Broccoli and cheese are the quintessential combo that makes broccoli actually edible – even for the veggie impaired. Bread in the form of a stick also raise-the-roof-worthy. But paleo broccoli “cheese” sticks that combine the healthy components of broccoli, the savory necessity of cheese, and the soft, finger food love of a bread stick, that both adults and little ones will like? One word – YES.
If you’ve been a loyal follower of Physical Kitchness, you know that I started my son with real ‘adult’ foods right off the bat – also known as baby led weaning. Of course I wasn’t shoving an apple or a piece of steak in his face at 6 months old, but I learned how to incorporate foods like roasted sweet potato wedges, avocado slices, or sliced bananas into his diet while carefully watching him to gage how he was doing with each soft food so I could see what would be ok to introduce next. I then started experimenting with fun combos that were squeaky clean, healthy, and do-able for little mouths with 4 teeth. These spinach and sweet potato tots and cinnamon spinach mini flap jacks were always a hit.
Now that he has a few more teeth and a tenacious appetite, I decided it was time to step up my game! Plus I wanted to make a fun eat that I could enjoy too – whether it was to dunk in my favorite soup, swirl in my runny egg yolk (because runny yolks are the ONLY way).
These paleo broccoli “cheese” sticks are perfect to serve for my little one and to munch on myself. Why the quotations around “cheese”? Because these sticks are dairy-free! I have a special trick to mimic the taste of cheese – a discovery you may have never heard of, but WILL change you life.
Packed with tons of vitamins, easy to make, paleo, whole30 compliant, AND perfect for little mouths? I don’t think broccoli could ever boast such amazingness on its own!
The secret ingredient that makes these paleo broccoli “cheese” sticks worth trying? Nutritional yeast. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t be weirded out – it’s much more appetizing than it sounds. Nutritional yeast is usually found in small yellow flakes or as powder that is packed with B-complex vitamins. However, it’s not an active yeast. Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy-like taste that is often substituted for grated cheese and tastes amazing on roasted vegetables and even popcorn! I find it at my local Whole Foods but most health food stores will carry it, and it’s fairly easy to find purchase online. A little goes a long way, so buying a jar or bag of it will last you months.
Ready to try them yourself? Start by boiling a pot of water and dropping four cups of broccoli florets into the water. Boil 8-10 minutes, until the broccoli is soft. Drain the water and place the florets into a food processor and pulse for a few seconds until the broccoli is broken down. Scrape the broccoli ‘paste’ out of the food processor and into a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, baking powder, and nutritional yeast together. Add the dried ingredients to the broccoli, then add one egg and 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and mix until well combined.
Pour the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place another piece of parchment paper over the top. Using a rolling pin (or your hands), spread the mixture by pressing it out underneath the top piece of parchment paper (to avoid it sticking) until it’s roughly 1/3 – 1/2 inch thick. Remove the top piece of parent paper. Using a pizza cutter, score the dough into 1″-wide pieces to make sticks. Also score the dough in the middle.
Place into the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden and the middle is cooked through. Let cool, then separate the scored pieces into sticks.
You can store these at room temperature for a few days, or to keep longer, place in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I also freezer leftover sticks and thaw when needed. Does the dough kind of look like a pizza crust to you? DING DING – you can also use this for a healthier pizza crust alternative!
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the broccoli florets. Boil for 8-10 minutes, until broccoli is soft, then drain the water
- Add the broccoli to a food processor and pulse until broccoli is broken down and scrape the broccoli 'paste' out of the food processor and into a medium bowl
- In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and nutritional yeast together
- Add the dried ingredients to the broccoli, then add the egg and apple cider vinegar and mix until well combined
- Pour the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place another piece of parchment paper over the top. Using a rolling pin (or your hands), spread the down by pressing it out on the top piece of parchment paper (to avoid it sticking) until it's roughly ⅓ - ½ inch thick
- Remove the top piece of parent paper. Using a pizza cutter, score the dough into 1"-wide pieces to make sticks. Also score the dough in the middle
- Place into the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden and the middle is cooked through. Let cool, then break the pieces into sticks
- Store at room temperature for a few days, or to keep longer, place in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Freeze any leftover sticks and thaw when needed
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