All You Need to Know About Cooking with Broccoli

All You Need to Know About Cooking with Broccoli

Been wondering when is broccoli in season or different ways to cook with broccoli? We’ll walk you through everything you need to know with our downloadable Infographic Guide to Broccoli!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • June 8, 2021

Broccoli is a beautiful vegetable. Not only is it a superfood, it is also incredibly versatile. Broccoli can be added to almost any dish and goes with so many different flavors that span from savory fish sauce to sharp cheddar cheese.

Another plus? Broccoli looks like a tiny tree. (And if you haven’t watched the Parks and Recreation “Farmers Market”  episode recently, it may be time for a revisit.)

So, let’s get into the nitty gritty of these little trees — from picking a quality bundle at the store to all of the delicious ways to cook it up.

Get our free Infographic Guide to Broccoli below and keep reading to learn more tips about this amazing summer vegetable:


Infographic

Guide to Broccoli

Learn all about broccoli and the most important tips about buying, prepping, and cooking this delicious summertime veggie.


Broccoli Basics

This green veggie has an iconic look with its thick stem and top of rounded florets. Broccoli has a grassy and slightly bitter flavor, but also blends so well with many flavors.

Health Benefits

Broccoli is considered a superfood because it is nutrient-dense with fiber, protein, and vitamins. It also packs a punch with antioxidants, iron, and even omega-3 fatty acids. Because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and detoxifying properties, scientists are continuously studying connections between the veggie and reduction of the risk of several cancers and degenerative conditions.(1)

Another great thing about cooking with broccoli is that you don’t even have to buy organic for it to be close to pesticide-free. It is ranked #9 on the Clean 15 Guide to Pesticides in Produce.


Tips for Buying Broccoli

Now that you know about the healthy basics, let’s answer some important questions: When is broccoli in season? What about during the off-season? What should I look for at the store when buying broccoli?

Peak Season

Broccoli is a vegetable that matures in weather that isn’t in the extremes. That’s why it thrives in spring and then is harvested and hits markets in June in almost every region of the United States. Since prices and nutrient levels for broccoli are best in its peak season, we put together a helpful guide on when is broccoli in season in the 7 main regions of the U.S.

New England: June – October, but find it in season in VT between May – November.

Mid-Atlantic: June – November

Midwest: June – October, but find it in KS and MO from April – December and also in IL in March, April, and November.

Coastal Pacific: June – November, but find it in season in CA year-round and in HI from September – March.

Rocky Mountains: June – October, but find it in season in NV April – December.

Southeast: May – July and October – December, but find it in season in FL and LA in January – March as well.

Southwest: Broccoli isn’t in season in the Southwest for more than one state at a time, so the four states are listed here separately:

  • AZ: October – March
  • NM: June and September – November 
  • OK: April – June
  • TX: December – May

Because the U.S. is huge, you can always check out the exact months a type of produce is in season in your home state with this Seasonal Food Guide.

Off-Season

If you aren’t living in temperate California where broccoli is in peak season all year long, the freezer is going to be your superfood’s best friend. All you have to do is separate the stalks from florets, parboil it all for 3 minutes, and then shock in ice water. Then pat the pieces dry and pop them in a freezer bag. If you want our step-by-step tips on how to freeze and thaw veggies, check out our All-in-One Freezer Guide.

How to Pick Good Quality Broccoli

What to look for: When shopping for broccoli, look for florets that are tightly closed with a deep green color. A purplish tinge is also perfectly healthy. Whenever possible, get whole broccoli stalks from local sources. 

What to avoid: You should keep an eye out for mold, bruising, or any discoloration, which is one of the first signs of decay. Also avoid limp or soft broccoli because that’s old broccoli.


How to Prep Broccoli

Now that you know about when to buy and what to look for, it’s important to learn how to properly store and prep broccoli . . .

Even though broccoli seems so hardy, that doesn’t mean it lasts forever. To help your little trees last as long as possible, try to keep moisture to a minimum in your fridge and make sure your broccoli is loosely wrapped in a plastic bag or with a dish towel. 

When you’re ready to use your broccoli, follow these prepping guidelines:

We also have a one-minute video that shows you how to prep broccoli:

Video

How to Chop Broccoli

Watch this video to learn how to chop broccoli for a variety of tasty uses.


Different Ways to Cook Broccoli

Since you are likely already learning to expect great things from broccoli, it should come as no surprise to you that it can be cooked with a wide range of cooking methods. So, the next thing our Infographic Guide to Broccoli outlines is some of the best ways to cook broccoli, including time and temperature guidelines.


Exciting Meals to Cook with Broccoli

As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog article, broccoli goes well with so many different flavor profiles. Our  Guide to Broccoli lists 14 of our favorite flavors pairings and 12 of our favorite types of dishes to enjoy broccoli in.

But, we also want to show you some of our favorite recipes that use broccoli in both traditional and unique ways. All of these recipes are a part of our meal plan service. Not only do we frequently use broccoli in our weekly menus, but the following recipes — and over 150 other meals — will pop up when you do a keyword search for ‘broccoli’ in our Meal Plan Recipes Archives.

1. Hoisin Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-fry

This one pot, low-cal shrimp and broccoli stir-fry is a snap to put together on any weeknight. Served over rice with a squeeze of fresh lime, you’ll love how all the flavors and colors come together in just 40 minutes!

2. Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata with Smoky Tomato Soup

This 35-minute, freezer-friendly dish is packed with color, flavor, and nutrients! While the frittata cooks, we have you make a quick tomato soup that develops layers of flavors in a short amount of time thanks to the addition of sun-dried tomatoes.

3. Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This restaurant favorite is a cinch to make at home in just 40 minutes. We even include directions for making bread bowls, but feel free to enjoy this creamy, decadent soup with warm rolls instead. And don’t forget to make extra to freeze!

4. Pan-Fried Broccoli Fritters with Garlic-Lemon Yogurt

Get in your daily veggies with these easy-to-make broccoli fritters! You can have them as a meal with our recipe’s Kale, Quinoa, and Craisin Side Salad or freeze them to enjoy as a healthy snack when you need something to grab and go.

5. Foil-Roasted Lemon Salmon with Caesar Broccoli and Orzo

Baking salmon inside a foil packet helps it stay tender and moist as it cooks. To have dinner on the table in just 45 minutes, our recipe has you roast your salmon on the same pan and at the same time as delicious caesar broccoli for minimal clean-up after dinner.


Now that you know about seasonality, prep, and all of the different ways to cook broccoli, it’s time to download your free Guide to Broccoli here:

Free Download

Guide to Broccoli

Tips for how to buy, prep, cook, and enjoy broccoli this summer!


If you want more information on cooking broccoli or other vegetables, you can check out our Guide to Enjoying Veggies, Air Fryer Cheat Sheet, and Instant Pot Cheat Sheet. We also have a veggie spotlight on asparagus here as well.

In the comments below, we would also love to hear about your favorite broccoli dishes or any unique ways to cook broccoli that you love to employ at home!

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