How Can I Get My Kids to Eat Broccoli?

Homemade broccoli pizza
Homemade broccoli pizza

Broccoli is an extremely nutritious vegetable and when it is prepared and cooked properly, it is also very tasty. Unfortunately, it equally happens to be one of those vegetables which is traditionally very unpopular with children and many parents know endless frustrations trying to persuade or even force their offspring to eat it when it is served on their plates. The good news is that there are a great many ways in which the problem can be addressed and this page is devoted to looking at different ways to prepare, cook and serve broccoli to help children of all ages see it in a whole new light and both appreciate its taste and benefit from its health giving properties.

What's the Biggest Mistake Made when Cooking Broccoli?

Simmering broccoli florets in salted water
Simmering broccoli florets in salted water

There can be little doubt that the single most common reason for anyone not liking broccoli is that it is served to them grossly overcooked. The most popular way of cooking it is probably to break it in to florets and simmer it in salted water. While on the face of it this is a perfectly acceptable cooking method and can lead to it being delicious, there are a couple of important points of which you should take careful note.

The first point is to be careful that when you are preparing the broccoli, you make sure all the pieces are of roughly similar size. Not all florets are of similar size on a head, so you may have to chop some of the bigger ones in half.

Broccoli chopped for cooking
Broccoli chopped for cooking

Should Broccoli Be Added to Cold or Boiling Water?

There is an old adage about cooking vegetables and whether they should be added to initially cold or already boiling water. It states simply that vegetables which grow beneath the ground (eg potatoes, carrots and parsnips) should be added to cold water which is then brought to a simmer, while vegetables like broccoli which grow above the ground should be added to already boiling (slightly salted) water.

Use a large slotted spoon to lower the broccoli in to the water for safety purposes. Simmer only until the florets are just softened and no more. It should be a bit like pasta (al dente) and not cooked away to mush as is so often the case. Overcooking also allows many of the nutrients to escape the broccoli in to the water. Depending upon the size of the florets, they should take at the very most around six minutes to cook by simmering.

Why Not Try Steaming Broccoli for Even Better Results?

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Steaming broccoli rather than boiling/poaching it in water has considerable advantages. It is likely to be served more nutritious, it retains its texture to a far greater extent and if anything it actually cooks slightly more quickly. Four or five minutes maximum, depending upon the size of the florets, and it is done.

Featured Recipes and Portions

The recipes on this page are extremely varied. They begin with some nice simple but effective ways of serving broccoli to kids and progress to some more imaginative and especially tasty creations. Note that it is important to adjust the serving quantities as required. This is for the simple reason that kids of different ages will of course have appetites of different sizes. You will also find that most of the recipes can easily be tweaked to suit individual tastes and preferences.

Broccoli and Bacon Cheese Toastie

Broccoli and bacon cheese toastie with simple side salad
Broccoli and bacon cheese toastie with simple side salad

Who doesn't like a cheese toastie? Vegans and people who don't like cheese aside, most people in all age groups will surely like a cheese toastie in at least one of its endlessly possible forms. This simple idea is a great way to get kids to eat broccoli as it is combined with another great food favourite - bacon!

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 10 min

Ready in: 20 min

Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • 3 medium broccoli florets
  • Salt
  • 2 slices bacon*
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely grated/shredded cheese such as cheddar
  • Black pepper
  • Small portion of mixed salad to serve

*The bacon used here is what is standard bacon in US but known as smoked streaky bacon in UK. If using British back bacon, one rasher should be sufficient.

Instructions

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Broccoli for toastie firstly has to be cookedFrying bacon for toastieCooked bacon and broccoliChopped bacon and broccoli are seasoned with black pepper and combinedGrated or shredded cheese for toastieBacon and broccoli are laid on uintoasted side of breadCheese is carefully arranged over broccoli and baconCheese is melted over broccoli and baconBroccoli and bacon cheese toastie is sliced for servingBiting in to a broccoli and bacon cheese toastie
Broccoli for toastie firstly has to be cooked
Broccoli for toastie firstly has to be cooked
Frying bacon for toastie
Frying bacon for toastie
Cooked bacon and broccoli
Cooked bacon and broccoli
Chopped bacon and broccoli are seasoned with black pepper and combined
Chopped bacon and broccoli are seasoned with black pepper and combined
Grated or shredded cheese for toastie
Grated or shredded cheese for toastie
Bacon and broccoli are laid on uintoasted side of bread
Bacon and broccoli are laid on uintoasted side of bread
Cheese is carefully arranged over broccoli and bacon
Cheese is carefully arranged over broccoli and bacon
Cheese is melted over broccoli and bacon
Cheese is melted over broccoli and bacon
Broccoli and bacon cheese toastie is sliced for serving
Broccoli and bacon cheese toastie is sliced for serving
Biting in to a broccoli and bacon cheese toastie
Biting in to a broccoli and bacon cheese toastie
  1. Boil or steam the broccoli until just softened. If appropriate, drain.
  2. While the broccoli is cooking, fry the bacon in a little vegetable oil for a couple of minutes each side or until cooked as you like it. Lift it from the pan to a chopping board.
  3. Toast one side of one slice of bread under your grill/broiler while you carefully roughly chop the bacon and broccoli.
  4. Mix the bacon and broccoli together, seasoning optionally with some black pepper and arrange over the untoasted side of the bread.
  5. Scatter the cheese evenly over the broccoli and bacon, lightly pressing down on it to help it stay in place when you lift it to the grilling/broiling tray.
  6. Melt the cheese under your heat source, toasting one side only of the second slice of bread as you do so.
  7. Lift the two items to a chopping board and lay the untoasted side of the second slice of bread down on the melted cheese. Again, press down lightly as you cut it in half.
  8. Serve the toastie with the washed and shaken dry salad.

