An easy vegetable side dish that’s surprisingly protein-rich and also darn tasty?! Sounds like a planet-friendly winner to me!
Broccoli is always a fun vegetable to play around with, and the fact that it’s nutritional punch is so darn amazing makes it even more fabulous. Scott Stoll (MD) says that (per calorie), broccoli even has more protein than steak! This claim has been questioned, but the fact that it’s been made clearly proves that broccoli’s protein and nutrient-density are nothing to be messed with.
I’ve noticed in my life, it’s sometimes unfortunate that health foods like broccoli sometimes seem so darn expensive to buy (especially when I’m trying to be mindful of shopping locally or organically).
Aside from broccoli’s surprising protein punch when compared to beef, a point in the green veggie’s favor can be made when you look at its environmental footprint compared to beef, too!
After some deep digging to make sure my sources were reliable, I found that pound of beef contains about 1,152 calories (USDA) and emits 8 Kg CO2 emitted per pound from production. It costs $5.34 per pound on average.
Contrastingly, one pound of broccoli has about 405 calories (USDA) and that pound emits about .16 Kg CO2, costing an average of $2.03 per pound. This would mean that: PER POUND, beef emits 50 times more CO2. It also means that beef cost $2.63 more… per pound.
This doesn’t sound too surprising, but the real shocker, like broccoli’s protein plethora, comes when we look at the per calorie comparison. The energy/nutrient content IS why we really eat food…right?
Well, I did the painstaking “per 100 calories” (with help from my patient engineer brother), and found some darn interesting info! I found that 100 calories of broccoli leads to a .035 Kg of CO2 emitted. The cost conversion turns to $0.50 per 100 calories, on average. Per 100 calories of beef, .694 Kg of CO2 are emitted. But here’s the kicker: 100 calories of beef averages a cost of $0.46!
Yes, friends— per calorie, broccoli is more expensive than beef. In this caloric comparison, we see that beef emits 17.6 times more CO2 than broccoli from production.
There’s quite a few reasons for broccoli’s expensive nature (many of which relate to some wonky subsidies and kinda weird farm bill policies)and I’m finally mentally quelled for uncovering where the actual discrepancy lied. You can read more about environmental issues (some of which relate to agriculture), in my “Sustainability” tab!
Getting into some fun stuff that you can actually do with this healthy, earth-friendly vegetable… here’s my easy recipe for roasted sesame broccoli! It’s perfect for “dinner guests in-a-pinch,” but I love to make a bunch at the beginning of my week so I have something yummy to add to plates and bowls.
I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as I have! Remember to “Pin” it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest to save for later, and tag me on Instagram with pictures when you make it @cookwithcourt. I love seeing recreations!
Roasted Sesame Broccoli (Oil-Free)
This easy recipe for broccoli is healthy, surprisingly high in protein, and the perfect tasty, vegetable addition to any lazy meal!
- 3 heads Broccoli (about 3 cups chopped)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1-1 1/2 tbsp liquid aminos, coconut aminos, or soy sauce *
- 2 cloves minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheight. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking sheet (preferred) or parchment paper.
Chop broccoli into florets, taking care to cut one side of the floret “flat,” allowing the broccoli will become caramelized once it’s set on the sheet on the flat side. I find that relatively smaller florets work better for this recipe.
In a large bowl, toss broccoli with liquid aminos, sesame seeds, and garlic. Lay broccoli on pan, ensuring the pieces don’t touch. Pour any excess liquid on top.
Cook broccoli in the oven for 13-18 minutes until the florets look caramelized on the bottom and barely browned on top. The cooking time will depend on how large your florets are. Enjoy!
* If you have a product marked as “low sodium,” you should use more in this recipe. If your product is full sodium, use a greater amount.