The Edgy Veggie

Make friends with fresh vegetables


Main Dish

Friendly Broccoli and Black Beans With Sherry

This easy sherry-splashed dish would love to be friends with crusty bread and a green salad.

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or 1 large tomato, chopped

1 head of broccoli, broken into florets

3 tablespoons sherry

2 cups cooked black beans or 1 15-ounce can, drained

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

A handful pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for garnish (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, pepper and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables soften and turn translucent.

Add cumin, grape tomatoes and broccoli, stirring gently to combine. Add sherry and stir again. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, until broccoli is al dente but still a healthy, bright green.

Gently mix in black beans. Cover and heat through, another 10 minutes or so.

Add chopped cilantro, season with sea salt and pepper. Top with optional pepitas, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 196 calories (19 percent from fat), 4 g fat (0.6 g saturated, 2.6 g monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 10 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 95 mg sodium.

Processed food says it wants to be your friend. It’s lying. It’s full of additives and artificial ingredients — not the kind of thing you want in a friend. Or in your food. On the other hand, our vegetable friends offer the most nutrients and fiber for the least amount of calories. One serving of broccoli offers heaping helpfuls of vitamins C and K, calcium, lutein, even protein, all for 30 calories. That’s way fewer calories than even a skinny latte. Yet less than 10 percent of Americans eat their recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables.

“I can’t eat a plate of plain broccoli,” people tell me, looking pained. I can, and do, but I’m unusual. Vegetables don’t have to be the solo stars of your dinner. They’re delicious but they’re not divas. Vegetables are glad to be share the billing. They’re eager to make friends and get along well with other ingredients.

Think of beans, whole grains, pasta, as blank canvases that deserve a produce palate. Adding vegetables not only enriches them with nutrients and fiber but also with flavor, texture and color. Why eat a plain bowl of rice when you can enjoy rice tossed with a confetti of sauteed peppers, onions and mushrooms? Can’t stand the idea of spending a minute more in the kitchen than you have to? Add a handful or two of spinach to hot, ready-to-serve spaghetti. Give it a toss and the greens will wilt happily into the noodles, with no extra cooking. Adding vegetables adds fiber, goodness, color and flavor but no calories.

Yes, you can pop a capsule and get your vitamins that way, but supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, so you never quite know the quality you’re getting. Plus, capsules don’t taste good. Vegetables want to show your mouth a good time, especially now.

We’re just coming in to South Florida’s great growing season. Spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, green beans, eggplant, kale, fennel, radishes and more are fresh and waiting to friend you at local farmers markets and through community-shared agriculture programs. Because they’re grown here and in season, they’re lower in price, too. Let it be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Ellen Kanner writes about vegetarian concerns. She blogs at

Read more The Edgy Veggie stories from the Miami Herald

  • The Edgy Veggie

    Edgy Veggie: Eggless ‘Egg Salad’

    This must be the egg industry’s favorite time of the year. There’s Easter eggs, egg-rich Easter cakes and cookies, Easter brunch omelets, casseroles and eggs Benedict (eggs atop English muffins and in the Hollandaise sauce). Eggs also play a big part at Passover. They’re on the Seder plate and in matzo balls, kugels and Passover desserts. Eggs, though, aren’t all they’re cracked up to be for cholesterol avoiders, allergic folk (eggs are among the top eight food allergens) and vegans. Plant-powered egg alternatives mean we still get a place at the holiday table.

  • The Edgy Veggie

    Spring greens mark the new season

    Happy Vernal Equinox, the day we mark nature’s changing of seasons. It’s the first day of spring, when the world sloughs off its cold, crusty mantle and awakens to the new. Can we do less? It’s time to turn over — and eat — a new leaf.

  • The Edgy Veggie

    Back to breakfast basics with museli, granola

    Over a century ago, Switzerland’s Dr. Maxmilian Bircher-Benner mixed it up. He created muesli, which means mixture. It’s a blend of oats and other whole grains, fruit and nuts, softened in apple juice or yogurt. He prescribed it to patients and had it served in hospitals.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category