Sausages, Mash and Broccoli

Simply cooked broccoli is served with mini sausages and mashed potato and broccoli stalk
Simply cooked broccoli is served with mini sausages and mashed potato and broccoli stalk

This is a very simple recipe but it includes a tasty little twist which is not immediately obvious...

When you remove the florets from a head of broccoli, what do you normally do with the stalk? Throw it away? Probably 99% of people do this very thing but did you know it is also entirely edible and works very well in mash with potatoes? Give it a go and hopefully you'll be very pleasantly surprised.

These little sausages are a classic kids' favourite in Scotland but they are also eaten as cocktail sausages by all adults at parties. If you can't get mini sausages like these, you can use larger sausages cut in to two or three pieces after they are cooked.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ready in: 40 min

Yields: Two servings

Ingredients

  • 2 medium floury/starchy potatoes
  • Stalks/stems from two heads of broccoli (or only one if preferred)
  • Salt
  • 10 mini cocktail sausages
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Florets from one head of broccoli
  • Bit of butter for mashing potatoes/broccoli stalk
  • White pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped chives

Instructions

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Broccoli stalks and potatoesPotatoes and broccoli stalks ready for boilingWee Willie Winkie cocktail sausagesStarting to fry mini sausagesStarting to simmer broccoliButter and pepper added to potatoes and broccoli stalks for mashingChopped chives added to mashMini sausages are drained on kitchen paperSmashed is spooned on to serving plateBroccoli florets are arranged on mash
Broccoli stalks and potatoes
Broccoli stalks and potatoes
Potatoes and broccoli stalks ready for boiling
Potatoes and broccoli stalks ready for boiling
Wee Willie Winkie cocktail sausages
Wee Willie Winkie cocktail sausages
Starting to fry mini sausages
Starting to fry mini sausages
Starting to simmer broccoli
Starting to simmer broccoli
Butter and pepper added to potatoes and broccoli stalks for mashing
Butter and pepper added to potatoes and broccoli stalks for mashing
Chopped chives added to mash
Chopped chives added to mash
Mini sausages are drained on kitchen paper
Mini sausages are drained on kitchen paper
Smashed is spooned on to serving plate
Smashed is spooned on to serving plate
Broccoli florets are arranged on mash
Broccoli florets are arranged on mash
  1. Peel the potatoes and chop to around one inch chunks. Add to a large pot of cold, salted water.
  2. The broccoli stalks should also be peeled as the outer layer is a little bit stringy. Chop to pieces of a similar size to the potato chunks and also add to the pot.
  3. Put the pot on to a high heat until the water starts to simmer. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for about twenty minutes or until just softened.
  4. When the potatoes and broccoli stalk are just about ready, heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the sausages very gently for about six or seven minutes until done, turning frequently.
  5. As soon as the sausages are on, add the broccoli florets to a pot of salted water and simmer for about six minutes.
  6. Drain the potatoes and broccoli stalks through a colander at your sink. Return to the pot and allow to steam off for about five minutes. If you don't allow the excess moisture to escape in this way, you will have pretty unpleasant, soggy mash.
  7. Add a bit of butter to the potatoes and season with white pepper. Mash with a hand masher before stirring in the chopped chives with a spoon.
  8. Plate the mash as a bed. Drain the broccoli florets very thoroughly and arrange on the bed of mash with the sausages.

What Vitamins and Minerals Does Broccoli Contain?

As well as the values shown in the table below, one serving of broccoli also contains approximately 11% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A, an incredible 135% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C and 4% of the recommended daily amount of both calcium and iron.

Note that all figures relate to broccoli in its raw form.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 91g
Calories 31
Calories from Fat0
% Daily Value *
Fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 6 g2%
Sugar 2 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 3 g6%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 30 mg1%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Broccoli, Sweetcorn and Potato Fritters with Pizza Sauce Dip

Tasty and crunchy broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters with an authentic, homemade pizza sauce dip
Tasty and crunchy broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters with an authentic, homemade pizza sauce dip

It's probably fair to say that an overwhelming majority of kids would choose pizza over broccoli any day of the week. This recipe uses a very simple, homemade pizza sauce as a dip for deliciously crispy broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

Ready in: 35 min

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 small can (8 ounces) chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed (or olive) oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Generous pinch dried basil
  • Generous pinch dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium sized baking potato
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon plain/all purpose flour
  • 2 or 3 florets of broccoli, moderately finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sweetcorn kernels

Instructions (Part 1)

