Broccoli, all by her lonesome dove, is my favorite vegetable. She’s filling and fibrous, unfussily fancied or dressed down.
I’d proclaim her the best vegetable, but you know how insecure brussels sprouts can be.
I steamed the whole head.
I stir fried florets in toasted sesame oil, with browned garlic slices and a drizzle of soy sauce.
I covered her with beaten eggs and scrambled her in butter and a grating of romano cheese to make my mother’s specialty side dish, creatively titled, Broccoli and Eggs.
But then, two years ago, I roasted her for the first time. And my heart murmur acted up.
Sweet and crispy and so, so very salted.
Daniel and I eat a big ol’ mess of roasted broccoli every night with dinner. *One fully flowered head for each of us.
*This is a judgment-free zone.
I’ve always thought, in losing weight and maintaining mine for six years now, that fruits and vegetables make all of eating well, fuller. In finding vegetables I love, as madly as I do crispy broccoli and caramelized brussels and sweet early peas and grilled white corn on the cob and roasted brown sugared butternut squash, I discovered I could eat anything.
In theory, of course I can. Anyone can.
But in practice, it seems more difficult.
Because when I learned that a 13×9” of lasagna served eight, rather than four, when I figured out that I could eat french fries anytime so long as they were sized small rather than super, I wondered how I’d feel about fullness.
I began pairing whatever meal I craved with a mound of vegetables. It mattered less what was gracing one side of my plate, and mattered more that the other side was over-populated with plants.
I ate the vegetables first. But I made sure that I only ate the ones I loved. I didn’t just quarantine a green on my dinner plate and promise to eat it for health’s sake. I found out which vegetables tasted best to me, and which methods of preparing them really made them as lovely as what I’d linger over in restaurants, and I experimented with those.
I bought a new and different veggie each Sunday at the market.
I used herbs and spices and introduced butter as a flavor rather than a foundation. I learned that roasting vegetables in a burning hot oven makes for sweetness without added sugar.
Each night as I cooked dinner, I made certain that I paired that perfect square of gooey lasagna, those two medium slices of my favorite spicy caramelized onion pizza, the two soft corn tortilla tacos, with at least double that of delicious vegetables.
I paired sandwiches with a softball of a pink lady apple.
I ordered a full Greek salad alongside my falafel plate.
I rounded out crab rangoon and stir fried Chinese take out with a piping hot carton of steamed mixed vegetables drizzled in duck sauce.
I felt full and content and free to eat whatever I fancied.
The moral of all of this is simply that vegetables married every meal. They weren’t an afterthought or a ‘should’ at suppertime, but a lusty must.
Without further ado, though goodness gracious there’s been heaps and gobs of ado here, I present to you- my favorite vegetable- roasted broccoli.
- 2 small heads broccoli, chopped into florets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, or any oil you like
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lay the florets in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
- Pour oil into small bowl and dip a pastry brush into the oil and then onto each floret to coat lightly.
- Sprinkle evenly with salt.
- Roast for about 20 minutes, or until broccoli tips have begun to blacken and they can be easily pierced with a fork.