Recipe For Health
by Jill Yarbrough, Dining Services Test Kitchen Manager
Featured Food: Broccoli Yield: 6-8 ServingsLearn more about Broccoli


  • 3 c. fresh broccoli florets
  • ¼ c. diced onion
  • ¼ c. diced celery
  • 4 T. butter
  • 4 T. flour
  • 1 ½ T. vegetable base or chicken base
  • 4 ½ c. 2% milk
  • ⅛ t. ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Wash and cut broccoli florets into bite size pieces. Sauté onion and celery in butter. Add flour and whisk together to make a roux. Allow to cook for five minutes. Stir in vegetable or chicken base. Slowly whisk in milk, stirring constantly until smooth. bring to a low boil while still mixing. As thickening occur, turn heat down. Add nutmeg and then broccoli. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed. If soup is too thick, add more milk and slowly continue to heat. 

Learn More About Broccoli

Although ever-present at the supermarket, broccoli does have a growing season. Broccoli is a cole crop, a cool-season vegetable from the Brassica family. Michigan-grown broccoli is harvested in late summer through October.

A broccoli head is actually a cluster of flower buds. Look for broccoli with tight, compact bud clusters that are dark green; a blue or purple cast to the head is fine. Broccoli heads with open florets or yellow clusters is over-the-hill. Store broccoli in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week, washing just before use.

How to get kids to eat broccoli (eventually):

Step 1: Trim about 1-inch from the bottom of the stem and discard. Remove the remainder of the stem and set aside. Cut the broccoli into large florets with short pieces of the stem attached. All the pieces should be similar size. Peel the stems and cut to similar thickness as the floret pieces.

Step 2: Place the broccoli in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover, and steam for 3 minutes. Lift the lid and remove stems and florets you want to serve cold. Put these in ice water until chilled, then drain and store covered in the refrigerator*.

Step 3: Partially covered (to allow the strong-tasting sulfur compounds to escape), continue to steam the rest of the broccoli for another 5 to 8 minutes. It is done when bright green and tender-firm—a sharp knife can slide easily into the stems.

Step 4: Remove to a serving dish, season with salt and pepper to taste; drizzle with butter and/or lemon juice.

Step 5: Place the serving dish on the table and offer without pressure. This is the most difficult step but the most important to success. Just sit back and enjoy your broccoli.

*As part of another meal or snack, serve chilled broccoli sticks or florets with a favorite dip.

Peggy Crum MA, RD

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