Roasted Garlic Lemon Broccoli

We are reaching cabin fever time, at least for me. February is always roughest on my seasonal affective disorder–the holiday season is over, football season is over but baseball has not quite started, the weather is still pretty rough, limiting the variety of outside activities, and we are surrounded by god-awful candy (if I’m spending my calories on desert, it better be something special, not cheap milk chocolate or chalky sugar hearts!) Thank goodness February is the shortest month!

Things on the food front can also get a bit desperate this time of year. The fresh fruits and vegetables of the local farmers markets are long gone here in the upper Midwest, and if one’s not careful, the root vegetable season can also get dull, and result in fewer vegetables eaten. (But since most people are still on their New Year’s health kick, this is just the time to eat MORE vegetables, as they are lower in calories than any other food group.)2013-02-01 17.11.37

Fortunately, I found a new recipe that is bright and flavorful, yet hearty–perfect for a winter dinner. Roasted broccoli is great for a number of reasons, but the lemon and garlic make it something quite special! Here are the selling points:

  • Broccoli is now available all year around, even though its classically a spring vegetable. Also, if you are fortunate to have an extensive produce section, you can try this recipe with broccoli rabe (also called broccolini, rapini and other names) or even broccoflower. Fresh broccoli is running me about $3 per pound right now.
  • You can do this with frozen broccoli, which is the cheapest, but there are a couple tricky spots. First, you should thaw and pat dry the broccoli before you begin. Also, It will never have the tender-crisp texture you would get from fresh broccoli. In the end, I would recommend going with fresh for this recipe.
  • I don’t have a problem eating raw veggies and salad all year, but there are some frigid days when something chilled just won’t do. This is a great cooked vegetable dish that is packed with nutrition!
  • Its easy to make and has just a handful of ingredients! You could also add some pine nuts, walnuts, almonds or cashews for some extra protein and healthy fats, just make sure to watch the amount you use if you are watching your calorie intake.
  • This dish is cooked at a lower temp than I generally cook my veggies, but that’s because of the garlic. Cooking minced garlic at 450 or higher will likely result in bitter, burnt garlic, but with this temp, you’ll be safe.
  • A serving size is just 1/2 cup, which works out to just a few florets! Plus, I guarantee you’ll eat more than that, so that encourages low-calorie veggie eating and extra nutrients such as vitamin C, folate and potassium.
  • Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables, along with Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. These are sometimes disliked due to their “sulfur-y” smell. These vegetables have powerful, healthy phytochemicals, however, though they should not be overlooked! I find that roasting these veggies pretty much eliminates the smell you may get from methods like steaming and microwaving.2013-02-01 17.12.42

Roasted Garlic Lemon Broccoli

2 Large heads of broccoli (0.75-1# per head)
3 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 t sea salt
1/2 t pepper (1/4 t if its freshly ground)
1/2-1 T Lemon juice, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a roasting pan or baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Rinse broccoli and cut into florets. You can also use some of the stem of the broccoli by cutting them into coins; keep them less than 1/4 inch thick so they cook thoroughly.
  • Place broccoli in pan with all other ingredients except the lemon juice. Stir.
  • Roast on the middle of the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring once. The florets should be fork tender.
  • Remove from oven and stir in lemon juice.
  • Makes approximately 8 servings 1/2 cup each.
  • NOTE: Adding the acidic lemon juice may turn the broccoli a darker, army green color. Therefore, eating it immediately after cooking will ensure the best color, though there is nothing wrong with the leftovers…if you have any!2013-02-01 17.48.28

Using cooking spray instead of oil cuts most of the calories, so 1/2 cup has only approximately 20 calories! Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/roasted-garlic-lemon-broccoli/

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