Thursday, April 22, 2010

I ♥ Broccoli!

I was never the type of kid who didn't like vegetables. I loved spinach, green beans, salads, squash, peas. Sure, it took me a while to warm up to tomatoes and mushrooms, but no one's perfect. One of my favorite veggies has always been broccoli. When I was back in Gainesville, we had access to the most delicious, local, cheap broccoli at Ward's Supermarket. Even though there's no place in Baltimore quite as fabulous as Wards, broccoli-mania has continued post-vacation. I'm mainly eating lots of frozen organic brocs from Trader Joe's, since it's not really in season here. And let's be honest, frozen food can be easier, stays fresh, and therefor is more accessible and more likely to be eaten. 

Here are two recipes I whipped up today that both feature my good friend, Big B.

♥ Broccoli! Asian Slaw
Sometimes you just don't want all that Veganaise gooping up your coleslaw. Here's an alternative-- a little bit tangy, little bit sweet, little bit spicy, with a nutty undertone from the sesame oil and sunflower seeds. It'd be good with some chopped peanuts, and I could see using it inside a summer roll or lettuce wrap.

1 bag Trader Joe's broccoli slaw, or 12 ounces of any broccoli/carrot slaw mix
1 package ramen (oriental flavor is vegan)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

3 T. Rice vinegar
1 T. Agave nectar
4 T. Lemon or lime juice
1-2 T. tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
1-2 T. Toasted Sesame oil
1 tsp. Sriracha
2 T. minced ginger

For the salad:
1. Warm a tablespoon of canola in a skillet on low-medium heat.
2. Place ramen noodles in a plastic bag, and pulverize the hell out them.
3. Add ramen bits and sunflower seeds to the skillet and toast them up a bit.
4. Let cool for a moment, then place slaw in a bowl and top with browned bits.

For the dressing:
Combine everything in a bowl or mug, and whisk. Adjust to taste. I made mine a tad spicy with the Sriracha.

Pour the dressing over the slaw and bits, toss together, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The longer it sits, the more the flavors will combine. The acids will break down the slaw and make it a bit easier to digest, too.

♥ Broccoli! and Rice Cheesy Casserole
Whenever I make vegan mac-n-cheese with broccoli in it, I end up picking the cheesy broccoli bits out to munch on. They're my favorite part of the casserole. This is an attempt to feature broccoli in cheesy sauce, with some rice to hold it all together. The sauce is a variation of VegWeb's "Best Ever Vegan Mac and Cheese in the Entire World... seriously."

1.5 lbs frozen broccoli--thawed (bag and a half of TJ's organic) or two heads of broccoli , diced
1 cup brown rice
1 medium sized onion, diced
1 T. oil

3/4 block firm tofu
2.5 cups plain soymilk
half cup water
1.5 cups nutritional yeast
1/4 cup oil (canola, olive, your choice.)
1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
1 T. paprika
1 T. good garlic salt
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

1.  Cook 1 cup of rice. I used a rice cooker.

2.  Warm 1 T. of oil in a skillet, then add diced onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and translucent.

3. Very briefly steam the broccoli. Be careful to not overcook. Just cook until it's barely soft enough to be considered "cooked." Drain when done.

4. For the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a blender and give it a whirl until it's all smooth and creamy and delicious.

5.  In a casserole dish (roughly 9x13,) lay out the rice, then the broccoli, then those wonderful-smelling onions. Pour most of the sauce over the top (you might have a tiny bit leftover-- it's great on greens.)

6. Stir it up good, and sprinkle with some paprika if you fancy.

7. Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the top is browned. Let sit for 10 minutes or so before serving to let it "set."


  1. yummmmo can't wait to try these
    i used to hate broc and now it's my fave!

  2. awesome! i've been experimenting with different slaw dressings as well. i used a little sesame oil in mine too! sounds fab!