Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oven Roasted Broccoli

If you've been reading this blog for longer than a year, you may recall that I abstain from alcohol every January. This is my third year, inspired by my honey who's been doing it every January for many years. I haven't found it very hard to do this time around because frankly, I waaaaaay over-indulged in December and by the time the holidays had passed, I was more than ready for a break. This year however, we threw another challenge into the mix. We are dieting!!! I have never successfully dieted in my life. Truth be told, I never needed to until I found myself in my late thirties with pants that mysteriously started shrinking!!! So I tried the Fat Flush Diet for about a week, and found myself feeling constantly bloated and grossed out from eating like five servings of meat per day. I got discouraged and gave up and bought bigger pants. And what's worse, I had stomach problems for a long time to come after that.

Fast-forward a couple of years to the end of this last December, and let's just say that by this point, it wasn't just my ill-fitting pants. I just felt icky. So not only was I ready to stop chugging the wine, I found myself ready to go on a diet.

And here we are, a little over two weeks later, and it's been challenging, but I'm starting to feel pretty good! I'll admit I've been fighting the occasional craving for a gigantic bowl of chocolate ice cream, but in general, I'm not feeling terribly deprived. I'm not really following a diet plan per se, just not eating anything fried or cheesy, and eating tons of vegetables, small amounts of lean protein, and a small amount of carbs. And I'm walking every day and have just started doing yoga twice a week. My obsessive tendencies are working to my advantage, for now at least, but of course the real challenge will be to keep up the healthy habits once January is over!

All of this is a long way of getting to the point of telling you about my new favorite food: Oven Roasted Broccoli!! It's perfect diet food, and just plain healthy - but more than that, it is UTTERLY DELICIOUS!!! It does use a small amount of olive oil so if you're looking for fat-free, I can't help you. But if you want another way to love broccoli, read on. Hell, if you don't even LIKE broccoli, you might try this, because it just might make a believer out of you.

I didn't come up with this idea - I'm sure it exists in some cookbook out there, and that you can find recipes for it on several different blogs, but here is my take on it.

Pre-heat the oven to 425. Take one large head of broccoli. Clean it and use a vegetable peeler to peel off the harder outer part of the stems. Chop it all into bite-sized pieces, and dry it well. Put it into a bowl and toss with a little salt, a light coating of olive oil, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper, about a half a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and several cloves of minced garlic. Spread the broccoli onto a baking sheet and place into the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is starting to brown and caramelize. Remove from the oven and stir a little lemon zest into it. The end result will be part tender, a little crisp, both savory and a little sweet, and entirely delicious.

I'm sure that as I keep making it, I'll be playing with the spices. In fact I think it'd even be good with no spices at all. And once the dieting days are over, I'll look forward to topping it with parmesan. But for now, I'm perfectly happy to inhale a whole tray of this stuff just like this. Whatever gets you through the diet, eh??


Lisa Mc said...

I'll try it. I didn't know broccoli could take that intense oven heat. Do you think asparagus could manage as well? By the time it's in season, no one wants to turn on the oven, I guess. Oven-roasted beets are my favorite. Like candy.

I got Carol Lay's "The Big Skinny" at the library and it was a helpful read. A memoir of her life of dieting and how she ended up successfully getting her weight down doing the same thing you're doing right now.

Soup and Song said...

Hi Lisa!
I haven't tried asparagus this way, although I have pan-roasted it at high heat and had great results. Thanks for the tip about the book by Carol Lay - I'll check it out!

Emily said...

Keep it up Val.

Shutcha said...

Mmmm. Sounds delish! I'll try it. Never thought of roasting broccoli...