Broccoli has a whole host of health benefits! And it’s fun for toddlers to pretend they are eating little trees!
- The fiber found in broccoli promotes gut health and heart health.
- It helps support your immune system with the help of vitamin C.
- Broccoli is high in vitamin K, which is important in blood clotting.
- The antioxidants found in broccoli may help protect against certain types of cancers.
- Vitamin A and antioxidants found in broccoli promote eye health.
Broccoli Tip: It’s not just the florets that are nutritious so don’t toss the stalks!
When can you introduce broccoli to your baby?
Is broccoli a choking hazard?
Is broccoli a common allergen?
Does broccoli cause constipation for babies?
How to Serve Broccoli
Broccoli is a great first food for your baby, provided that you steam or roast the florets until they easily squish between your fingers. Cut the cooked stems in half lengthwise if serving. You can also shred raw broccoli and mix it into other soft finger foods like scrambled eggs or savory-style muffins.
See below for these recipes.
Stage One Puree
Self-Feeding: Baby-Led Weaning
- Broccoli for Baby-Led Weaning: steamed big florets, steamed stalk cut in half lengthwise, or as a puree
Stage Two Purees
Stage Three Purees
Self-Feeding: Finger Foods
- Broccoli for Self-Feeding: steamed big or small pieces of florets, steamed stalk cut in half lengthwise, or as a puree
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 12 ounces
Age: 6+ months
- 2 cups broccoli, chopped into small florets
- 1/2 cup apple, pear or small white potato peeled and chopped (optional)
- 1 tbsp good quality olive oil (optional)
Prep: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a boil over medium heat.
- Steam: Place the broccoli and apple/potato/pear (if using) into a steamer basket and place over boiling water, cover, and steam for 8-10 minutes or until the broccoli and apple are tender. Reserve the water from the steamer. Let cool slightly.
- Transfer: Add the broccoli and apple to a blender or food processor.
- Add Olive Oil: Drizzle the olive oil into the blender or food processor.
Blend: Puree on high for 1-2 minutes or until smooth, adding in additional liquid (reserved water, fresh breast milk or formula) in 1/4 cup increments if needed. I had to add in 1/4 cup of water to the puree pictured.
- Eat: Serve to your baby or freeze for a later meal.
Age: 6+ months
Yield: roughly 12 ounces
Adding In Spices: Feel free to add in 1 tsp of chopped chives, 2-3 mint leaves, 1 tsp of chopped cilantro, 1/2 tsp cumin, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Storage: you can store this puree in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Broccoli for Self Feeding
Broccoli is a good food for your baby to self-feed, whether for baby-led weaning, which happens around 6 months of age, or during the finger foods stage at 9 months.
6+ Months - steamed big florets, steamed stalk cut in half lengthwise, or puree: Steamed florets with a larger stalk will be easier for your baby to grasp and hold onto at this age. You can also peel some of the outer, tougher layers of the broccoli stalk and steam until soft. You can offer purees and still allow your baby to lead the way with self-feeding by placing some spoonfuls directly on your baby's tray or bowl to let them explore on their own, or you can hand them a pre-loaded self-feeding spoon.
9-12 Months - steamed smaller florets and stalks: Cutting broccoli into smaller pieces at this age will help develop their pincer grasp.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Age: 6+ months
- 2 cups broccoli florets or cut stalks
- 1/2 lemon, squeezed
In a medium saucepan, bring 2" of water to a boil over high heat. Add a steamer basket with the broccoli florets. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender when pricked with a fork.
Remove from heat, and let cool.
Squeeze the lemon juice on the broccoli and toss.
- Leave florets large or cut them into smaller pieces.
Age: 6+ months
Yield: 4 serving
Puree for Self-Feeding: Yes, it can be done! You can offer purees and still allow your baby to lead the way with self-feeding.
- Place a few spoonfuls of purees directly on the tray or in a bowl for your baby to dip fingers into. Model how to dip your fingers into the puree and bring them to your mouth, to taste some.
- Offer your baby a pre-loaded self-feeding utensil and hold it out for them to grasp or set on their tray.
- Use a solid food as a dipper. You can also offer a soft stick-shaped piece of food, such as a soft roasted carrot or bread lightly toasted and cut into strips to dip into the puree.
- Try to avoid boiling broccoli (and most other veggies) since many of the nutrients leach out into the water and then tossed down the drain. Other cooking methods like roasting and steaming will leave more nutrients intact.
- Take the tougher outer layer of the stalk off by peeling it.
- Broccoli is in the cruciferous vegetable family, which is known for causing gas. If your baby seems extra gassy since introducing broccoli, you may want to cut back
More Broccoli Recipes
How to Pick & Store Broccoli
How to Pick Broccoli
- Color: Look for broccoli with bright green heads and no discoloration or spots.
- Florets: Choose compact clusters of florets versus more open ones that may signal broccoli that’s past its peak ripeness.
- Firm: You want broccoli that has firm, strong stems and stalks.
How to Store Broccoli
- Store fresh broccoli in the fridge and loosely wrapped to allow air circulation.
- Wait to wash your broccoli until right before you eat it, as the excess moisture can encourage mold growth.
- Both fresh and cooked broccoli will keep fresh for 3-5 days
- Blanched broccoli will keep in the freezer for 10-12 months
Seasonings that pair well with broccoli:
- Broccoli florets are one of the most widely consumed vegetables in America (and you can eat the stems and leaves too!). California is responsible for producing about 90% of the broccoli grown in the United States.
- Broccoli is one vegetable that typically does not make the Dirty Dozen list, so feel free to choose conventionally grown or organic, based on your preference.
- Whether you choose fresh or frozen broccoli - you can’t go wrong. Frozen broccoli is typically picked and frozen at peak freshness, so it will maintain its nutritional value, as well as its texture. And speaking of nutritional value, one cup of chopped broccoli has more Vitamin C than one orange!