intensely trivial

The Enchanted Broccoli Forest

I LOVE vegetables. And my kids will love vegetables, too, if I have anything to say about it. I hear moms talking all the time about disguising vegetables or sneaking them into the food they cook. There’s no sneaking here. I am not the sneaky type. Tonight we had turnips, in chunks (braised in soy sauce, a la Madhur Jaffrey). And we had an Enchanted Broccoli Forest — which is the closest I get to disguising vegetables.

Enchanted Broccoli Forest is the title track from a wonderful hippie cookbook called The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. This entire cookbook is handwritten and hand-doodled! I just want to sit down and read the whole charming thing. The enchanted broccoli forest is basically a healthy, fun re-imagining of broccoli-cheese casserole, and my kids love to help make it.

Also, big news! I learned how to put photos into my posts! So here’s Jonathan, helping plant the broccoli forest:

Jonathan planting the forest.

Jonathan planting the forest.

Yes, he is naked.

Bears in the forest

Bears in the forest

Look! We have a whole ecosystem!

Here’s my version of the Enchanted Broccoli Forest, in case you want to try this out at home:

Preliminary: Cook 2 c. of brown rice in 3 c. boiling water until tender. (This will take 35-45 min.) Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and set aside.

1 head broccoli

1 T. oil

1 c. chopped onion

3/4 t. salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

juice from one lemon

about 6 c. cooked rice

freshly ground black pepper

cayenne to taste

2 t. dried dill

2 T. dried parsley (I would use fresh herbs if I had them)

1/2 c. toasted sunflower seeds (or similar seeds) — optional

1 packed c. grated cheddar cheese — optional

4 eggs, lightly beaten (can use less or none)


Cut apart the broccoli into smallish spears of whatever size suits you. Steam or boil them until they’re just tender and still bright green. Rinse under cold running water, drain well, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a casserole (I use a deepish one, about 7×10 inches.)

Heat the oil over medium heat, and add the onions and salt. Saute for about 5 min., or till onion starts to soften. Add garlic and lemon juice, and saute for about 2 min. longer. Stir in the rice, black pepper and cayenne to taste, the herbs, and the sunflower seeds, cheese, and eggs. Taste to correct salt, if necessary, and smoosh into the prepared pan.

Now for the fun part. Arrange the broccoli upright in the rice, and, if desired, drizzle with melted butter. Cover loosely with foil, and bake about 30 min. Serve right away.

Suggested wine pairing: Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc.


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  1. * Shelley says:

    What fun!!! I would love veggies more if I could play with them 🙂

    Posted 9 years, 3 months ago

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