Veggie-in-the-Spotlight: Purple Sprouting Broccoli

19 03 2010

which is which?!

Calabrese is the large headed variety that most of us call Broccoli. Actual Broccoli has individual stalks for each flower clump. It is often purple, and gets called PSB – short for Purple Sprouting Broccoli (confused yet?!).

In the picture, PSB is on the left, Calabrese is on the right.

As PSB is about to go out of season, we’ve just flagged some delicious recipes to help you make the most of it before it it’s gone:


“Greening Your Heart” or “Why Eat Broccoli”

11 09 2009
clean up those arteries!

clean up those arteries!

Last Friday the British Heart Foundation shared the findings of research it had funded at Imperial College London. The research shows that treating high risk parts of arteries with the natural compound “sulforaphane” reduced inflammation by ‘switching on’ a protein essential to protecting arteries from clogging.

Guess where this compound naturally occurs! Click here for the details, and for these recipes:

  • Broccoli and Kale Stir Fry;
  • Broccoli and Peanut Butter Soup;
  • Tenderstem Broccoli with Melting Goats Cheese; and
  • Cracked Bulgar Wheat with Broccoli & Cream Cheese Sauce.

July’s First Veggie in the Spotlight: Tenderstem Broccoli

1 06 2009
a new veggie?

a "new" veggie?

We were recently contacted by the marketers of Tenderstem® broccoli. And I have to confess that I had never heard of it!

It turns out that Tenderstem® broccoli has its origins in Japan where it was developed using classical plant breeding techniques. The idea was to breed a more flavoursome Brassica by crossing Broccoli and Chinese Kale.

I’m told that British crops of this veggie are mostly grown in Kent and Jersey, and its season runs from June through to December.

Read on to find out how to buy, store and prepare this “new” veggie on the chopping block, and to access the brand new recipe for Barbecued Tenderstem with Melting Goats Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing, created by TV chef and food writer Jo Pratt and provided for us to use by the UK marketers of Tenderstem broccoli.

How to Cook Purple Sprouting Broccoli

12 01 2009

Broccoli is a member of the brassica family, like cabbage.

The plant produces green flower heads on thick stalks. They are picked and eaten before the flowers bloom. Broccoli and calabrese are often confused.



sprouting broccoli

sprouting broccoli

Calabrese is the large headed variety (see the picture on the left) that most of us call Broccoli (confused yet?!). The other is a sprouting variety (on the right), with individual stalks for each flower clump.  It is usually purple, or sometimes white, and is often known as PSB – short for Purple Sprouting Broccoli.

“PSB” is a delicious spring vegetable that can start to appear as early as the end of January and has a long season. It cooks quickly and is packed with nutrients, with a more delicate flavour than full heads of calabrese.

We already feature one recipe on the site especially designed for sprouting broccoli – Sprouting Broccoli with Toasted Seasame Seeds.

Now we’re pleased to bring you a recipe for Spicy Purple Sprouting Broccoli Pasta, courtesy of Abel & Cole.


*  500 g purple sprouting broccoli
* 1 medium sized fresh red chilli
* 2 cloves garlic, peeled
* 1 small tin of anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained (optional, if you’re anything like me!)
* good quality olive oil
* 350 g pasta: fusilli, oriecchiette, penne rigate or conchiglie
* parmesan or hard pecorino cheese to grate


  1. Trim the outer leaves and woody stalks from the broccoli.
  2. Wash and chop into 1 cm sections.
  3. Cut the chilli in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds.
  4. Chop the chilli, the garlic and the anchovies finely.
  5. In a pan, warm 4 tablespoons of olive oil and add the chilli, garlic and anchovies.
  6. Sweat these for a minute or so and add the broccoli, season with a little salt and pepper, then continue to cook gently.
  7. Drop the pasta in boiling water and stir immediately.
  8. Grate 4 tablespoons of the cheese and reserve.
  9. After the pasta has been cooking for 5 minutes transfer a small ladle of the cooking water to the broccoli.
  10. Keeping over a high heat, add another 2 tablespoons of oil and add the cheese.
  11. Cook for a couple of minutes, then toss with the pasta and serve immediately.

So has PSB shown up in your box yet? If it has, we’d love to know where in the country you lucky folks are!

The VegBox Team