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Main ingredients for pizza sauce dipGrated garlic is gently sweated in rapeseed oilTomatoes and seasonings added to sweated garlicPizza sauce dip is brought to a simmerPrincipal ingredients for broccoli, sweetcorn and potato frittersPeeled and chopped potato ready for gratingPotato grated on to tea towelWater is squeezed out of potato in tea towel
Main ingredients for pizza sauce dip
Main ingredients for pizza sauce dip
Grated garlic is gently sweated in rapeseed oil
Grated garlic is gently sweated in rapeseed oil
Tomatoes and seasonings added to sweated garlic
Tomatoes and seasonings added to sweated garlic
Pizza sauce dip is brought to a simmer
Pizza sauce dip is brought to a simmer
Principal ingredients for broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters
Principal ingredients for broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters
Peeled and chopped potato ready for grating
Peeled and chopped potato ready for grating
Potato grated on to tea towel
Potato grated on to tea towel
Water is squeezed out of potato in tea towel
Water is squeezed out of potato in tea towel

The first step is to make the dipping sauce, leaving it to cool slightly while you prepare and fry the fritters. Note that you could blend it until it is fully smooth before you serve it but in this instance it has been left that little bit chunky and rustic.

  1. Pour the rapseed oil in to a saucepan and put the pan on to a gentle heat. Peel the garlic clove and grate it in to the pan, stirring it around for a minute or so just to release the flavours but not colour.
  2. Pour the chopped tomatoes in to the pan and season with the basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to as gentle a simmer as possible.
  3. Continue to simmer in this way (uncovered), stirring frequently, until a lush, thick sauce is formed. This should take between ten and fifteen minutes.
  4. Peel the potato and you may find it easier come the grating stage to chop it in to three or four pieces.
  5. Coarsely grate the potato in to the centre of a tea towel. Gather up the edges of the tea towel and squeeze as much water out as you can at your sink.
  6. Turn off the heat under the sauce and leave to cool to an edible temperature while you make the fritters.

Instructions (Part 2)

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Egg and seasoning added to grated potatoFlour added to potato and eggBroccoli and sweetcorn added to potato batterBroccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritter batterDeep frying broccoli, sweetcorn and potato frittersBroccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters are drained on kitchen paperPizza dipping suace is platedBiting in to broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters
Egg and seasoning added to grated potato
Egg and seasoning added to grated potato
Flour added to potato and egg
Flour added to potato and egg
Broccoli and sweetcorn added to potato batter
Broccoli and sweetcorn added to potato batter
Broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritter batter
Broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritter batter
Deep frying broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters
Deep frying broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters
Broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters are drained on kitchen paper
Broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters are drained on kitchen paper
Pizza dipping suace is plated
Pizza dipping suace is plated
Biting in to broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters
Biting in to broccoli, sweetcorn and potato fritters
  1. Put the potato in to a large bowl and break the egg on top. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Stir well with a wooden spoon to form your initial batter.
  3. Add the flour to the mix and stir well until that is also fully combined.
  4. When you add the chopped broccoli and the sweetcorn, fold rather than stir it through to avoid breaking it up further. This can take a couple of minutes but the end result more than justifies the time and effort.
  5. Bring a deep frying pan of oil up to a high heat. The oil needs to be at least an inch deep but don't overfill the pan.
  6. In order to shape the fritters, use two dessert spoons to quenelle them immediately before you carefully lower them in to the hot oil. You should get eight fritters from this quantity of batter. If you are making more than this you should fry in batches.
  7. Reduce the heat under the oil and fry the fritters for about five or six minutes, turning them gently and regularly with a deep frying spider, until crisp and golden.
  8. Lift the fritters to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain.
  9. Divide the warm but not too hot sauce between two small ramekins or similar and serve with four fritters per person.

Broccoli and Beef Chilli with Rice

Mild broccoli and beef chilli on a bed of rice
Mild broccoli and beef chilli on a bed of rice

Chilli Con Carne or chili - whichever you personally call it - is one of those dishes which can be made to incorporate a wide variety of sundry ingredients, so why not broccoli? Given that this particular recipe is designed for kids, however, I have gone very easy on the spices, eliminating the garlic and cumin altogether. You can easily adjust in this respect for adults or more discerning children if you so choose without affecting in any way the remainder of the recipe.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ready in: 40 min

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • ¾ pound minced/ground beef
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 small red medium chilli, seeded and sliced
  • 14 ounce can chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
  • 8 ounce can red kidney beans in water
  • ½ head of broccoli, florets roughly chopped to even size
  • 4 ounces basmati rice (or as required)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions (Part 1)

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Principal chilli ingredientsCarefully browning beefSliced onion and red chilliOnion is added to browned beefRed chilli is added to beef and onionWashing red kidney beansCanned tomatoes are added to beefRed kidney beans are added to chilliChilli is brought to a gentle simmer
Principal chilli ingredients
Principal chilli ingredients
Carefully browning beef
Carefully browning beef
Sliced onion and red chilli
Sliced onion and red chilli
Onion is added to browned beef
Onion is added to browned beef
Red chilli is added to beef and onion
Red chilli is added to beef and onion
Washing red kidney beans
Washing red kidney beans
Canned tomatoes are added to beef
Canned tomatoes are added to beef
Red kidney beans are added to chilli
Red kidney beans are added to chilli
Chilli is brought to a gentle simmer
Chilli is brought to a gentle simmer
  1. Put the beef in to a large pot and very gently heat. The fat in the beef should eliminate the need for any oil. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, turning the heat up slightly as the fat is released, until the beef is browned and sealed. This should only take two minutes or so.
  2. The onion should go in to the pot next for a further minutes' stirring - just until it is softened - before the chilli is added and stirred through.
  3. Wash the red kidney beans through a colander to remove any salt/preservatives and leave for a couple of minutes to drain.
  4. Pour the tomatoes in to the beef followed by the beans. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer for twenty minutes.

