Scientific studies demonstrate that the more vegetables we eat, the more protected we are. For example, for every serving of vegetables or fruit we consume, we reduce the risk of all-cause mortality (a measurement of overall health and longevity) by 5 percent, with the greatest risk reduction seen with 8 servings per day and more. That means that eating eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day needs to be seen as a bare minimum for supporting health (see The Importance of Vegetables). It also means that the more we’re able to increase our vegetable intake, the more benefits we’ll see reflected in our health.
So, you can imagine my excitement when Sprouts Farmers Market challenged me to create a recipe using their new, frozen Organic Riced Broccoli!
Why am I so enthusiastic about broccoli rice? Well, beyond being delicious, broccoli is uniquely beneficial for our health!
Broccoli is a member of the cabbage plant family, Brassicaceae, and its scientific name is Brassica oleracea. It originated in Italy more than 2,000 years ago and the ancient Romans considered broccoli to be a highly valuable crop! And, broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse. A 100-gram serving, about 1 cup of florets, contains a whopping 150% of your RDV of vitamin C, 127% of vitamin K, and a good amount (5% to 20%) of vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and manganese—all for only 34 calories! Oh, and that same serving provides 2.6 grams of dietary fiber!!! If broccoli was a movie star, it’d be constantly surrounded by paparazzi.
Broccoli is also rich in extremely beneficial phytonutrients, specifically, isothiocyanates, polyphenols (including quercetin and kaempferol), and carotenoids (including lutein and zeaxanthin). These phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants but also have proven antibacterial, antifungal, antitumor, antimutagenic, antiinflammatory, and neuroprotective properties, which is why consuming them is linked to lower risk of chronic disease. Some types of isothiocyanates increase the activity of phase II enzymes (such as quinone reductase and glutamate cysteine ligase) that help remove toxic substances and carcinogens from the body (see What The Heck Does Our Liver Do Anyway? Detoxification Explained).
Thanks to broccoli’s high fiber and polyphenol content, it’s also a boon to our gut microbiome! Studies show that eating more broccoli can help support a healthy and diverse gut microbial community, supporting the growth of key probiotic strains of bacteria while suppressing the growth of pathogenic ones.
All-in-all, there’s some very compelling reasons to increase our consumption of vegetables in general, and broccoli specifically. This brings me back to broccoli rice. It’s a super tasty way to up our broccoli intake, swapping it in for white rice (see What is a “Safe Starch”? ) or the more traditionally Paleo cauli-rice in all your favorite recipes! As a bonus, it cooks in just a few minutes, making a broccoli rice-based meal quick and easy even for the most hectic weeknight.
Egg-Fried Broccoli Rice
Yield 2-3 servings
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 1 pound mixed stir fry veggies(any combination of broccoli florets, sliced carrots, snow peas, sliced mushrooms, sliced bell pepper and/or onion wedges; save prep time by using pre-cut options)
- 8 ounces frozen cooked and peeled prawns, thawed
- 1 12-ounce package of Sprouts Organic Riced Broccoli, frozen
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- Whisk eggs with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil until frothy. Set aside.
- Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add mixed vegetables to wok and cook, stirring constantly, until cooked al dente, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add prawns and cook (still stirring constantly) until heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Before opening the package of Riced Broccoli, bang the bag on the counter a few times to break up any large clumps. Add the frozen riced broccoli and salt to the wok. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Make a large space in the bottom of the wok by pushing the prawns and veggies up the side. Pour the eggs into the space and let set.
- Mix the eggs into the rest of the ingredients. Add remaining 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and coconut aminos and stir to incorporate.
- Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with sliced spring onions and sesame seeds.
Keep it simple with Sprouts Stir Fry Vegetables or Vegetable Medley, pre-cut and pre-washed veggies available in the Produce Department. As a bonus, this cuts way down on the prep time for this meal, so you can have dinner on the table in about 15 minutes!
Stir frying is great, because it cooks a delicious meal very quickly. However, it can be a bit hectic with all that constant stirring. So, make sure to prepare all of your ingredients, even measuring out your sesame oil and coconut aminos before you start cooking.
You can up the protein of this dish by using a full pound of prawns instead of 8 ounces.
A big thank you to Sprouts Farmers Market for sponsoring this recipe and challenging me to make what is now a new favorite in my home!