Crunchy Broccoli Cheese Bake

Crunchy and bursting with flavour! Both cooked and raw broccoli can make excellent additions to your meal plan. Broccoli is a versatile green vegetable that has grown in popularity in recent years, not only for its nutritional value but for its taste; pairing well with a variety of ingredients and seasonings.

There are many more ways to cook broccoli that can be explored and so we will, but here is one of my simple favourites. Broccoli steamed, covered with the natural pairing of a tasty cheese sauce and baked delicious. Let’s continue the first official “What’s Green and Good A – Z” countdown with this crunchy green vegetable; a member of the cabbage family that is closely related to cauliflower.

Ingredients

2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Salt and white pepper, use as desired
¾  cup skim milk or almond milk
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

Preparation time: 20 minutes Bake time: 25 minutes
Serves 4 – 5.

Directions

  1. Place 3 tablespoons of water and broccoli into a saucepan. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper and cover. Steam for 3 – 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper and milk until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.  Stir in onion and cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Drain broccoli and stir into cheese sauce.
  3. Transfer to a small baking tray/dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 350 °C for 20 – 25 minutes.
  4. Remover cover from baking tray/dish and broil for 1 – 2 minutes.  You have the option here to add additional cheese before broiling. Here I’ve topped this dish with a bit of feta cheese as well.
  5. Remove from oven. Serve hot.

Broccoli’s cultivation originated in Italy. Broccolo, its Italian name, means “cabbage sprout.” Broccoli’s name is derived from the Latin word brachium, which means branch or arm, a reflection of its tree-like shape that features a compact head of florets attached by small stems to a larger stalk. Because of its different components, this vegetable provides a complex of tastes and textures, ranging from soft and flowery (the florets) to fibrous and crunchy (the stem and stalk).

Broccoli is available all year round but you can buy fresh Ontario broccoli from June to October when it’s in season. Just look for the Foodland Ontario logo when shopping to know if your broccoli is locally grown.

Green Foods from A – Z: The Countdown

I recently started this fun “Green and Good A – Z” countdown to explore all green foods and how to cook them delicious. We started the countdown with an ABCs fundemental – A is for Apple, with a Green Apple Cake. This is an apple cake like no other, and can be enjoyed so many ways. Pair it with a double espresso, whipped cream, ice cream or a hunk of strong cheese. Start to finish: 10 minutes prep and 50 minutes in the oven. 10 simple ingredients. Be sure to check it out!

Also, thanks for stopping by and checking out this versatile green vegetable that pairs so well with a variety for ingredients and seasonings; Broccoli. This amazing list continues with recipes for other green foods starting with B such as Bok Choy. See Spicy Garlic Bok Choy and another tasty recipe with broccoli, Stuffed Baked Sweet Potato with Broccoli, Swiss Chard and Spicy Chickpea Hummus.

Happy Cooking!

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