Instructions (Part 2)

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Broccoli is carefully cut in to small floretsRice is washed under running cold waterRice is added to boiling salted waterBroccoli is added to chilliBroccoli is carefully stir folded through chilliRice is throughly drainedChopped coriander is added to beef and broccoli chilliBeef and broccoli chilli is ready to serveRice bed for chilliTucking in to beef and broccoli chilli
Broccoli is carefully cut in to small florets
Broccoli is carefully cut in to small florets
Rice is washed under running cold water
Rice is washed under running cold water
Rice is added to boiling salted water
Rice is added to boiling salted water
Broccoli is added to chilli
Broccoli is added to chilli
Broccoli is carefully stir folded through chilli
Broccoli is carefully stir folded through chilli
Rice is throughly drained
Rice is throughly drained
Chopped coriander is added to beef and broccoli chilli
Chopped coriander is added to beef and broccoli chilli
Beef and broccoli chilli is ready to serve
Beef and broccoli chilli is ready to serve
Rice bed for chilli
Rice bed for chilli
Tucking in to beef and broccoli chilli
Tucking in to beef and broccoli chilli
  1. When the chilli has been simmering for about ten minutes, you should start to prepare the rice. Put a large pan of salted water on to reach a boil.
  2. Wash the rice thoroughly through a sieve under running cold water.
  3. Add the rice to the boiling water and simmer for ten minutes.
  4. When the chilli has been simmering for twenty minutes, add the broccoli and carefully stir/fold it through. Bring back to a simmer for five or six further minutes.
  5. Drain the rice and let it steam off for a couple of minutes.
  6. Plate the rice in the form of beds and spoon the chilli on top.

Griddled Chicken and Broccoli Skewers Pitta Bread Pockets

Griddled chicken strips and broccoli, pepper and red onion skewers fille pitta bread pocket
Griddled chicken strips and broccoli, pepper and red onion skewers fille pitta bread pocket

If you don't have a griddle pan, you could of course simply fry the chicken in an ordinary frying pan but there's no doubt this cast iron, ridged griddle makes for more attractive presentation. This would also be a great dish to prepare outdoors on the grill or barbecue in summer.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 10 min

Ready in: 20 min

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 4 medium sized broccoli florets
  • ½ yellow bell pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 2 pitta breads
  • Salad dressing of choice (blue cheese and garlic in this instance)
  • Chopped chives to garnish

Instructions (Part 1)

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Vegetables for broccoli skewersWooden skewersSoaking wooden skewers in cold waterVegetables prepared for skewersVegetables threaded on to skewersSeasoned rapeseed oil for vegetable skewersOiled and seasoned chicken breast strips
Vegetables for broccoli skewers
Vegetables for broccoli skewers
Wooden skewers
Wooden skewers
Soaking wooden skewers in cold water
Soaking wooden skewers in cold water
Vegetables prepared for skewers
Vegetables prepared for skewers
Vegetables threaded on to skewers
Vegetables threaded on to skewers
Seasoned rapeseed oil for vegetable skewers
Seasoned rapeseed oil for vegetable skewers
Oiled and seasoned chicken breast strips
Oiled and seasoned chicken breast strips

If you are using wooden skewers, your first step is to start them steeping in cold water for ten minutes. If you don't do this, they will char and potentially catch fire under the heat.

  1. Remove the seeds from the half pepper and trim before cutting in to six equal portions.
  2. Peel the onion and quarter, discarding the tougher pieces of the innermost core.
  3. Put your grill (broiler) on to preheat and your griddle pan on to a very high heat to become smoking hot.
  4. Carefully thread a piece of pepper on to the first skewer followed by an onion quarter, a broccoli floret, a second pepper piece, a second onion quarter, a second broccoli floret and a final piece of pepper. Take your time and ensure each piece is skewered right through the centre. Repeat with the second skewer.
  5. Slice each chicken breast fillet in to three equal pieces lengthwise. Put them in to a small dish and oil with the rapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper and turn the pieces around to evenly coat.
  6. Season some oil in a little bowl and use the brush to also oil each individual piece of vegetable. Be quite generous with the oil..

