January 19th, 2012

4 Ways to Cook Broccoli So Your Kids Will Eat It

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Groovy Green Livin Broccoli

Broccoli is one of those veggies that’s either hit or miss with most kids (some adults too). Just mentioning broccoli can make the cutest child crinkle up their nose and say “ewww”.  My kids are in the “we like broccoli” camp. No crinkled noses. Steamed is their prep of choice, which gets a wee bit boring after a while (but I’ll take it).

Broccoli is a super food, with a laundry list of super powers. Here are a few of the many:

  • Cancer fighting:  Broccoli is rich in compounds called isothiocyanates, or ITCs. These compounds destroy the cancerous genes, but leave the healthy proteins alone so they can continue to stop tumors from growing.
  • Immune boosting: One cup of broccoli fuels the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene and multiple trace minerals.
  • Diet aid: Broccoli is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating

How to get them to eat it

If you have one (or two or three) of those kids that squirm at the mere mention of broccoli here are four creative ways to add it to your menu in a kid-friendly way.


roasted organic broccoli

This is my favorite way to make broccoli. Cut the stalk and florets into bite sized pieces. Place them in a glass, ceramic or stainless steel pan; add a little olive oil, salt and mix. Roast in the oven on 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until the broccoli is slightly brown (careful not to burn).

Broccoli Pizza

broccoli pizza

A few times each month we make our own pizza. My kids love to roll out the dough, add some sauce, sprinkle the cheese and watch their creation turn into dinner.  Most kids love to be active participants in the cooking process. If I’m feeling very ambitious I’ll make the dough from scratch, making sure it’s filled with whole, organic grains. I’ve also been known to use Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods pre-made dough to help with an easy, quick meal.  I place bowls of various pizza toppings on the table for the kids to pick and choose from. I’m always amazed that the bowl of broccoli is one of the first items to go. My guess-their pizza looks pretty with all the different colors. Whatever the reason-broccoli pizza is a big hit.

Broccoli Tacos

Broccoli taco

I almost heard a collective “ewww” when you reached this suggestion. The broccoli taco works in our house. I use the same concept as the pizza above. Bowls of cheese, beans, rice, salsa, broccoli and turkey taco meat are put out on the table. The kids create their own taco in the shell. This is by far my kid’s favorite meal.

Add broccoli to something they already like

Mac n Cheese

Adding broccoli to something your child already likes is an easy way to introduce a new food. If your child likes mac n cheese add some broccoli to it. Make sure you cook the broccoli before adding and I would only use the florets for this. Another easy place to add broccoli is in pasta sauce.

Remember to always use organic broccoli when you can!

Do your kids like broccoli? Do you?

[Photos used under Creative Commons license from Keith McDuffee, Like the Grand Canyon, Little Blue Hen, D.Sharon Pruitt/Flickr]

34 Responses to “4 Ways to Cook Broccoli So Your Kids Will Eat It”

  1. I love broccoli. My kids can take it or leave it but they don’t fight me too much when I serve it. My fav way to make broccoli is to saute it in butter with onions and garlic. Oh so yummy! In fact, I’m working on a blog post featuring this very recipe! 🙂

  2. Great ideas! Luckily, Baby loves broccoli, but I’d like to try roasting it as you suggested.

  3. My kids love broccoli, fortunately. Plain, steamed. Boring, but fine with me! I have found that making a small dipping bowl of sesame oil and soy sauce (if you don’t stir it, the formation is lovely, concentric ring of oil around soy sauce) can help kids to eat veggies they may otherwise refuse to eat.

  4. I love roasted broccoli. I can usually get the kids to eat it. They do like it steamed. I bet they would like it on pizza too. I keep meaning to have a make your own pizza night.

  5. I was another broccoli loving kid — steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes were my favorite plateful of food to sculpt into landscapes. My mother was lenient about such things. 🙂

    I put broccoli into everything — chopped up small and sauteed with mushrooms for scrambled eggs, soup, macaroni salad, vegetable stir-fry. It would never have occurred to me that broccoli tacos might be considered gross. Now brussels sprouts…those were a much tougher sell, and I’ve only recently learned to like them.

