Friday, August 26, 2011

VOTM - Broccoli

VOTM generated some interest with the man and son which I have found somewhat amusing as they usually don't have much involvement in my blog (other than eating and providing the odd bit of feedback). After I finished last month's cauliflower post, they both made separate requests for my vegetable of focus for the following month. I went with the man's choice this time as he selected broccoli and given that my last two VOTM posts were from the cruciferous family I decided to keep rolling with it. 

We have increased our consumption of broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts this winter and one of the reasons is due to our dear dog Jasper. When he was diagnosed with bone cancer earlier this year and we made the difficult decision to have the cancer removed (which meant a leg amputation), I spent a lot of time researching an anti-cancer diet for dogs. We were aware that after the removal of his bone cancer, there was a potential risk of a secondary cancer forming. 

Did someone say broccoli? Mmm...

Jasper deserved to have the best possible chance of leading a long and happy three legged life after going through such a big operation so his diet had to change. One thing that was common in my research was that cruciferous vegetables are most suitable for a dog's anatomy (therefore easier for them to digest) and their cancer fighting properties are beneficial to dogs as they are to humans. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage and asian greens have since become a component of Jasper's nightly meal solely for this reason. Jasper is showing no other signs of cancer five months after the operation (and we hope it continues this way) although I'll never really know whether the change in his diet has assisted in any way.

Broccoli is a vegetable that has been a part of our meals for many years although more recently I have been putting it to more interesting uses than just serving it steamed on the side. Vegan Yum Yum's broccoli dhal and broccoli/mushroom bake are a couples of recipes that were enjoyed in the past and more recently bistro broccoli chowder and 40 cloves chickpeas and broccoli  from Appetite for Reduction. Spinach was pushed aside to make way for broccoli in my latest version of home-made cannelloni and broccoli burgers were a great find thanks to the posts from Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe and Cindy and Michael of Where's the Beef. Broccoli also manages to find it's way into the majority of my stir-fry's and tastes amazing when roasted and is slightly charred. 

This simple broccoli-based pasta sauce is a work in progress... 

Deciding on a recipe for this month wasn't the easiest task. One of my intents with VOTM is to post a simple side dish for the particular vegetable of focus, however it was difficult to make up my mind this time around. Out of the many broccoli recipes I had been playing around with, none was particularly simple and there were definitely no side dishes! Our holiday to FNQ came and went at the end of last month and I missed my VOTM post for July which gave me some breathing space to ponder.

When serving steaming broccoli as a side one night, I decided to toss it with some garlic margarine that was left over from making garlic bread. This worked quite well although I found that steaming the broccoli left some water remnants which watered down the margarine to a degree. My alternative method was to roast the broccoli florets and serve them drizzled with garlic that had been cooked in dairy-free margarine. I preferred the second method and also cooked some cauliflower in the same fashion. They were both delicious and I could have eaten a truckload! 

I decided to post these couple of quick sides for this month as they are very simple, tasty and moreish. In fact, when rushing to get food on the table this week I was questioned why the plain steamed broccoli was not covered in garlic marg. It seems like this one will be a regular in the future...

Now's it time to get my thinking cap on for my son's request which I have a feeling could be another challenge!

Broccoli with garlic margarine - two ways

Cut a head of broccoli into florets and use as much garlic and dairy-free margarine as you like!
  1. Steam broccoli florets until just tender, drain well, then toss with dairy-free margarine and minced garlic.
  2. Roast broccoli florets at 200C for 20 minutes on a baking tray sprayed with olive oil. Meanwhile, melt dairy-free margarine in a small frying pan and cook minced garlic until it turns golden. Drizzle the garlic margarine over the broccoli when serving.  


  1. This looks delicious! I've been craving broccoli for the last week or so but wanting to do something different with it so will definitely give this a try! Also, Jasper is gorgeous, I hope he continues to do well with his recovery

  2. I am a big fan of brocolli, so I'm thrilled it's featuring as VOTM! Great choice :)

    As Black Bunny said, Jasper is beautiful and I hope the brocolli and other anti-cancer foods pay off for him.

  3. I love broccoli but I often love it plain rather than doing anything with it - one of my favourite side dishes with broccoli is with garlic bread crumbs and brie - would be excellent without the brie if you ever had leftover garlic bread to crumble on the garlic! Glad you enjoyed the broccoli burgers - I need to try that canneloni

  4. Thanks Black Bunny, hope you enjoy broccoli this way if you do give it a try! We think our big black curly dog is gorgeous too, thanks for your kind words.

    Thanks Kari, there seem to be quite a few broccoli lovers out there. We hope Jasper's diet continues to help as he has been a very special member of our family for 8 years.

    Thanks Johanna, left-over garlic bread doesn't occur much around here but next time there is some to spare I will have to try the garlic breadcrumbs. Those broccoli burgers are great, have made them twice so far and will definitely make them again.