Instructions (Part 2)

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Broccoli skewers ready for grillingStarting to griddle chicken stripsChicken strips are turned in griddle panChicken strips are removed from griddle to restVegetables are slid from skewers on to plateHeated pitta bread is cut openStarting to fill pitta bread with chicken and vegetablesChciken and vegetables filled pitta bread
Broccoli skewers ready for grilling
Broccoli skewers ready for grilling
Starting to griddle chicken strips
Starting to griddle chicken strips
Chicken strips are turned in griddle pan
Chicken strips are turned in griddle pan
Chicken strips are removed from griddle to rest
Chicken strips are removed from griddle to rest
Vegetables are slid from skewers on to plate
Vegetables are slid from skewers on to plate
Heated pitta bread is cut open
Heated pitta bread is cut open
Starting to fill pitta bread with chicken and vegetables
Starting to fill pitta bread with chicken and vegetables
Chciken and vegetables filled pitta bread
Chciken and vegetables filled pitta bread
  1. It's not essential to cover the grilling tray with foil, it simply makes washing up easier. Lightly oil the foil (or the tray if not using foil) before laying on the skewers.
  2. Put the skewers under the grill. They will take about six to eight minutes and should be turned frequently.
  3. Lay the oiled chicken strips in the griddle pan and cook for two or three minutes each side until done.
  4. Lift the chicken strips to a plate to briefly rest.
  5. When the vegetables are ready, protect your hand with some kitchen paper or oven gloves and slide the vegetables carefully off on to a plate with a fork.
  6. Heat the pitta breads per the instructions on the pack. Cut each one open along one long side to form a pocket.
  7. Fill the pitta breads alternately with the chicken strips and vegetable pieces before drizzling with the dressing and scattering with the chopped chives.

Beef and Broccoli Burger with Fries

Beef and broccoli burger on a tiger roll with homemade fries
Beef and broccoli burger on a tiger roll with homemade fries

Homemade chips/fries were served with this burger but that is optional. You could use such as frozen ones if you wish to save on time. All instructions/times below therefore relate only to the burger element of the dish.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

Ready in: 30 min

Yields: Two servings

Ingredients

  • ½ pound minced/ground beef
  • 3 or 4 medium broccoli florets
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 soft bread rolls
  • 2 small handfuls of mixed fresh salad leaves
  • 4 teaspoons soured cream
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves to garnish

Instructions

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  1. Put the beef in to a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Moderately finely chop the broccoli florets but do leave large enough to get a bit of a crunch.
  3. Add the broccoli to the beef and use your hands to carefully combine everything together. Take a minute or so to ensure this is done properly.
  4. Pour some oil in to a frying pan and gently bring up to a medium heat.
  5. Divide the beef and broccoli mix in to two equal portions. Roll in to balls then flatten between your palms in to burger patties.
  6. Fry the patties very gently for around eight minutes on each side. Do make sure they are properly cooked.
  7. Cut the bread rolls open and divide the salad leaves between the bottom halves.
  8. Sit a burger on each salad bed, spoon on some soured cream and finish off with the herb leaves before closing the rolls over and serving with the fries.

Broccoli, Turkey and Sweet Potato Meatloaf

Moist and succulent broccoli, turkey and sweet potato meatloaf is served with pan roasted potatoes and sweet potato and broccoli stalk mash
Moist and succulent broccoli, turkey and sweet potato meatloaf is served with pan roasted potatoes and sweet potato and broccoli stalk mash

Meatloaf as a general concept is loved by many kids but this particular meatloaf recipe is a little bit different, not just for the fact that it contains broccoli. It contains a few other surprise ingredients as well but turned out incredibly moist, tender and delicious despite very much being a first time experiment.

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 1 hour 10 min

Ready in: 1 hour 40 min

Yields: 2 immediate servings, with meatloaf leftovers for sandwiches

Ingredients

  • Baby potatoes as required (if serving as accompaniment), roughly 8 to 10
  • ½ small white onion
  • 3 small closed cup mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed (or olive) oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium to large sweet potato
  • ½ head of broccoli
  • 1 broccoli stalk
  • ¾ pound minced/ground turkey
  • 12 to 14 slices standard bacon (US)/smoked streaky bacon (UK)
  • Little bit of unsalted butter for greasing loaf tin and for mashing sweet potato/broccoli stalk
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro

Instructions (Part 1)

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Onion, mushrooms and garlicFinely chopped, onion, mushrooms and garlicOnion, mushrooms, garlic and seasoning added to warmed rapeseed oilSweated onion and mushroom is left to cool slightlySweet potato and broccoli for meatloafSweet potato is peeled and choppedHalf sweet potato and broccoli stalk are set aside in cold waterPreparing to grate sweet potatoGrated sweet potatoExcess water has been squeezed from sweet potato
Onion, mushrooms and garlic
Onion, mushrooms and garlic
Finely chopped, onion, mushrooms and garlic
Finely chopped, onion, mushrooms and garlic
Onion, mushrooms, garlic and seasoning added to warmed rapeseed oil
Onion, mushrooms, garlic and seasoning added to warmed rapeseed oil
Sweated onion and mushroom is left to cool slightly
Sweated onion and mushroom is left to cool slightly
Sweet potato and broccoli for meatloaf
Sweet potato and broccoli for meatloaf
Sweet potato is peeled and chopped
Sweet potato is peeled and chopped
Half sweet potato and broccoli stalk are set aside in cold water
Half sweet potato and broccoli stalk are set aside in cold water
Preparing to grate sweet potato
Preparing to grate sweet potato
Grated sweet potato
Grated sweet potato
Excess water has been squeezed from sweet potato
Excess water has been squeezed from sweet potato
  1. Put the unpeeled potatoes in to a pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a simmer for about twenty-five minutes. Drain the potatoes, return them to the empty pot, cover and leave to cool.
  2. When the potatoes are on, finely chop the half onion, mushrooms and peeled garlic clove.
  3. Gently heat the oil in a small saucepan before adding the onion, mushrooms and garlic. Season with the dried sage, as well as some salt and pepper.
  4. Stir the combination over a low to medium heat for a couple of minutes until the onion is just softened. Turn off the heat and push the pan to a cool part of the hob to let the mix partly cool.
  5. Peel the sweet potato and chop in to four equal pieces. Set two pieces aside in a bowl or pot of cold water, along with the broccoli stalk.
  6. Grate the remaining pieces of sweet potato in to the centre of a clean tea towel. Squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can at your sink.