  6. My husband and I love broccoli, but the kids have been pretty tough with it. It’s on the menu for tonight, so I think I’ll try your roasted recipe – but offer a little cheese just in case 🙂

  7. This.is.awesome. My farmer just announced that broccoli was coming ripe this next week! I totally pinning this for the pizza and the tacos! Thank you so much for this timely post:)

  8. Mmm… you’re making me hungry for broccoli! I love broccoli on pizza (so great that you make it at home and involve your boys in the preparation), and I add broccoli to stir-fries because it holds up well to high heat and tastes great with soy sauce.

  9. Great suggestions! Good reminder that make-your-own night has a strong appeal for kids.

  10. Thanks Betsy! My kids love any chance to cook or help. Sometimes our kitchen looks like a complete disaster-like last night when we make cupcakes-but it’s so worth it. If they participate they are so much more invested in the meal.

  11. Stir fry! That’s a great addition Andrea. I love it, but my picky middle guy won’t touch it. Oh well. I’ll have to make it for myself.

  12. Julia-my kids love it steamed too. I love your idea of a dipping sauce. It might help me eat plain, boring, steamed broccoli!

  13. Hi Michelle-will your kids eat broccoli with onions and garlic?? I’m impressed. I would eat it prepared that way, but my kids would run!

  14. p.s. Michelle, please share your post and recipe!

  15. So great that your baby likes broccoli Charise. Hopefully that will continue ….Roasting is delicious. Let me know what you think.

  16. Hi Marsha-make your own pizza night is a blast! I’m sure your kids would love it. Sometimes we make individual pizzas. That way they can each choose what they want on top.

  17. Ha! Jennifer, I’m envisioning you sculpting your mashed potatoes and broccoli into gorgeous sculptures! Broccoli in scrambled eggs is a great idea. I wonder if my guys would eat it?? Brussels sprouts are my number one veggie. I cut them in half, add olive oil and a little sea salt and roast. My kids won’t go near them.

  18. Hi Amity,

    Cheese makes everything taste good (according to my kids). Wondering how it went over? Did your kids give it a try?

  19. Thanks so much Andrea! I’m jealous that broccoli is still growing in your neck of the woods! Enjoy the pizza and tacos.

  20. Broccoli on pizza..yum! 🙂

  21. We love broccoli in our house but … you’ve offered some great suggestions that I’m definitely going to try. The taco looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  22. Hi from the Meet and Greet! We LOVE brocolli, but one of our favourite ways for kiddos is to puree it with butter; then it turns into a creamy, fun green ‘paste’ which goes down a treat. Another favourite is broccoli and feta cheese soup. Yum!

  23. You are so welcome! You’ll have to let me know which recipes are a hit with the kids!

  24. Thanks for the suggestions Mrs. Green! I say whatever works to get the broccoli down!

  25. Joe and I love broccoli…B on the other hand seems to hate anything green. I try to hide it but he picks it out and hands it back to me. Hopefully it is just a phase!

  26. That’s hilarious Jen. Have you encouraged B to help make the food? Sometimes if kids help with the cooking they are more likely to eat the end product without handing the green stuff back to you!

  27. We haven’t gotten him to help yet but that is a good idea. Maybe I will try it this weekend.

  28. Hi Jen, I’m curious to hear how it goes in the kitchen! Brace yourself-it could get messy.

  29. Thanks Lori for sharing this with us on Seasonal Celebration! Those broccoli tacos look gorgeous! If you want an email reminder each week click here http://eepurl.com/i-8pr
Rebecca x

  30. Thanks so much for sharing Rebecca! The tacos are delicious.

  31. […] my all-time favorite spices. I add it to almost everything from pizza to roasted vegetables and broccoli. Not only does garlic add exceptional flavor to food, it also has several other super powers. Here […]

  32. […] my all-time favorite spices. I add it to almost everything from pizza to roasted vegetables and broccoli. Not only does garlic add exceptional flavor to food, it also has several other super […]

  33. […] is one of those foods my kids will eat without any complaints. This superfood is not only chock full of needed nutrients, but it also […]

  34. […] is a family favorite. It’s one of the only vegetables that all three of my kids will eat. Broccoli is a superfood, with a laundry list of super powers. One cup of broccoli fuels the […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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