Creamy broccoli sauce is a great way of adding extra veggies to your diet. Despite the name, it doesn't contain cream, but does have a rich and delicious flavour. It will transform a bowl of pasta into a tasty treat. It's also a perfect complement to salmon, chicken, and cauliflower. And it's very quick to make.
Why is broccoli sauce so healthy?
Broccoli is a super healthy green veg. It is rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, plus a number of B vitamins. It is also a good source of minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Broccoli, along with other cruciferous vegetables, is also rich in unique plant compounds which can help to detoxify the body, and can potentially help to reduce your risk of cancer. And like many other veg, it is also a good source of fibre which has numerous benefits including better gut health. Broccoli is also relatively high in protein compared to most veg. Adding broccoli to your diet is definitely good for your health! (See here for more information about the health benefits of broccoli)
Rather than using cream, as many sauces do, this recipe uses cream cheese, which is much lower in fat. I have used full fat cream cheese which contains around a quarter of the amount of fat that you'd get in cream. I find that low fat cream cheese can sometimes go a little watery.
- The recipe for this creamy broccoli sauce is incredibly simple. You just cook the broccoli until soft, and blitz it with the cream cheese and seasonings. A stick blender is useful, as you can blitz the sauce in the pan to save on the washing up.
- You can use the stem of the broccoli as well as the florets. Cut it into small pieces so that it cooks through properly.
- If you prefer, you could make a frozen broccoli sauce. Frozen broccoli can be slightly mushy, but that will be perfect in this recipe.
- If you are cooking pasta to go with this recipe, use a little water from the pasta to thin the sauce. The starch from the pasta will make the sauce even more creamy. Adjust the amount of water to suit, as you may want a thinner sauce if you want to pour it over meat or fish.
- Of course, you can easily substitute other veggies for the broccoli. Creamy asparagus sauce is particularly delicious - use the stems for the sauce, and serve the tips alongside. Cook the stems for around 5 minutes until they are tender, then blitz with the other ingredients.
Creamy broccoli pasta
Pasta with broccoli is a quick mid week meal. Just stir the sauce into cooked pasta such as penne or fusilli. If you like, pop it under the grill with some grated cheese, and/or breadcrumbs. Serve with a big side salad.
Broccoli and cauliflower cheese
Broccoli and cauliflower cheese is kid friendly, healthy comfort food. Cook the broccoli and cauliflower florets in the same pan. Drain (reserving some of the cooking water.) Place the cauliflower in an oven proof dish. Blitz the broccoli sauce and pour over the cauliflower. Sprinkle with grated cheese, breadcrumbs or some flaked almonds and grill until golden brown and bubbling.
Broccoli sauce for chicken or fish
Increase the water in the recipe to make a thinner broccoli sauce to serve with cooked chicken or fish. If you like, add a squeeze of lemon, and some herbs such as broccoli or dill.
Baked potatoes with broccoli sauce
Spoon the sauce over halved baked potatoes, top with some grated cheddar and pop under the grill for a few minutes. If you prefer, you can remove the insides of the potatoes, mix with the sauce and replace the mixture into the potato skins.
You could also use this sauce as a dip, or as a spread in wraps. Please do share any other suggestions and ideas in the comments.
If you are looking for other veggie based sauces, you might also be interested in healthy tomato sauce
Creamy Broccoli Sauce
- 150 g broccoli, cut into small florets
- 75 g cream cheese see notes above
- 1.5 tablespoon water see notes above
- salt and pepper to taste
- grating of nutmeg
- Boil the broccoli for 7 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving a small amount of the cooking water.
- Add the cream cheese, seasonings and 1.5 tablespoon cooking water, and blitz until smooth.
- If you require a thinner sauce, add a little more water.