Instructions (Part 2)

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Turkey, sweet potato and onion/mushroom mix ready to be combinedBroccoli mini florets added to meatloaf mixBroccoli florets carefully squeezed in to meatloaf mixLightly buttered loaf tinbacon strips laid in buttered loaf tinmeatloaf mix is packed in to tinBacon strips laid on top of meatloaf mixBacon edges are folded over top of meatloafFoil is loosely fitted over meatloaf for bakingCooked meatloaf is briefly allowed to rest in tin
Turkey, sweet potato and onion/mushroom mix ready to be combined
Turkey, sweet potato and onion/mushroom mix ready to be combined
Broccoli mini florets added to meatloaf mix
Broccoli mini florets added to meatloaf mix
Broccoli florets carefully squeezed in to meatloaf mix
Broccoli florets carefully squeezed in to meatloaf mix
Lightly buttered loaf tin
Lightly buttered loaf tin
bacon strips laid in buttered loaf tin
bacon strips laid in buttered loaf tin
meatloaf mix is packed in to tin
meatloaf mix is packed in to tin
Bacon strips laid on top of meatloaf mix
Bacon strips laid on top of meatloaf mix
Bacon edges are folded over top of meatloaf
Bacon edges are folded over top of meatloaf
Foil is loosely fitted over meatloaf for baking
Foil is loosely fitted over meatloaf for baking
Cooked meatloaf is briefly allowed to rest in tin
Cooked meatloaf is briefly allowed to rest in tin
  1. Put your oven on to preheat to 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Add the turkey meat, grated sweet potato and onion and mushroom combination to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Use your hands to very thoroughly mix everything together before adding the broccoli. Carefully combine the broccoli in to the mix so as not to damge the mini florets.
  4. Grease the loaf tin with butter before laying in some bacon strips across the way, slightly overlapping. Check the photos above for full details. The edges of the bacon strips should be hanging above each long side of the tin.
  5. Tip the meatloaf meat in to the tin and smooth out/flatten with your hand.
  6. Lay another three or four strips of bacon lengthways on top of the meat mix and fold over the bacon edges from both sides.
  7. Cover the tin with tinfoil (shiny side innermost) and bake for fifty minutes.
  8. Take the meatloaf from the oven, carefully remove the foil and let it sit for five minutes.

Instructions (Part 3)

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Sweet potato and broccoli stalk is put on to boilBroccoli, turkey and sweet potato meatloaf is lifted to wire rackmeatloaf is turned right way upCooked and cooled potatoes are carefully peeled for pan roastingPan roasting potatoesPan roasted potatoes are drained on kitchen paperStarting to slice rested meatloafPreparing to mash sweet potato and broccoli stalkCoriander is added to sweet potato and broccoli stalk mashMeatloaf slices are plated
Sweet potato and broccoli stalk is put on to boil
Sweet potato and broccoli stalk is put on to boil
Broccoli, turkey and sweet potato meatloaf is lifted to wire rack
Broccoli, turkey and sweet potato meatloaf is lifted to wire rack
meatloaf is turned right way up
meatloaf is turned right way up
Cooked and cooled potatoes are carefully peeled for pan roasting
Cooked and cooled potatoes are carefully peeled for pan roasting
Pan roasting potatoes
Pan roasting potatoes
Pan roasted potatoes are drained on kitchen paper
Pan roasted potatoes are drained on kitchen paper
Starting to slice rested meatloaf
Starting to slice rested meatloaf
Preparing to mash sweet potato and broccoli stalk
Preparing to mash sweet potato and broccoli stalk
Coriander is added to sweet potato and broccoli stalk mash
Coriander is added to sweet potato and broccoli stalk mash
Meatloaf slices are plated
Meatloaf slices are plated
  1. Roughly chop the remaining sweet potato. Scrape and chop the broccoli stalk. Add to a pot of cold, salted water and bring to a simmer for about fifteen to twenty minutes until softened.
  2. You will find that the meatloaf has shrunk slightly during cooking and that there is a fair amount of liquid fat in the tin. This will of course be hot so care is required to get the meatloaf out of the tin and on to a wire rack to rest.
  3. There are several ways to do this but I like to use simply two ordinary forks. Coming about a quarter of the way in from each edge, stick the forks deep in to the meatloaf at a forty-five degree angle towards the centre. The angle is essential to give you lifting purchase. Simply but carefully lift the meatloaf out of the tin and on to the rack. Carefully turn it over that the bacon folds are on the underside and leave for about fifteen minutes to rest and partly cool.
  4. Peel the skins from the cooled potatoes and bring a deep pan of oil (or your deep fryer) up to a fairly high heat. Deep fry the potatoes for five or six minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Drain the sweet potato and broccoli stalk. Return to the pot and allow to steam off for a few minutes before mashing with a little butter, salt and pepper. Stir through the chopped coriander/cilantro.
  6. Lift the meatloaf to a chopping board and carefully slice before assembling the various components on a plate to serve.

