The path to healthy eating has been a rocky road for my kid. His affinity for greasy French fries, dripping custard cones, and that heavenly combination of crunchy-salty found in chips has completely usurped my attempts to get him to entertain a pile of broccoli. His lack of vegetable fondness has ruined my life. Okay, not really, but I should tell you a bit about me: I have knighted broccoli with the highest honor in the vegetable kingdom. I was (ridiculously) heartbroken when I couldn’t stomach it while I was pregnant, and when my kid chucked his first piece of broccoli at my face (I had been waiting with a camera to document this undoubtably fabulous vegetable experience), I was hysterical. If he hadn’t been born at home, I would’ve insisted he was switched at birth. I have spent the last two years jealously listening to other moms raving about their kids’ adoration of all things vegetable, broccoli included. I’ve babysat kids whose parents packed lunches with broccoli…and the kids ate it without complaint. If you knew how upset I am that my kid turns his nose up to most veggies, even an avocado (I mean, REALLY. I would’ve KILLED for an entire avocado when I was a kid!!), you’d think I was mental, I guarantee it. Maybe I am. But I am a vegetarian, and deeply colored vegetables reign supreme in my life, so THEY SHOULD IN MY SON’S LIFE, TOO.
The entire point of this diatribe (thanks for “listening,” y’all are pals) is to share with you that I have a 5 for 5 record with this recipe when it comes to my kid. He’ll wolf down 4 plates of the stuff in an instant (while I look on with happy tears in my eyes) (not really) (okay, well sort of). It’s my ultimate comfort food; I mean, garlic, rice. Broccoli. I don’t hate that I lick my bowl clean because it’s bad for me; I hate that I won’t have leftovers to feast on the next day. The keys to this recipe are twofold: the sticky rice and the sea salt. It’s essential to season each layer with salt to keep the flavors alive, and the creaminess of the sticky rice takes the place of any additional fats you might be tempted to add.
1 lb broccoli florets, trimmed
2 c dry brown rice
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Cook the rice* according to package instructions. In a large casserole dish, arrange broccoli in a single layer. Pour boiling water over the vegetable pieces until mostly immersed and allow to “steep” for about 10 minutes. Drain water and dice the softened broccoli until very small. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, seasoning with sea salt, and stir constantly until very fragrant. Toss the broccoli in with the garlic, season with sea salt, and saute together until broccoli is tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add cooked rice, a few scoops at a time, until the ratio of broccoli to rice is at your level of comfort. Taste; season graciously with sea salt and black pepper until flavor is right.
*Most brown rice requires considerable (about an hour) cooking time. I am sure to start cooking the rice long before I do anything else. Also, to ensure the rice is sticky, I always allow the rice to sit at least a full 5 minutes off the heat before I remove the lid and stir it.