Transform broccoli florets into a delicious easy side dish or put it on a corn tortilla to make taco filling. This Mexican broccoli recipe or brocóli a la Mexicana is a must try and great way to get more veggies on your plate.
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Broccoli is one of those vegetables that though tasty, can quickly become a bit boring.
Sometimes when I make it I want to include Mexican flavors. I keep it very simple and cook it a la mexicana.
The flavors combine so well together, and it’s incredibly quick and easy to cook. You can serve the broccoli as a side dish or use it as a taco filling — would also be delicious on quesadillas, just chop it up a bit smaller.
Now this isn’t a side dish recipe you’re going to see at a Mexican restaurant….or most homes for that matter, because it’s not really a dish common of Mexican cuisine. Even so, I think this so worth a try.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
Broccoli is one of the healthiest green vegetables and there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be including it in your diet, be it that you’re vegan or vegetarian or a meat eater.
- Loaded with antioxidants that are beneficial for overall health.
- It helps reduce inflammation.
- Believed to protect against certain cancers.
- Helps control blood sugar levels
- The fiber is great for digestion and therefore good to combat constipation.
- Good for your eyes, hormones, and immune system, good for your heart and for your bones.
What Does A La Mexicana Mean
In Mexican cuisine when you see a dish that has “a la mexicana” in it’s title it simply means Mexican style.
More specifically it denotes that green chilies, white onions and red tomatoes were used in it’s preparation.
These three colors are the Mexican flag, and hence the term “a la Mexicana”. Additionally the tree ingredients are very important to and almost always present in the dishes of Mexico.
So now next time you’re at a Mexican restaurant and see this phrase you’ll know that it means Mexican food prepared this way.
- Easy Bistec a la Mexicana: Mexican Style Steak Made Vegan
- The Easiest Mexican Green Beans | Ejotes a la Mexicana
- Papas a la Mexicana | Easy Mexican Potatoes Recipe
- Mexican Style Okra (Okra a la Mexicana)
- Pico de Gallo Salsa | Salsa Fresca
The ingredients list is incredibly short and simple. This side dish recipe is intended for everyone to be able to make it quickly and easy. Specially since most of us usually always have these ingredients in our refrigerator.
- garlic cloves
- jalapeño pepper
- roma tomatoes
- Broccoli: I use small broccoli crowns, but if you don’t have fresh broccoli then you can use frozen. Use about a one pound bag.
- Oil: For the oil you can use vegetable or olive oil.
- Onion: You can use either white or red onion. If you have neither then brown or even shallots will do.
- Garlic: Instead of fresh garlic you can use 1.5 Teaspoons of garlic powder.
- Jalapeno: Remove the seeds for a milder dish. For a spicier you can use serrano peppers. If fresh chilies are not an option for you then use some chili powder or even a good amount of black pepper or red pepper flakes will do. Or really whatever spicy chile you’d like is fine.
- Tomatoes: You can use regular round tomatoes if desired. Canned would give the dish an entirely different taste, but in a pinch you could use about half a cup or more as desired.
- Salt: I used sea salt but you can use your favorite salt or whatever you have on hand.
How to Make Mexican Broccoli or Brocóli a la Mexicana
This recipe is so incredibly easy to make that it almost feels silly writing it down. But alas, here’s how you make it.
Make sure that all of your ingredients are prepared before you begin. This Mexican food recipe cooks incredibly quickly.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once warm place onion in the pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the chopped chile pepper and the minced garlic cloves and continue to cook until they have softened.
Next add the chopped roma tomato to the pan, sprinkle in the salt and mix until well combined.
Sauté until the tomato begins to breakdown.
Once the tomato has begun breaking down then you can add the small broccoli florets.
Mix them well with the other ingredients. Cook until they reach your desired tenderness. If you’d like you could also add a splash of cold water to the pan to create a bit of steam and help cook the broccoli faster.
Test the texture or firmness of the broccoli florets by inserting a fork or a knife into the thick trunk part.
A delicious variation of this warm dish would be that you could transform this into a cold Mexican broccoli salad.
You’d do so by leaving the broccoli raw. But you’ll want to maybe use a food processor to chop the florets into smaller pieces instead.
Mix the oil with some freshly squeezed lime juice to drizzle it over the broccoli as a dressing. Or you could always use mayonnaise instead for a creamy dressing.
How to Serve
As previously mentioned, you could serve this as a side dish or as a filling for tacos — perfect easy meal for Taco Tuesday.
Another variation would be to use is as burrito filling or for a cheese quesadilla. For this I would suggest that you chop up the broccoli into very small pieces so that your tortilla doesn’t break.
Sometimes I serve my brocoli a la mexicana as a side dish to things like my chorizo and potato tacos, but I mean it’s also great on so many other dishes — even tofu chicharron! The flavors go well with so many main dishes.
A side dish of crispy Mexican potatoes would also be delicious.
The broccoli also tastes amazing inside warm corn tortillas. I love to make broccoli tacos! You could sprinkle with some lime juice then add some easy tomato salsa, maybe some sour cream or Mexican crema, or queso fresco or cotija cheese or parmesan cheese if you don’t have cotija.
For the broccoli tacos I serve them with a side of boiled or refried pinto beans, but occasionally black beans. The beans are an easy way to add more protein and make a complete meal.
This broccoli recipe is also great for your meal prep or weekly meal plans. Plus doesn’t take a whole lot of effort.
How to Store Leftovers
Broccoli freezes well so you could place leftovers in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and freeze. Try to consume within a few months. Only do this if the broccoli was raw.
If storing in the refrigerator, the broccoli will keep fresh for a few days before it gets a little stinky, like broccoli always does.
Mexican Broccoli Recipe or Brocóli A La Mexicana
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
- 3/4 cups onion white or red, finely chopped
- 1 or 2 whole jalapeño chiles finely chopped (use serrano for spicier dish)
- 4 whole garlic cloves finely minced
- 2 medium Roma tomatoes chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt adjust to taste
- 1 small head of broccoli cut into small florets
- Prepare all of your ingredients before you begin because this recipe moves fast.
- Heat the oil in a large pan, then add the onion and sauté until soft. Then add the jalapeno and the mince garlic and again sauté until they have softened.
- Next add the chopped roma tomato and the salt and sauté for about 5 minutes or just until the tomato begins to soften and breakdown.
- Lastly, add the broccoli florets and cooked to desired tenderness. The cooking time will depend on how crisp or soft you like the broccoli. Test with at fork or knife.
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…