I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm president of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.
~George H. W. Bush
When George Bush Sr. declared that he didn’t like broccoli and, as president, wouldn’t eat it any more, his sentiments were broadly shared. And to tell the truth, I’ve eaten broccoli—when I had to—because I knew I ought to, not because I wanted to.
That’s why I was curious to read about broccoli’s botanical relatives in the article “Broccoli and Beyond” in the June 2008 Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter. I found a couple of cousins and other distant relatives of broccoli and wanted to share them with you.
Broccoflower is a trademarked hybrid between broccoli and cauliflower. If you love cauliflower, this vegetable can be an appealing dish. If, however, you don’t like either vegetable, you’d best go to the next option.
Broccolini is a tall, skinny hybrid of Chinese kale and broccoli. It is prepared like asparagus, which raises the obvious question—why not just fix asparagus?
Broccoli rabe is a distant cousin of broccoli and tastes nutty and bitter. Its virtue resides in its nutrients—one cup provides more than the recommended daily allowance of vitamins A and C. Even so, now that I think about it, I’m not sure this option is better than traditional broccoli.
Purple broccoli consists of purple florets that taste like broccoli. The purple florets turn green when cooked. Evidently, it’s not easy being green.
Romanesco broccoli is difficult to describe. Textured like cauliflower, the vegetable combines the flavors of green beans, cauliflower and sweet corn. A better name for this vegetable might be broccoli succotash.
Even if you share George Bush’s aversion to broccoli, hopefully you can find a way to eat—and enjoy—the broccoli your mother insisted you eat with these five options. If you decide to experiment, let me know what you think.