Heat orange juice and lemon juice together in a saucepan with a bit of curry or garlic. Pour the sauce over steamed broccoli and garnish with lemon or orange zest.

Olive Oil

Butter, a traditional flavoring for steamed broccoli, adds saturated fat and calories. A drizzle of olive oil, however, adds rich, fruity flavor with few calories and no saturated fat. Pair olive oil with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a dash of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Cheese

Parmesan cheese is high in fat, but a little goes a long way. Sprinkle 3 cups of steamed broccoli with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan shards. One serving has only 54 calories and 2 grams of fat but a lot of flavor.

Nuts and Fruit

In large amounts, nuts and dried fruit add unwanted calories or fat, but you only need a few to make a big impact without breaking your diet. Sprinkle steamed broccoli with a few slivered almonds, toasted walnuts or cashews for a rich flavor and crunchy texture. Add dried cranberries or cherries for a sweet, tangy flavor.

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