Try This Broccoli Strawberry Orzo Salad
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious and versatile green vegetables in the United States, gaining in popularity over recent years because of its health benefits. For starters, it is high in phytochemicals (compounds produced by plants) such as beta-carotene which have antioxidant effects beneficial to good health. It is a low-calorie (about 25 calories per ½ cup cooked), non-starchy vegetable that has practically no fat, is low in sodium and cholesterol free. Broccoli is high in vitamin C and folate (vitamin B-9) and is a good source of fiber and potassium.
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is a cool-weather crop with a Florida growing season of January through March. It is part of the crucifer family which also includes Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale and kohlrabi.
Fresh broccoli should have firm, bluish-green florets and stalk. Both the florets and stalk can be eaten raw or cooked. Store in the refrigerator in a closed container or plastic bag and use within 3 to 5 days. Make sure to wash before eating to remove any surface residue. Rinse under cool running tap water. Soaking is not recommended because the broccoli will lose water-soluble vitamins. Cut the florets into similar size pieces and trim, peel and slice the stalk. Broccoli is a delicate vegetable and will get mushy if overcooked as well as develop a strong sulfur odor and lose water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C. The best methods for cooking are steaming and boiling for 3 to 4 minutes in a small amount of water. When cooked, it should be tender-crisp and light green. Broccoli goes well in stir fry, hot and cold salads, pasta blends, side dishes and served plain raw or cooked with a healthy dip such as hummus or seasoned Greek yogurt. Freezing is the best method to preserve broccoli.
Broccoli Strawberry Orzo Salad
¾ cup orzo pasta (uncooked)
2 cups fresh chopped broccoli
2 cups fresh sliced strawberries
¼ cup sunflower seeds
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)
1. Cook orzo as directed on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. In a large mixing bowl gently mix together orzo, broccoli, strawberries and sunflower seeds.
4. Drizzle with lemon poppy seed dressing and toss to coat.
5. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Refrigerate until time to serve.
Yield: 6 servings
Nutrition Information: One cup serving
153 calories; 8 grams fat; 4 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrate; 3 grams fiber; 31 milligrams sodium; 243 milligrams potassium; 60 milligrams vitamin C
Recipe and Image Source: USDA What’s Cooking Mixing Bowl