A New York Times food critic once called Romanesco broccoli “an alien vegetable from outer space.” It’s easy to see why—the vegetable looks like a Peter Max painting with its day glo lime-green color and freakish florets spinning out wild corkscrew shapes.
Unique? Try bizarre!
At first glance people who’ve never seen a Romanesco might ask, is this a real vegetable? Its shape is so odd some hosts use it as a decorative conversation piece at dinner parties instead of a food.
A very unique origin
Romanesco broccoli is not a natural vegetable.
Investigation by botanists has traced Romanesco’s origins back to selective breeding by 15th Century Italian farmers. The vegetable’s striking shape is evidence of the incredible amount of variation that genetically bred vegetables can produce within a single species.
Although it’s called broccoli, it’s really more of a cauliflower. Originating in the Tuscany region Romanesco—like any cauliflower—is composed of tightly packed florets attached to clusters of sturdy stems.
A unique taste
Raw, the florets taste similar to cauliflower, but with the subtle hint of broccoli flavor. When cooked (you can boil, roast or steam it), a sweet nuttiness emerges making Romanesco a perfect choice for stews, soups or salads.
This remarkable vegetable has many other culinary uses. It’s great with pasta and in stews—and it’s more tender than ordinary cauliflowers. Although too often overlooked, it can be substituted in any dish that calls for broccoli or cauliflower, and with excellent results.
The powerful health benefits packed inside
In addition to its aesthetic value and pleasing taste, Romanesco offers you a powerhouse of health benefits: it improves vision, fights viral infections and guards against free radicals. It also boosts the body’s immune system by battling colds and flu, promoting healthier lungs and significantly improving blood cell, bone strength and overall brain health.
Besides those health benefits experts note that this vegetable helps reduce depression, aids in eliminating constipation, lowers bad cholesterol, works to regulate blood sugar and maintain a healthy blood pressure. Research suggests it can lower certain cancer risks associated with immunodeficiency disorders.
And it accomplishes all of that while also contributing its part to a healthy heart and nervous system.
Whoever said eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away? They must never have heard of this wondrous vegetable !
So if you’re looking to add something truly unique to your menu, amaze your family, or wow guests at your next dinner party, the truly unique Romanesco broccoli is the answer!