10 February 2012

The Broccoli Challenge: serve broccoli to a picky eater

Eating vegetables every day is not an easy task, especially in the Winter.  Not as sweet and often requiring more preparation than fruit, I'm always searching for ways to serve veggies to my kids.  Corn, naturally high in sugar, is an easy sell in July when we can eat it off the cob with butter and salt.  (The Steamfresh microwavable bags are pretty good too.)

Carrots are also well liked.  I used to cook frozen carrots, dress them with butter and brown sugar and call them “candy carrots” to get my toddlers to eat them.  But now that the kids are older and I’m less worried about them choking, I just peel whole carrots and serve them while my kids are playing (getting active kids to sit and eat is often a challenge in itself!)

But broccoli (a good source of calcium, iron and vitamin C) has been my biggest challenge.  My daughter will eat it, but my son won’t sniff those florets.  Calling broccoli tips ‘little trees’, covering them with melted cheese, and reading “Green Eggs and Ham” didn’t convince him.

 So, I took broccoli on as my challenge – how can I prepare broccoli that picky eaters will eat?  Here are three recipes I tried:
1.       Roasted Broccoli w/ lemon juice and pine nuts from AmateurGourmet .  I love roasted vegetables (asparagus, potatoes) but never thought of cooking broccoli this way. It was a tasty alternative to the usual steamed dish we eat.

2.      Broccoli Cheddar Biscuits from TheSalted Spoon  were easier to roll out and cut than cookies and initially got a thumbs-up, but biscuits are not very good the next day so I had to toss the second tray of biscuits out.  Might try again for a dinner with the extended family.

3.       Finally, we found a Broccoli Salad recipe that promised to be the “incarnation of broccoli even the most stubborn of broccoli haters can’t hate” from foodess.com and a comparable recipe with less sugar and sunflower seeds instead of cashews (but more mayonnaise) on allrecipes.com   which received a 5-star rating by over 850 reviewers.

Was I able to get my son to like broccoli?  Anyone want to place bets?  Maybe I should revisit Jessica Seinfeld’s “Deceptively Delicious” cookbook which hides the veggies inside!

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