Sauteed Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper is a quick and easy vegetable side dish that complements almost any meal.
|Sauteed Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper|
Coming up with a variety of everyday vegetable side dishes can be challenging. I know I’ve gotten into a slump many times, making the same vegetables week after week. My kids may not be vegetable lovers, but they know to expect vegetables every night at dinner, and understand that vegetable are important to their health.
I’ve tried to come up with tastier concoctions over the years so vegetables aren’t an after thought when I’m making dinner. I find mixing it up during the week requires some planning, but it is well worth it. When I shop, I try to pick up whatever green vegetables look fresh and vibrant, in addition to the old standbys that I know my kids will eat, imagining how well nourished my family will be if I prepare these wonderful nutritious vegetables for them at dinnertime.
When my kids were young, they lived off of peas, corn and carrot sticks. Over the years, I have introduced healthier vegetables such as romaine lettuce, spinach, green cabbage and napa cabbage, green beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and kale.
My favorite ways to serve vegetables are in salads, stir-fried/sauteed, or roasted. Romaine lettuce, spinach, green cabbage, napa cabbage and baby mixed greens are wonderful in salads. Green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas can be stir-fried, or par-boiled and then tossed in a light soy-sesame dressing. Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower become deliciously sweet after roasting, and bok choy and kale are best stir-fried or sauteed. For an easy one-dish meal, I love stir frying vegetables with a lean protein.
Once you have a few vegetable preparation and cooking techniques under your belt, it’s easy to rotate virtually any healthy vegetable onto the dinner menu during the week. No matter which method I use to prepare vegetables, my oil of choice is typically olive oil (I also use avocado oil and grapeseed oil on occasion). Unlike butter, which is full of saturated fat (and increases cholesterol), olive oil is heart healthy, containing monounsaturated fat (that reduces total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol) and polyphenols, an antioxidant that promotes heart health.
Olive oil comes in light, regular and extra virgin. When I’m sauteeing or stir frying vegetables, I use light or regular olive oil. I reserve extra virgin olive oil for salads and roasting vegetables.
Sauteed Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper
- 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets; if using stems, trim, peel and slice
- 1 red bell pepper, trimmed, seeds and membranes removed, diced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Steam broccoli or blanch broccoli. To steam broccoli, bring 1" of water to boil in a large stockpot. Place broccoli in
steamerbasket. Steam for 5-6 minutes until just tender. Alternatively, blanch broccoli by bringing a pot of water to boil. Add broccoli. Cook 5-6 minutes. Remove broccoli and place in bowlfilled with ice water to retain bright green color; drain.
- Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add shallots. Stir and cook until translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Add red bell pepper and saute 1 minute. Add cooked broccoli, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss until heated through.
Sometimes, I steam or blanch the broccoli ahead of time; then when I'm ready to cook dinner, I just saute the vegetables quickly.