Crisp and crunchy with hints of sweet grass and earthy goodness, sautéed broccolini is one of my favorite wintertime veggie choices.
Broccolini is in the Brassica family, along with broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. It is often misidentified as young broccoli, which it is not. It is its own variation of brassica, a hybrid of broccoli and a vegetable called Kailaan.
Broccolini is new to the vegetable scene, being first developed in 1993 by the Sakata Seed Company and it is growing in popularity around the world. The small tender stalks of broccolini are actually the off-shoots of a much thicker and larger stalk; sort of the way brussels sprouts grow on a larger stalk and are removed when harvested. Broccolini season is from November through April, although it is quickly becoming more available year round.
From a culinary perspective, broccolini are pretty easy to add to a meal or be a meal. They don’t need to be peeled or even necessarily chopped up. I love to quickly parboil them, then finish them off in a quick garlic and olive oil sauté. They are delicious steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, and even grilled.
From a health perspective, they are in the brassica family so they are full of all the lovely nutrient goodness you’ll find in brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage.
As a cruciferous vegetable, which means all the benefits of its kin, Broccolini is high in vitamin C, K, an A. Research demonstrates that the flavonoids in broccolini increase colon health and decrease the potential for colon cancer (and other cancers). It is beneficial for cardiovascular health and helps lower blood pressure. Studies suggest that sulforaphane, a chemical compound found in most brassicas, including broccolini, can also help repair and prevent damage to small blood vessels caused by diabetes. Broccolini also has the amazing ability, like its parent broccoli, to detoxify the body on a cellular level due to a unique trio of phytonutrients. If you haven’t tried broccolini yet, I highly recommend giving a chance in your kitchen (: