Updated: Feb 16
Broccoli kugel has been a favorite of mine for most of my adult life. At one point I had perfected my recipe, which included delicious flaky pie crust, tons of margarine & mayo to create that silky, creamy texture, lots of onion soup mix for flavor, and sometimes added more pie crust on top for decoration. And even though it was DELICIOUS, this weekly staple wasn't doing my body or my health any favors. Since I cleaned up my diet, I knew that would be an easy recipe to "healthify," but I kept procrastinating because other recipes seemed to take precedence.
And then my baby started becoming a picky eater. I wanted to find an easy way to give her something nutrient dense after day care that was also packed with protein, since proteins are the foods that she is most picky about and one of the most crucial macronutrients for babies and children. So I whipped up this recipe out of desperation, baked it in a muffin tray so I'd easily be able to serve them, and she loved them! I realized this was something I could also easily make in a casserole dish and serve at shabbat meals, and it's been a huge hit, every time I've made it.
Why this dish rocks:
It secretly packs in so many nutrients because I use nutritional yeast for flavoring. If you've never heard of nutritional yeast, it's a vegan product that usually comes in a powdery form and has a "cheesy" flavor (it's not really that it tastes like cheese, but that's probably the closest thing to its taste). Also, it's PACKED with vitamins and nutrients. It's a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids, which is rare in plant-based sources of protein. It's also especially high in B vitamins, which many of us are deficient in, and deficiencies can be liked to problems in hormonal health, fatigue, inflammation, and more. This plus the eggs give it a nice amount of protein.
It packs in multiple servings of veggies. Sometimes I make this 100% broccoli, sometimes I split it 50% broccoli, 50% cauliflower. Both are delicious. Just depends what I have in my house at the time. Feel free to jazz it up with onions, mushrooms, garlic, or sautéd pepper.
It calls for olive-oil or avocado oil-based mayonnaise, which actually contains healthy fats instead of conventional mayonnaise that is high in pre-inflammatory oils.
It's so easy to make, freezes well, and is a great side dish, snack, grab-n-go breakfast, or sometimes this is straight up dinner for my baby.
2 medium sized heads broccoli or 1 head broccoli, 1 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 tsp organic, avocado-oil based mayonnaise
4 tbsp almond flour
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Trader Joes umami mushroom spice, optional
Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring to a boil.
Add broccoli (and cauliflower if using) and simmer until cooked through and can easily be pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.
Drain all the water from the pot. Do your best to really get all the liquid out, or your kugel will be watery. You can also add extra almond flour to soak up some of the moisture.
Transfer broccoli to a bowl and use a fork to mash completely.
Add in egg, nutritional yeast, almond flour, spices, and mix completely.
Transfer to a lined muffin tin or a 9 inch baking dish.
Optional: top with almond flour bread crumbs (1 cup almond flour + 1 tsp each salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika)
Bake at 180°C or 350°F for 25 minutes, or until top starts to turn golden brown.