Sweet, tender and fuss-free, Broccolini® is nutritionist Jacqueline Alwill's favourite go-to veggie to boost the flavour and goodness of a meal.
Not to be confused with baby broccoli, Broccolini® is a mix of broccoli and Chinese kale, and has a mild, peppery flavour that becomes sweeter when cooked. Broccolini® is recognisable by its loose florets and tender stems – distinctively different to broccoli or baby broccoli.
"The beautifully sweet green is entirely edible and fuss free, which helps to make healthy eating easy," said nutritionist Jacqueline Alwill, founder of Brown Paper Nutrition.
"As part of the cruciferous vegetable family – the power greens that pack a real punch - Broccolini® contains potassium for a happy heart, immunity-boosting vitamin C and betacarotene for healthy skin.
More than just a side dish – here's Jacqueline's top five ways to enjoy Broccolini®:
Breakfast boost – Sautéed or steamed, Broccolini® is the perfect topper for eggs, avocado toast, and savoury breakfast bowls. It makes for an incredible start to your day and ticks the boxes for an early serve of vegetables.
Savoury snacking – Teaming Broccolini® with protein and healthy fats like hummus or a yoghurt-based dip, is an ideal combination for a nutrient packed snack that will help control your hunger and maintain stable energy levels through the day. I love Broccolini® with tahini yoghurt and lemon.
Entertaining go-to – Let's face it Broccolini® looks gorgeous and its long, edible stems, make it great finger food. Sauté, steam or roast and serve it up to guests on a big serving board with a sprinkling of herbs, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a topping of goat's cheese, feta or nuts. It makes an impressive platter that helps increase your veggie intake and wow your friends at the same time.
Nourish bowl super star – Create a nourish bowl with Broccolini® as the hero. When building a nourish bowl, I always try to include a quality protein like fish or chicken (a palm sized serve), energising carbohydrates like fresh vegetables or wholegrains, and to keep the hunger at bay healthy fats like seeds, avocado, or an extra virgin olive oil dressing.
Spiced up – While Broccolini® is delicious on its own, a bit of spice does wonders to vary any cooking and flavour experience. Consider adding chilli flakes, dukkah or curry spice just to start, and don't hold back on your creative combinations.
For information and recipe inspiration check out www.perfection.com.au
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
2 bunches Broccolini®
1 tbs sesame seeds
1/3 cup roasted salted cashews
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp sea salt flakes
Snow pea tendrils or small mint leaves & Flatbread, to serve
125ml extra virgin olive oil
1 lime, rind finely grated, juiced
½ long red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
1/3 cup mint leaves, chopped
1 tsp caster sugar
For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Add salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
Place a tray in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes. Blanch the Broccolini® in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes until bright green and just tender. Drain quickly and arrange onto the cold tray in a single layer. Pour over the dressing and turn to coat. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.
Place sesame seeds in a small frying pan and shake over medium heat until light golden. Add the cashews and cook for 1-2 minutes until warm. Remove to a small food processor. Add cumin, paprika and salt and pulse until finely chopped.
Cut the feta into 3cm pieces. Roll the feta in the cashew mixture, pressing on with fingertips.
Arrange the Broccolini® on plates or a platter, top with feta and snow pea tendrils. Spoon over dressing (from marinated Broccolini®) and serve with flat bread.
Question: Why should we be trying to fit more Broccolini into our meals?
Jacqueline Alwill: Perfection Broccolini® is a tasty and healthy vegetable high in vitamin A, C and fibre and the perfect, nutrient packed addition to any meal. As well as being a delicious immune booster that fights inflammation, the versatile veg also helps to keep the digestive system happy and healthy!
Question: How does Broccolini differ to broccoli?
Jacqueline Alwill: Perfection Broccolini® is a distinct veggie variety that is a mix of broccoli and Chinese kale. It is recognisable by its loose florets and tender stems. It also has a unique mild, peppery taste that becomes sweeter when cooked – distinctively different to broccoli or baby broccoli.
Question: How can we make Broccolini more appealing to kids?
Jacqueline Alwill: For the tiny ones, create shapes and pictures on their plate with them using the vegetable - maybe an island with Broccolini® as the trees! As they grow older encourage them to jump into the kitchen with you as you prepare meals together as a family. Teach them different ways to use Broccolini® by playing with cooking techniques and teaming with other ingredients.
As a tip to satisfy kids hungry tummies and growing bodies, get creative and serve steamed or sautéed Broccolini® with hummus for some plant protein or a savoury yoghurt dip made with full fat dairy for an afternoon snack.
Question: When is Broccolini in season?
Jacqueline Alwill: Broccolini® is available year round!
Interview by Brooke Hunter