You know about rice and you probably know about riced cauliflower, but have you ever heard of riced broccoli? No? Well, that’s about to change. We live in the 21st century, and one of the features of this century is that people just don’t have as much time as did our ancestors.
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From working to pursuing careers to raising kids…it is all an endless madness and sometimes, one might even forget to eat. Or worse still, one might have to eat junk food. Riced broccoli is one of those new things available in the market that lets you eat, eat healthily, and eat fast.
This is actually the tasty fat-free cousin to riced cauliflower. And while it tastes equally great, it is actually cheaper than riced cauliflower. One of the best riced broccoli options out there on the market is riced broccoli Trader Joe’s. It’s just perfect for saving time and is a real great lifesaver. Enough preamble, now—shall we get into it?
What is Riced Broccoli?
Broccoli is not a stranger to anyone. It’s that little green bushy head with a stem your child normally picks out of Chinese takeout and throws under the sofa while you aren’t looking. Granted, it’s not typically anyone’s favorite vegetable except for a few people, but I assure you, in its rice form that’s going to change.
Riced broccoli is broccoli that has been processed to very thin, crisp, rice-like grains with fine texture that resemble those of normal cooked rice. And not only does it resemble normal rice, but it can also be substituted for rice in some recipes.
And the taste? Ooh-la-la!
Riced broccoli is made from the florets and stems of broccoli, but be sure to peel the stems first, a fairly easy step to do. Some people even go a step further by ricing the stalks, meaning that the florets, stems, and stalks could all be riced, right here from your kitchen.
I usually buy my riced broccoli from Trader Joe’s because it’s not expensive and I don’t always have the time to make it myself—I’m trying to save time, not spend time, people—but you can make a homemade version as well. It’s not hard at all. Just place a head of broccoli in your food processor (or blender) and blend it until it is the texture and size of rice grains. If there’s no food processor available, you could blend it up with the box grater or use a chef’s knife to mince it.
Remember it has to look like rice. Or better still, do as I do and just drop by Trader Joe’s on your way back from work and pick up a bag of this riced veggie. It works great anyway. You can usually find it in the produce section.
Riced broccoli makes a great side dish or a meal on its own. You can use chicken or turkey to amp it up, it can be made into a salad, or you can add pepper, salt, and butter as much as you would like to help the taste (it is broccoli, after all). You can use it in burritos, fried rice, casseroles, and rice salads. It’s especially great if you’re not watching what you eat per se, but just want some greens in your diet.
And you know the best thing about it? The kids love it! Apparently, ‘green rice’ is awesome.
If you have excess and don’t want to throw it out, you could just place it in a Ziploc bag and keep it in your freezer. Freezing riced broccoli has no effect on it and is quite safe as well. A great advantage this boxed riced broccoli has over your brown, white or converted rice is that it cooks much faster.
Now let’s consider some of the nutritional benefits of broccoli. Riced broccoli will have the same nutritional value as broccoli because, you know, it is broccoli. Broccoli is considered a cruciferous vegetable, and along with cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, it belongs to the family Brassicaceae. Its botanical name is Brassica oleracea. Broccoli is rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B3, iron, potassium, folate, calcium, selenium, and antioxidants like lutein, beta carotene, and zeaxanthin.
Raw broccoli contains 90% water, 7% carbs, 3% proteins, and no fat. You heard right. I said no fat. Even the United States Department of Agriculture (the USDA) agrees that it is packed with a ton of nutrients, and though it doesn’t contain all the nutritional supplements you will need, it sure gives you a great chunk of them, don’t you agree?
Okay, let’s get back on track. We’ve seen the nutritional value of broccoli, now let’s talk about some actual recipes that you can use riced broccoli in. My favorite is riced broccoli casserole and of course, the riced broccoli I used was Trader Joe’s which is not full of woody stems like some are.
This riced veggie can be boiled (steamed) or sautéed and used as a substitute for rice in any rice recipe. And there are a few people who successfully have used riced broccoli as a substitute for bread when making cheesy breadsticks.
Riced Broccoli – Trader Joe’s Recipe
This recipe is for riced broccoli casserole which is really delicious, especially if you are using a good quality riced broccoli—one that doesn’t have hard, woody stems.
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup of chopped celery
- ½ pound of assorted veggies, carrots, peas, all finely chopped and thawed
- 1 tablespoon butter.
- 1 jar (8 ounces) of processed cheese sauce (you can make the cheese sauce yourself)
- 1 can (5 ounces) of condensed cream of undiluted mushroom soup
- 1 can (5 ounces) of evaporated milk
- 3 cups of riced broccoli
- In a large skillet, sauté the onion, celery and assorted veggies in butter for 3 to 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Stir in the cheese sauce, the mushroom soup, and the evaporated milk until smooth.
- Place the rice in a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Pour the cheese mixture over rice but do not stir. Bake it while uncovered at 325°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until it bubbles.
- You can serve with steamed veggies, and enjoy.
Tip: If you intend on making your own riced broccoli, do not forget to peel off the outer layer of the stem, lest you end up with hard riced stems.
Other Riced Broccoli Recipes
So I’m going to share with you a few other recipes you can make with Trader Joe’s riced broccoli. I hope you enjoy them.
- Keto Cheesy Broccoli and Cauliflower Rice. Say goodbye to pre-packaged, pre-seasoned rice packets. This keto version is just as quick to make (13 minutes!) and might even be healthier thanks to the cheddar and mascarpone cheeses, but the real prize is in the ingredients and garnishes—loads and loads of fiber.
- Raw Broccoli Salad. Broccoli florets can be tough to eat raw, but when grated in a food processor into rice, they become a crunchy base for the creaminess of chickpeas (or a substitute) and avocado dressing. This salad takes all of 10 minutes to whip up, but when it comes to nutrition and taste, it doesn’t cut any corners.
- Thai Broccoli Rice With Stir Fried Veggies. If you’re one of those people who think veggie rice can never replace risotto or brown rice, try this recipe and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Cooked with sesame oil and spices from Thailand, the broccoli rice contains so much flavor and such a delightful taste, you might actually forget there’s no real grain in it. And the veggies give the meal an extra bit of crunch and color.
- Broccoli Rice Red Pepper Egg Muffins. Muffins have always been a great breakfast recipe. Great to eat on the table, great to take away. So why not veggie-boost your day with this easy to make, amazing recipe. These contain zero sugar, are bulked-up with broccoli rice instead of gluten or dairy, and come together in just 20 minutes.
- Burrito Bowl With Mexican Broccoli “Rice”. Between the chips that scoop the guac, the gigantic flour tortilla housing your burrito, and the side of beans and rice, a Mexican meal can amount to carbs than you’d like. Cut those down considerably with this homemade burrito bowl, which does away with the wrap, nixes the beans in favor of ground beef, and opts for a broccoli-based version of Mexican rice.
And we’re done. I hope the next time you happen to be by Trader Joe’s, you’ll pick up a pack of riced broccoli and explore its cruciferous goodness.