Charred tenderstem broccoli

This is one of those recipes that I’m particularly excited about for so many reasons.
Yeah, it’s broccoli and no I haven’t lost the plot so just hear me out.

Health:
Broccoli is a genuinely healthy veg that we could do with eating way more of, well by that I mean more consistently, on the daily, as opposed to overloading with a giant plate of it once in a blue moon.
Broccoli is full of fancy sounding compounds such as indole-3-carbinols, glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, caretonoids and many more. The thick and thin of it is that these compounds are incredible for human health.
Some boost detoxification, others help to balance hormones, support eye health and the digestive system amongst others. Pretty impressive for a humble plant.
There is also a decent amount of various vitamins and minerals in there.
On a more anecdotal note, it’s the one vegetable that produces the biggest health improvements with my clients. Note that variety is always key and there is of course a lot more that goes into nutrition protocols than just broccoli.

Access
We grow a lot of broccoli in the UK (thank you Lincolnshire), in fact when you consider the various types, sprouting, calabrese (the traditional heads of broccoli) and broccoli sprouts, there isn’t a season that isn’t right for growing at least one of them. Sprouting broccoli, for example, does particularly well during winter when the traditional forms aren’t available.
As such broccoli is a cheap and nutritious British veg that scores pretty high on sustainability.
Having said that, do check the packaging for the origin since a lot is still imported from abroad, especially the calabrese variety which doesn’t grow year around in the UK.

On the whole, broccoli is cheap and nutritious so there is no excuse for not eating it more often.
Obviously, boiling it to death will ensure the majority of vitamins are lost, therefore stir-frying, cooking it into sauces or roasting it is the best way to handle this veg for maximum nutrients.

My favourite is “charred” tenderstem or sprouting broccoli.
It’s basically roasted broccoli where you allow the edges to char ever so slightly, giving it some crunch and extra flavour.
It’s super simple and quick to do.
Pair it with any evening meal or stick it in a wrap alongside goat’s cheese, tomatoes and rocket.

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Ingredients for 2:
200g of tenderstem or sprouting broccoli
rapeseed oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of chilli flakes

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Wash the broccoli and trim the very ends off (just to get rid of the woody bit where it was cut during harvesting).
Lay the broccoli on a roasting tray, drizzle with some rapeseed oil, season with sea salt and black pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes.
Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the stalk is fully cooked and the head is slightly charred.
Enjoy.

Roasted carrot & cumin dip

Resistant starches are a direct fuel source for beneficial microbes that live in the gut.
Yup, this is nerdy, so let me translate it.
Our large intestine is full of bacteria. We need them. They are mostly beneficial microbes that convert all the fibre we can’t digest into nutrients for us. It’s a nice little partnership, we just have to do one thing: feed them.
Luckily they love things like roasted veg, whole grains, nuts, seeds and veggies in general.
This roasted carrot and cumin dip is a great source of food for beneficial bacteria owing to the fibre content. It’s delicious on bread or used as a dip for more veg.
It’ll work wonders for your gut health.

 
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Ingredients:
500g carrots, peeled & sliced
1 teaspoon of cumin
2 cloves of garlic, left unpeeled
sea salt and black pepper to season
rapeseed oil for roasting
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Juice of half a lemon

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Put the sliced carrot & cumin on a roasting tray. Season well with sea salt and black pepper and drizzle over some rapeseed oil.
Roast for 15 minutes.
After the 15 minutes, add the 2 garlic cloves to the same roasting tray and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes until the carrots are fully cooked.
Transfer the carrots to a blender, peel the garlic and add that too, squeeze in the lemon juice, add a good pinch of sea salt, some more black pepper, the olive oil and a splash of water. Blend until completely smooth.
Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if required.
Spread on bread or use as a dip.