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There is a newcomer to the veggie scene that you may want to put on your shopping list this week: purple sprouting broccoli, sometimes called PSB for short. It’s the leggy, leafy cousin to broccoli and it’s turning up everywhere from farmer’s markets to big box produce departments. It’s hard to miss – the deep purple florets on long, tender stems come into season in late winter and are available until the end of spring.
We love it because it has all the health benefits of its cousin broccoli (vitamins C, K, A, folates and B-complex vitamins), but the violet-hued florets also contain anthocyanin, the powerful antioxidant found in blueberries, grapes and red cabbage. To retain these compounds, it’s best to lightly cook PSB in a stir fry or gently steam it until just crisp-tender; overcooking or boiling it can leach out the beneficial vitamins and phytochemicals.
Because the stems, silvery leaves, and the florets are all tender enough to eat, there’s no waste, so consider this when you see a higher price tag than broccoli, which has to be trimmed. It tastes similar to broccoli, but with a sweet, deep umami flavor that sets it apart.
Here are four ways to use it:
- On pizza: Sauté with garlic, ginger and a splash of lemon juice, then cut it into thin slivers to put on pizza
- For breakfast: Steam it and top it with a poached egg for a healthy breakfast.
- Grill it as a side: The long thin stalks make it a natural for the grill, just remember to face the more delicate tops on the cooler part of the grill.
- Add it to a pasta salad: Steam it, chop it then fold into your favorite pasta salad.
Try one of the above suggestions or improvise in one of your own dishes. No matter how you serve it, this purple brassica is vegetable royalty.