Broccolini, also called broccolette and baby broccoli, is a cross between broccoli and kai-lan, Chinese kale. It has a sweet, delicate flavor with a subtle, peppery edge, and the flavor becomes milder and sweeter when cooked. It is completely edible, from flower to stem, and its texture is less fibrous than either broccoli or asparagus.
Broccolini was developed by the Sakata Seed Company of Yokohama, Japan, with the name Chinese kale or gai lan. Mann Packing Company introduced broccolini to the US market in 1998. They grow it year round in California and Arizona. Today broccolini is enjoyed throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Each serving of broccolini (approximately eight stalks, or 82 grams, or one cup chopped) contains 240% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin K, 130% of the DV of vitamin C and 30% of the DV of vitamin A. As antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin A may prevent heart disease, cancer, and aging by inhibiting the DNA-damaging effects of free radicals. Vitamin C and vitamin A also support skin and immune system health. The vitamin B6 and folate in broccolini also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. Every serving of broccolini also contains 6% of the DV of calcium, 4.8% of the DV of potassium, and 4% of the DV of iron. Calcium-containing foods like broccolini can decrease the risk of osteoporosis and regulate blood pressure, while iron-rich foods assure adequate red blood cell production and energy metabolism. Broccolini also contains magnesium, along with trace minerals, such as zinc and selenium. A serving of broccoini also contains 1 gram of dietary fiber, or 4 percent of the Daily Value (DV). High-fiber foods like broccolini help prevent hypertension, heart disease, high blood cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, ulcers, hemorrhoids, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. A cup of broccolini has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn with half the calories.
All members of the Brassica oleracea family, including broccolini, contain a high concentration of glucosinolate compounds. When you eat glucosinolate-rich broccolini, the enzyme myrosinase is released. Myrosinase converts glucosinolate into a variety of antioxidant compounds, including isochiocyanates and indoles. People who regularly consume foods that are high in glucosinolate may have a significantly lower risk of developing colon or lung cancer. Glucosinolate consumption may also prevent bladder, breast, prostate, stomach and esophageal cancer. It also contains glucoraphanin, which your body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. Glucoraphanin also helps your skin to detoxify and repair itself.
Eating broccolini and other phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables regularly may contribute to a decreased risk of cancer and the gradual cell damage and degradation associated with aging. The synergistic activity of large combinations of phytochemicals and antioxidant compounds provides the best protection against diseases like cancer. As an excellent source of a variety of these compounds, broccolini would be a good addition to a cancer-prevention diet. Broccolini bolsters your immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene. Broccolini contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen that not only hinders the growth of breast, cervical, and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function. Along with vitamin A, the carotenoid lutein in broccolini helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, along with fighting cancer. Lutein may also slow down or prevent the hardening of your arteries, thus fighting against heart disease and stoke.
Look for broccolini that has fresh bases (not dried out), firm stems (no soft spots) and tightly furled heads (no evident flowering).
Refrigerate broccolini in a tightly sealed container. Broccolini will stay fresher if kept clean and cold. Place vegetables in your refrigerator crisper. Set humidity control to “high.”
This is a strikingly versatile vegetable with an endless range of culinary possibilities – and its elegant, slim stems and attractive flower add a sophisticated beauty to any meal presentation. The stem does not need to be peeled before being eaten. Broccolini can be served raw, steamed, blanched, or sautéed and dressed with vinaigrette, seasonings, and hot pepper.
Chop raw broccolini into salad. Add it to soups, stews, chili, casseroles, and quick breads. Steam broccolini until it is tender, yet still crisp, and bright green. Add steamed broccolini to couscous, pastas, tapas, or chilled crudites. Alternatively, sauté in a tiny bit of olive oil, water, or broth with yellow onions and capers. You can also rinse Broccolini and place in a microwaveable bowl, cover, and microwave on “high” for 3-6 minutes. To grill broccolini, wrap the flower in foil to prevent charring, brush with your favorite seasoning and place on grill. Stir-fry broccolini with a selection of other fresh vegetables, and add a ginger soy sauce for a light meal.
For more inspiration, check out the broccolini recipes on VegWeb.
This blog uses the latest nutritional data available from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration), as well as nutritional data provided by food growers and manufacturers about their products. We believe the information on this blog to be accurate. However, we are not responsible for typographical or other errors. Nutrition information for recipes is calculated by Living Cookbook based on the ingredients in each recipe based on statistical averages. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, and other factors.
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