Homemade Chicken and Broccoli Pizza

Pizza made from scratch topped with chicken thigh meat and broccoli
Pizza made from scratch topped with chicken thigh meat and broccoli

Of all the many ways there are to get kids to eat anything, adding it to a pizza topping may represent one of the most surefire methods of all. This recipe also allows kids to get involved kneading the dough and assembling the toppings. It's virtually endless versatility is another huge plus.

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour 15 min (includes dough resting time)

Cook Time: 15 min

Ready in: 1 hour 30 min

Yields: 2 to 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 6 ounces plain/all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 fluid ounces (half cup) lukewarm water
  • 1 full portion of pizza tomato sauce (see recipe further up page for broccoli fritters and dip)
  • 2 or 3 florets of broccoli
  • Handful of grated/shredded cheddar (or similar) cheese

Instructions (Part 1)

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Fresh chicken thighsYeast and salt is added to flourWater and oil are added to flour and yeastPizza dough ready to be kneadedKneaded pizza dough is left to riseRoasted chicken thighs are left to rest and coolMeat is plucked from roast chicken thighsRisen pizza doughRolling out pizza doughPizza dough is fitted in to greased tin
Fresh chicken thighs
Fresh chicken thighs
Yeast and salt is added to flour
Yeast and salt is added to flour
Water and oil are added to flour and yeast
Water and oil are added to flour and yeast
Pizza dough ready to be kneaded
Pizza dough ready to be kneaded
Kneaded pizza dough is left to rise
Kneaded pizza dough is left to rise
Roasted chicken thighs are left to rest and cool
Roasted chicken thighs are left to rest and cool
Meat is plucked from roast chicken thighs
Meat is plucked from roast chicken thighs
Risen pizza dough
Risen pizza dough
Rolling out pizza dough
Rolling out pizza dough
Pizza dough is fitted in to greased tin
Pizza dough is fitted in to greased tin
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F/200C/Gas mark 6.
  2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and lay them skin sides up on a lightly oiled roasting tray. Roast for about twenty-five minutes until just cooked. Remove to a plate, cover and leave to cool.
  3. When the chicken thighs are on to roast, combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the water and oil. Mix with your hands to form a dough.
  5. Lightly flour a clean, dry surface and knead the dough with the heel of your hand for about five or six minutes.
  6. OIl a large bowl and sit the dough in it. Cover and leave to rest and rise in a warm place for one hour. This is the time when you should start making your tomato sauce.
  7. After an hour, the dough should have risen to about twice its former size. Get your oven on to preheat to 450F/230C/Gas Mark 9.
  8. Flour the surface again again and knock all the air out of the dough until it is again about the same size as it was when first prepared.
  9. Lightly oil a ten inch pizza tin.
  10. Roll out the dough roughly with a rolling pin until it is almost the size of the tin. Lift in to the tin and ease the dough outwards from the centre until it evenly fills the tin.

Instructions (Part 2)

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Tomato sauce is spooned on to pizza doughTomato sauce is smoothed over pizza doughBroccoli is roughly and evenly choppedBroccoli is arranged on pizzaChicken meat is arranged between pieces of broccoliCheddar cheese is scattered over pizzaPizza is removed from ovenPizza is transferred to a chopping board and cut for service
Tomato sauce is spooned on to pizza dough
Tomato sauce is spooned on to pizza dough
Tomato sauce is smoothed over pizza dough
Tomato sauce is smoothed over pizza dough
Broccoli is roughly and evenly chopped
Broccoli is roughly and evenly chopped
Broccoli is arranged on pizza
Broccoli is arranged on pizza
Chicken meat is arranged between pieces of broccoli
Chicken meat is arranged between pieces of broccoli
Cheddar cheese is scattered over pizza
Cheddar cheese is scattered over pizza
Pizza is removed from oven
Pizza is removed from oven
Pizza is transferred to a chopping board and cut for service
Pizza is transferred to a chopping board and cut for service
  1. Spoon the tomato sauce in to the centre of the pizza dough and swirl it outwards with the back of a spoon until it almost but not quite covers the whole. Leave a small border around the edges to form as a crust.
  2. Chop the broccoli florets to smallish, evenly sized pieces and arrange at regular intervals on top of the sauce.
  3. Discard the skin from the chicken thighs and pull the meat off in small bite sized pieces. The pieces can then be added to the pizza.
  4. Scatter the cheese evenly over the top of the pizza and put it in to the oven for fifteen minutes.
  5. Remove the pizza from the oven, let it cool slightly and lift to a wooden board with a spatula to slice.

More by this Author


29 comments

Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 17 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Love the bacon, onion and garlic idea, jcsteele. I'll give that a go. Thanks.


jcsteele profile image

jcsteele 17 months ago from Florida

Very good recipes for kids. I usually saute my broccoli with some bacon, onion, and garlic.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Thanks Gordon. You're welcome. I'll let you know if i ever do find it and try it.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 20 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

You're welcome, Kristen and thanks. Good luck in finding rapeseed oil.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

You're welcome Gordon. I'll look forward to your cauliflower hub. If rapeseed oil is available in US markets, I would give it a try instead of my olive or vegetable oil I use for frying foods. Thanks for the tip.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 20 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, Kristen and thank you. I love both broccoli and cauliflower. Intend doing a similar page on cauliflower at some future time. Rapeseed oil is something I only came across fairly recently. It is a much healthier choice than most similar oils, especially when cooking.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great recipes, Gordon. I love broccoli and never liked cauliflower. I never heard of rapeseed oil. Voted up!


