Broccoli Isn’t the Bad Guy!

By Morgan Crawford a Recent ASU Nutrition Student


Why does this tree-like veggie get such a bad rap? From our own dining tables to the big screens, broccoli is always shown as the bad guy! Well as a broccoli-lover myself, I hope that I can change some minds about this truly delicious, and versatile vegetable.

Something you may not know, broccoli belongs to a family known as cruciferous vegetables. Other varieties within this group include Brussel sprouts, cabbage, turnips, collard greens, bok choy, cauliflower, and watercress. This specific family of produce are extremely high in vitamins and are deemed some of the most nutritious vegetables. One defining characteristic of cruciferous vegetables is their content of sulfur compounds, called glucosinolates. That is what gives these vegetables their pungent odor and bitter flavor. When eaten, glucosinolates are broken down into several other compounds, including thiocyanates and indoles, which have incredible healing effects on the body. Several studies have shown that the consumption of these vegetables significantly lowers the risk of cancer.

Another super power of this mighty vegetable is its ability to build strong bones. Many people are aware that calcium is the main component of bone tissue, and while it is certainly a vital nutrient to have in a balanced diet, vitamin K is arguably even more important. It plays a major role in keeping bones strong by ensuring that calcium is directed to the right places in the body.

Vitamin C is another nutrient that is found in broccoli. It is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system, protects the body from free radicals, fights aging, and promotes collagen production. Like other antioxidants, vitamin C is known to be effective in preventing the growth of cancer cells.

Now that you know a little bit more about the health benefits of broccoli, perhaps you will consider adding a bit more of it to your plate! Not only is it packed with healthy fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients, it can also be quite delicious. The way you prepare it is the key; I find that roasting in the oven produces the most delicious, nutty flavor. It is also great raw in salads. Be adventurous and try out new exciting ways to cook this tiny tree. Here are two recipes to get you started!

Recipe for Broccoli Slaw




¾ cup quinoa- uncooked

1.5 cup water

½ cup sliced almonds

2-3 heads of broccoli

1/3 cup fresh basil- chopped


½ cup olive oil

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. honey

2 garlic cloves- minced

salt and pepper to taste

red pepper flakes if desired





  1. Rinse dry quinoa in a mesh strainer. Combine rinsed quinoa and 1.5 cups water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Once cooked, allow to cool and set aside for later.
  2. Toast almonds in a dry pan until fragrant. Keep careful watch and stir frequently to prevent burning.
  3. Shred broccoli. You can do this by hand with a knife- cutting broccoli heads into small shreds. You can also do this in a food processor.
  4. For the dressing, pour everything into a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk until combined.
  5. Add cooked quinoa, broccoli, basil, and dressing in a large bowl. Mix together adjust seasoning if desired.



Recipe for Roasted Broccoli




2 heads of broccoli

¼ olive oil

4 garlic cloves- minced

½ tsp. salt

3 tbsp. sliced almonds

2 tsp. lemon juice

2-3 tbsp. Parmesan or pecorino cheese

lemon zest of half a lemon

Red pepper flakes- just a pinch




  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Slice broccoli into thick slices, much like a broccoli steak. They should be about ½ inch thick.
  3. Mix together the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Add broccoli and coat in the oil mixture.
  5. Place on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes.
  6. Take out of the oven, flip the broccoli steaks over, and add almonds.
  7. Roast for another 8 minutes until broccoli is tender.
  8. Place on a serving tray and sprinkle with cheese, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest.


For more fun and exciting blog articles be sure to check out the Fill Your Plate blog. Are you looking for some recipe inspiration? Check out the Fill Your Plate recipe section.

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