Tasty Tuesday: Broccoli Soup with Lemon Grass and Garlic Chives

Tasty Tuesday posts will not always be recipes. Sometimes they might be about interesting food science research on taste or flavor or related topic.

Broccoli Soup

I probably eat more broccoli than any other vegetable (mushrooms are fungi and garlic is a herb) and I am very much in a soup mood at the moment. So I made broccoli soup. Last night I ate it warm with cheddar and tonight I had it cold with yogurt. It was tastier tonight, but that might be due to the fact that the flavors developed over night.

In my older recipe books, from the 1980s, broccoli rarely features. I don’t know if this is a US vs. UK difference or food fashion.

I have been finding it frustrating to find recipes listed by their herbs. For some reason my garden is being prolific with herbs – I am overwhelmed with oregano, chives, thyme, rosemary and lemon grass. I almost have too much parsley and soon basil will be prolific as will coriander seeds as the cilantro earlier in the year has, with permission, bolted. So to help other people in the same situation, I named with recipe after the herbs I added.

Broccoli Soup


Broccoili – 1.5 heads including stems. Chopped up small

Oil/butter/marg for frying

1 onion chopped

A handful of chopped garlic chives*

two stalks of lemon grass

2 medium – large potatoes peeled and chopped

water or stock (I used water and then added a tps of yeast extract after cooking)


parsley, yogurt or cheese (optional toppings).


Fry the chopped onion in oil and fry for a few minutes. Don’t let the onion brown.

Add lemon grass stalks (don’t chop them you are going to remove them later).

Add garlic chives followed in rapid succession the potatoes, broccoli and water/stock.

Bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until potato and broccoli, especially the broccoli stems, are mashable.

Remove lemon grass.

Blend; I use a stick blender (AKA immersion blender) and I blend until most of the bits are gone. About 10-20% might remain lumpy. It is really up to you depending how smooth you want your soup to be.

Heat again and add cheese.

Or if you want to eat it cold, chill in fridge until cold and add yogurt.

Decorate with chopped parsley.

Serve and enjoy.

*You could use a clove of garlic instead, but then you would have to change the name.


Eating Broccoli Protects Your Heart

A recent study published online by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reports on the role of broccoli as a cardioprotector. Broccoli contains high concentrations of selenium (65 nanograms/g broccoli) and glucosinolates, especially isothicyanate sulforaphane (23.6 micrograms/g broccoli). Both selenium and sulforaphane are shown to protect the heart and the cardiovascular system. Sulforaphane induces the redox regulator protein, thioredoxin, which has a cardioprotective role by reducing oxidative stress.

A clinical study reported that eating fresh broccoli sprouts for a week lowered serum low density lipoprotein levels (LDL is the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and a prospective study in Iowa showed a strong association between broccoli consumption and a lowering of the risk of coronary heart disease.

In the study reported in JAFC, rats were either feed, on top of regular rat chow, a broccoli slurry or water for a month before slaughter. At which time the hearts were isolated, stabilized and then subjected to 30 minutes of total ischemia followed by reperfusion*. Heart function was assessed 10, 30, 60, 90 and 120 mins after ischemia finished.

Hearts from rats fed on broccoli slurry showed faster recovery in left ventricular function and aortic flow. Heart rate was not affected by treatment. In addition, hearts from broccoli-fed rats had a smaller myocardial infarct size and the number of cardiomyocytes which under went cell death (apotosis) was reduced.

Hearts from broccoli-fed rats showed a similar response to ischemia as hearts in which thioredoxin had been upregulated. Broccoli possibly limits heart damage by inducing the production of thioredoxin and related proteins. These proteins play important roles in maintaining the inner cell redox potential. Selenium is required as part of the enzymes glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase, and sulforaphane up-regulates thioredoxin reductase stimulating thioredoxin production and reducing oxidative damage in the cell.


Mukherjee, S.; Gangopadhyay, H.; Das, D. K. Broccoli: A Unique Vegetable That Protects Mammalian Hearts through the Redox Cycling of the Thioredoxin Superfamily. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2007. (online)


From what I scan-read in Wikipedia, ischemia occurs by preventing blood flow to the heart and reperfusion is when blood is allowed back. Reperfusion can cause injury because the sudden influx of oxygen and blood can cause oxidative damage and inflammation.