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 20 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks, Nell! :) Your son seems to have been the opposite of me - I point blank refused to eat vegetables when a child but now I love (most) of them.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 20 months ago from England

Great advice and wonderful photos to go along with it too! my son tended to eat what was put in front of him, but these days he has grown up and grown out of veg! lol! great hub!


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 21 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Yes, bribery is always a very effective fall back option, RTalloni :) I'm glad you like these alternative suggestions, however, and hope you get a chance to try some of them out. Thanks for visiting.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 21 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks very much, randomcreative. I'm glad you like the ideas and yes, they could be applied to many different types of vegetables as well as broccoli.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 21 months ago from the short journey

These are great answers to the question and I'm looking forward to taking a closer look at some of these recipes. If all else fails, though, the answer to the question might be bribery. The right kind can do wonders, and after all, who works without pay? :)


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 21 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you pstraubie and I'm glad the ideas may prove useful to you. They are of course perfect for all age groups and not just kids :)


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 21 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks very much, melissae1963. I tried to get the recipes to appeal to not only different tastes but age groups so it's good to hear positive feedback in that respect.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 21 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

That must be challenging, mysweetlittle6, coping with their different tastes. Thanks and I hope there's something here that you may persuade your son to eat.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 21 months ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Fabulous as always! I love that you've presented such a wide range of options for cooking broccoli. This is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about cooking vegetables, whether or not they're cooking for kids.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 21 months ago from sunny Florida

You are right...sometimes kidoes do not like broccoli. I am not a huge fan of it either unless it is cooked just right or made into a delightful salad. I will have to give some of your suggestions a try for ME.

Thanks for sharing

Angels are on the way this morning ps


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 21 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you, moslimadelange. I hope the pizza idea works for your son and he learns to appreciate broccoli :)


melissae1963 profile image

melissae1963 21 months ago from Tennessee, United States

This is a super useful article. The photos complement the Text very well. The recipes are varied and appeal to many different tastes. Voted up and useful.


mysweetlittle6 profile image

mysweetlittle6 21 months ago from United States

My daughter LOVES broccoli. But my son, sometimes it's hard to get him to eat anything healthy. He is defiantly a picky toddler. Great recipes! Thanks for the ideas.


moslimadelange 21 months ago from South Africa

These veggie recipes is really helpful. My son refuse to eat his veggies, so I am definitely trying the broccoli Pizza Idea.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 21 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you tlcs and I hope you enjoy the ideas. Yes, cheese sauce is something I love as well and I don't know why more people don't add it to broccoli as well as the more popular cauliflower.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 21 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

The smoothie idea sounds good, Dressage Husband. I remember I used to drink broccoli juice. Thanks for visiting and commenting.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 21 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you, Jimmy. Yes, this one took a bit of time but it also kept me fed in the process. The meat loaf I was especially happy with as it genuinely was a first time experiment. Enjoy!


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 21 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks, Marcy. Yes, there is I suppose a certain psychology involved in the process. You were certainly lucky to have had such access to fresh vegetables growing up. I was the same to a certain extent as the house I grew up in had a huge garden and my Dad grew lots of different types of fruits and vegetables. That's tragic re the instant mash but glad your own children had a better experience.


tlcs profile image

tlcs 21 months ago from Hampshire, UK

I love all of your ideas and suggestions for uses of broccoli and I will definitely give some ago. My children were encouraged to eat broccoli by simply adding a cheese sauce, it worked a treat back in the day!


Dressage Husband profile image

Dressage Husband 21 months ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

Broccoli is one of those overlooked vegetables that are extremely beneficial. You could also use it raw as an ingredient in a green smoothie, where it can replace the spinach or kale.

I found this interesting and useful and added my up seal too!


Ghaelach 21 months ago

Afternoon Gordon.

Now this is what I would call a great food hub.

You have certainly put a lot of work into this one. They all look so good, but I'll be trying the meat loaf and the pizza.

I'm off to make a sandwich.

Jimmy..................................aka Ghaelach


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 21 months ago from Planet Earth

Gordon - Good tips here! Yes - sneak it into things they like to eat!

I always find it sad when kids aren't exposed to good vegetables at a young age. I was very lucky when growing up - we always had fresh produce (grew up on a produce farm - guess that explains it). There were a few veggies we didn't have, due to not growing well in our area or not being as marketable in certain years, but we learned naturally to just eat the green stuff - it was always GOOD!

I had a friend whose son not only wouldn't eat broccoli, but would not eat real mashed potatoes. I babysat him one day, and made creamy & perfect mashed potatoes. He wouldn't eat them - had only had the instant version.

Both of my kids grew up eating all veggies - they love almost all of them - each has just one veggie they don't like (one is peas - can't recall the other). I figure they're entitled to those preferences, since they were always so good about trying things.

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