Broccoli and cauliflower are versatile vegetables that can be used in an assortment of recipes – from roasting, braising and pickling.
When cutting broccoli and cauliflower, it’s best to cut them into even pieces so they cook more evenly. Also important when cutting these veggies are to remove any large black or brown spots before cooking begins.
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1. Use a sharp knife
As most of us already know, broccoli is an incredibly nutritous cruciferous vegetable that’s low in calories while providing essential vitamins (particularly C), fiber and minerals. Not to mention its crunchy texture which works in various dishes!
Broccoli can be eaten both leaves and stems, making it an excellent addition to soups, salads, and stir-fries all year-round. Best of all? When other vegetables aren’t readily available it makes broccoli an easy go-to option!
For optimal results when cutting broccoli and cauliflower, it is crucial to use a sharp knife. Doing so will prevent tearing the vegetables, making them easier to chop. For optimal results, the ideal knife would be either a large chef’s knife, serrated knife, or a santoku knife – with its smooth curved blade designed to cut through even toughest vegetable parts easily.
Before beginning to chop vegetables, it is a good idea to wash them. But you should avoid washing too soon before cooking as excessive moisture could cause discoloration and spoilage. In addition, remove all outer parts that contain brown spots as soon as you see any.
Once your vegetables have been cleaned and washed, cut them into smaller pieces to ensure even cooking and to help speed the process along. A food processor may come in handy; just be mindful not to overdo it or you might end up with an unappetizing mess!
As part of your preparation when cutting broccoli heads, it’s wise to separate it into its individual florets – these flower-like parts contain most of its nutrition – from its remaining stems and leaves. Fleurs make great snack foods when baked or roasted while their stems can also be added into soups, salads, stews and casserole dishes.
2. Cut the florets into smaller pieces
Broccoli florets make a nutritious addition to many dishes, from roasting and steaming them through soups and stews to salads or eating raw. Prep time can be time consuming and messy if not handled carefully, which is why it’s crucial that we learn how to cut them into small pieces so they cook evenly without overcooking – food editor Kelsey Youngman shows you how in this video! All it takes is some patience and a sharp knife.
At first, rinse the broccoli to rid itself of dirt or pesticides that may linger on its surface and ensure fresh produce for cooking.
After you’ve rinsed, peeling away the outer layers of the stem is key. This can be accomplished either by running it under cool water or using a sharp knife. Once this step has been accomplished, begin cutting florets into smaller pieces; using either your knife or hands may work best here.
Once your florets have been cut into smaller pieces, it’s time to prepare them for your recipe. If roasting, it is wise to coat them in oil before placing in the oven in order to help achieve an even browning and crunchy texture.
As another way of adding extra flavor, sprinkle the florets with salt and pepper for extra zest. If preparing salad, parsley or lemon zest add an additional pop of color while don’t forget paprika is another great way to add spice and color.
Don’t throw away the stems and leaves of cauliflower! They contain just as many essential vitamins and nutrients, and can be used in an assortment of delicious recipes – from crunchy, tangy broccoli slaw to dairy-free kormas! Just be sure to rinse and dry them well prior to adding them into a recipe!
3. Blanch the florets
Broccoli and cauliflower make an excellent addition to salads, roasted vegetables or soups, making them easy and accessible year-round. Unfortunately, however, their messy cutting process can leave your workspace covered in little white chunks if you aren’t careful enough – but The Best Way has an easier solution: food editor Kelsey Youngman shows how you can chop broccoli and cauliflower efficiently for optimal results with minimal mess and uneven pieces in her video tutorial on cutting broccoli and cauliflower from The Best Way.
This easy method works for both whole heads of broccoli and its florets. First, cut any leaves or stems off the florets before cutting into “nuggets”. This will ensure even cooking. Alternatively, if you would like to save any florets for later use, they can be frozen by placing them in a container with some ice water and when you are ready, dump that ice water out before placing the florets back into boiling water for one minute until bright green then transfer back into their container of ice water once done so as this will stop further cooking while maintaining color retention and preserve color retention of the florets.
If you prefer cooking the florets instead of freezing, that option is also available to you. Blanching can work wonders when dealing with overgrown broccoli and cauliflower patches; additionally it works great when blanching French/green bean and carrot varieties as well.
Make an irresistibly delicious broccoli cauliflower salad by combining florets with chopped onions and cubed cheese in one large bowl while you create the dressing in another one. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream (I used cashew sour cream), a few drops of vinegar (apple cider vinegar was my choice) as well as salt, chili flakes and paprika until desired flavor has been reached – feel free to adjust as necessary or omit altogether! This dressing requires about one teaspoon of sugar but feel free to adjust as desired – I used one teaspoon but feel free to adjust or forgo this step!
When purchasing broccoli or cauliflower, look for firm heads with no blemishes or dark spots; one which weighs significantly for its size; ideally with “crown” flower buds – these represent edible parts of the vegetable and should not have sprouting stalks attached.
4. Cook the florets
Broccoli and cauliflower are two cruciferous vegetables belonging to the same superfood category as kale and Brussels sprouts, boasting low calories while providing an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals – just one cup of cauliflower florets can provide more than an entire day’s supply of vitamin C, along with folate, potassium and vitamin K; they’re also great sources of fiber and iron!
Your vegetable-loving family can enjoy them in many different ways. An easy option is roasting them. Simply toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper before placing in the oven until crispy and tender. Additionally, try adding garlic powder, onion powder or red pepper flakes as additional flavors for extra flair!
Air fry your florets for another tasty option! Simply arrange the florets in an even layer on a baking sheet, season them generously with salt, and air fry for four to five minutes before flipping and cooking an additional four or five minutes. For added flavor add lemon juice or paprika for drizzle to the final batch!
Oven air frying broccoli and cauliflower is also possible, simply by placing its florets on a baking sheet and seasoning them with sea salt and pepper before placing it into an oven at 400 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp and tender. You could also experiment with adding additional flavors like smoked paprika or thyme.
As another option, cauliflower florets can also be turned into a healthy salad by tossing them with a dressing made of mayonnaise, sour cream and vinegar – an easy and tasty way to get your greens while remaining on a diet as this kind of dressing contains less fat than most salad dressings!
Make a creamy dip from your florets by mixing them with butter, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese – it makes an easy alternative to ranch dip. Serve this creamy dish alongside pasta or pizza; they could even make up part of vegan cauliflower rice dishes!