President George H. W. Bush’s tenure as the 41st president of the United States was marked by many things, one of which was his frequent declaration that he hated broccoli. “I do not like broccoli,” he once told the press, only half joking. “And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid. And my mother made me eat it. And I’m president of the United States. And I’m not gonna eat any more broccoli!”
If, like the former President, your method of dealing with broccoli is to surreptitiously hide it in your napkin and throw it in the trash, give this healthy vegetable another try with some easy broccoli recipes. It’s high in vitamin C, K, potassium and fiber. Plus one of its plant chemicals, sulforphane, has been studied for its potential to reduce the risk of heart attack and cancer.
And if you prepare it just right, it adds great flavor and crunch to a variety of recipes, from soup to salads to stir fries. Here are 15 easy broccoli recipes to make broccoli haters stop hating:
What’s easy about this Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup Bake? It starts with the Café Style Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Nutrisystem, to which you add chopped mushrooms and red bell pepper, whole grain breadcrumbs and Parmesan. It’s already cheesy and the breadcrumbs give it some substance. If you’re a broccoli lover already, you could even toss in some more—it’s a free veggie! One serving is only 344 calories.
Some foods are just better if they have a satisfying crunch. This Crispy Air Fryer Broccoli (made from frozen, not known for its crunchiness!) is one of them. The flavor kicks up a notch with sprinkles of garlic and onion powder, paprika, and black pepper which add zero calories to this side dish. It only takes 15 to 20 minutes in the air fryer to reach its optimum crunchy goodness. Two cups of broccoli make two servings, with each clocking in at just 55 calories.
Turn one pound of broccoli into a heavenly 110-calorie side dish with a creamy sauce made from reduced fat cheddar, fat-free milk and cornstarch. It’s spiced with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, sea salt and Dijon mustard. This Cheese Sauce Smothered Broccoli recipe makes six servings, so it’s great for the whole family.
You know what unlimited means . . . yep, have seconds, even thirds. This ultra creamy Broccoli Cauliflower Carrot Soup is free on the Nutrisystem plan. It was developed by a Nutrisystem member who combined two cups of broccoli, two cups of cauliflower, two large carrots and a diced jalapeno, then simmered them in vegetable broth until tender. You can puree the veggies with an immersion blender and, voila, you have soup! Each of the four servings is only 46 calories and checks off one of your daily Vegetable servings.
Sliced almonds, dried cherries and feta cheese make this easy 3-Step Broccoli Quinoa Salad sweet, savory and delicious. It’s all coated in a vinaigrette dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard and onion powder. One serving is 247 calories
An easy lunch or dinner, this 208-calorie 3-Ingredient Broccoli Cheese Quesadilla combines broccoli and cheese between whole wheat tortillas. It’s cooked in a nonstick pan until the tortilla gets a little crunchy and the cheese gets to the right grade of gooey.
Clearly, cheese is broccoli’s best friend and they get very cozy in this yummy breakfast or lunch entrée made with egg, nonfat milk, whole wheat pastry flour and reduced fat cheddar, all baked in a muffin pan. The Broccoli and Cheese Muffin recipe makes four servings (2 muffins = 1 serving) at 247 calories each.
This Easy Broccoli Salad Recipe With Chicken combines broccoli and red onion with cooked chicken (you can also use turkey or ham) and reduced fat cheddar cheese. It’s coated in a tangy mix of nonfat plain Greek yogurt, light mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, stevia and black pepper. You can add sunflower seeds or imitation bacon bits, chopped jalapeno or any other flavorful Extra or Free Food for variety.
Roasting brings out the sweetness of these two cruciferous vegetables, a plant family known for its ability to protect against heart disease and cancer. Two cloves of garlic and lemon juice add a piquant flavor to this unlimited side dish, but feel free to make your own flavor additions from Nutrisystem’s list of free and unlimited foods. One serving of this Easy Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower is only 37 calories (so, sure, have two!).
A chowder in just 30 minutes? Oh yes! The Instant Pot makes it possible to have this delicious 230-calorie soup that’s incredibly satisfying in just half an hour. Its base is sautéed onion and garlic mixed with whole wheat flour that makes a creamy paste. Add chicken broth, then chunks of white potato, broccoli, pepper and paprika, then milk which turns that wheat roux into a creamy soup base. Stir in chopped turkey bacon and dig into a bowl of this Instant Pot Broccoli Potato Chowder.
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? And when you add turkey bacon? Wow! That shoots its comfort food level to the roof. You may not even notice the chopped broccoli in this 4-Ingredient Broccoli Bacon Mac and Cheese Cups recipe, which starts with a container of Nutrisystem White Cheddar Mac and Cheese. The mixture is topped with panko crumbs and baked in a muffin tin. Best of all, all four mac and cheese cups are a serving which clocks in at 278 calories.
You can buy ready made broccoli slaw at your supermarket so this Broccoli Slaw with Cranberries and Lime recipe is a cinch to make. Add a cup of jicama (a white-fleshed, starchy root vegetable) sliced into matchstick strips, plus cilantro and dried cranberries. Dress with a mixture of lime juice, olive oil and honey. You’ll love the savory-sweet taste of this salad, which is fancy enough to bring to a potluck or neighborhood barbecue in place of regular old coleslaw. The recipe makes 2 servings at 210 calories each.
This Chinese takeout-at-home meal is ready in 15 minutes on your stove top. You can save prep time by buying already sliced red bell peppers and onion to add to the broccoli and chunks of skinless chicken breast that make up the fry. A teaspoon of sesame oil is all you need to sauté the chicken and vegetables. It adds lots of flavor and not many calories. The sauce is made from chicken stock, freshly grated ginger, Hoisin sauce and reduced sodium soy sauce. Served over brown rice, this Chicken Breast and Broccoli Stir Fry is just as good as it looks.
Even the most fervid broccoli hater won’t be able to resist these Super Cheesy Broccoli Fritters because, well, they’re fritters so they’re crispy and they’re also super cheesy, thanks to Parmesan. Steamed broccoli is mixed with shredded carrots, sliced green onions, minced garlic and the Parmesan. It’s held together by egg whites and whole wheat pastry flour, and flavored with Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt and pepper. The mixture is transformed into fritters, then dropped into a skillet and fried until golden brown and crispy. The recipe makes six servings (two fritters per) at 84 calories each.
The two things that make any vegetable taste dreamy are roasting and cheese, and this Quick Roasted Parmesan Broccoli recipe combines the two. You start with a large head of broccoli that you chop up and lay in a single layer on a baking tray. Spray the broccoli with cooking spray, then coat with grated Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste, then roast in a 425-degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until the edges of the broccoli start to brown.