Broccoli vs Asparagus | What are the Differences?

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Asparagus and broccoli are both cruciferous vegetables. They are loaded with beneficial nutrients that improve our health significantly. But what differentiates broccoli from asparagus? In this post, we will go over the differences between broccoli and asparagus. We will also discuss how to eat these vegetables raw and answer some questions surrounding the topic. 

What is broccoli?

Broccoli is a green plant with a large flowering head with green flowers that are arranged in a tree-like structure. The flower head is surrounded by small leaves. The flower and stem are the edible part of broccoli that can be enjoyed raw or cooked

What is asparagus?

Asparagus is a perennial plant of the lily family. It is characterized by a tall, slender stalk with small leaves and a purple or greenish-white spear-like head. The pointed scales are the plant shoots and if left to grow, can become a fern-like plant. The edible part of asparagus is the stem, spear, and tender leaves. You can eat it raw or cook it. The stalk that is often served with hollandaise sauce and is a popular dish in France and other European countries.  

What does broccoli taste like?

The flavor of broccoli is described as having a slightly bitter taste. Depending on the type of broccoli you have, the bitter compounds that contribute to the bitter taste may vary.  

Broccoli vs asparagus

Asparagus and broccoli are two of the most popular vegetables in the world. They contain essential nutrients for a healthy diet, are delicious, easy to cook, and can be enjoyed raw. But which one is better? Some people argue that asparagus is better than broccoli, while others claim that broccoli is the clear winner. There is no definitive answer to this question, but both vegetables have unique benefits. 

What is broccoli good for?

Broccoli is known for its many health benefits. It is a good source of dietary fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins C and K. It is also loaded with a high amount of proteins. Due to the bioactive compounds, broccoli can help:

  • Prevent cancer
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Control Blood sugars levels in people with diabetes
  • Improve eye health.
  • Reduce inflammation and oxidative stress
  • Support heart health
  • Support dental and bone health
  • Promote healthy digestion
  • Support healthy brain function
  • Slow down aging
  • Healthy immune system 

What is asparagus good for?

Asparagus is a humble vegetable that is often underappreciated. It is an excellent source of nutrients and powerful antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. It boasts of vitamin B6, C, and E. Asparagus helps:

  • Lower blood pressure, thanks to the potassium that relaxes the walls of the blood vessels and excretes excess salts through urine.
  • Reduce the risk of cancer
  • Boosts brain function
  • Support a healthy pregnancy.
  • Dietary fiber improves your digestive health
  • Lose weight
  • Prevent UTI’s
  • Boost libido
  • Hangovers
  • Beat bloating
  • Boost mood

asparagus edible part

The edible part of asparagus is the tender spear-like shoots that emerge above the ground. These young shoots are typically harvested when they are 6 to 8 inches long and have tightly closed tips. The woody lower stems should be snapped or trimmed off before cooking.

What does asparagus taste like?

Describing the taste of asparagus is not simple as it has different tastes depending on the variety and how old it is. Many people describe green asparagus taste as slightly sweet, like green beans or broccoli. Younger asparagus have a mild taste compared to older ones which acquire a sour taste.

When it comes to varieties, the purple asparagus has an earthy and nutty taste that is more intense compared to that of green asparagus. The white asparagus on the other hand has a mild taste that is a bit bitter. But in general, asparagus has a very distinct earthy and grassy flavor with a slightly sweet taste. 

How much broccoli to eat per day?

Broccoli is a versatile vegetable, rich in vitamins and minerals. It can be incorporated into several dishes like salads, pasta dishes, and stir-fries. While there is no firm rule about how much broccoli to eat per day, 1-2 cups of fresh broccoli a day is a good guideline. This equals to around 90 to 150g for women and 125-175g for men. This amount will provide you with the nutrients you need. Consuming it in excess could potentially cause some side effects like gas and bowel irritation. 

How to eat raw broccoli?

Cooking broccoli eliminates some water-soluble vitamins. When enjoyed raw, it can cause some digestive issues like stomach upsets. If you are not sure how it will react to your digestion, it is better to use it in moderation. Here is how to enjoy your broccoli raw:

i. Clean and dry the broccoli

This is the most important step. Remove the tough outer leaves of the broccoli, rinse it under cold water and then pat it dry with a clean towel. The crevices can hold a lot of water so rotate the broccoli head as you pat it, without exerting excess pressure. If it is too dirty, leave it to soak in cold water for up to 3 minutes before drying it.

ii. Cut the broccoli florets

Cut the florets into bite-size pieces. If you want to include the stem, peel off the tough skin first and enjoy your raw broccoli as it is. You can enjoy it in some favorite ways like:

  • As a slaw

Save the broccoli stalks and cut them into cole slaw shred size then add green onions, shredded carrots, and raisins then top with yogurt-style dressing and seasoning. You can then serve it as a side dish, pocket sandwich, or vegetable wrap.

  • Topping

Take the broccoli buds and sprinkle them onto your baked potatoes, pasta, or salad. You will like the strong earthy flavor.

  • Pasta Salad

Cut the broccoli buds and mix with cold pasta salads and use a light oil dressing. You can mix the broccoli with zucchini, squash, or tomatoes.  

How to eat asparagus raw?

 Asparagus is easily digested when eaten raw. You also have to have in mind that raw asparagus will have a tougher outer skin.

i. Choose a fresh asparagus

Fresh asparagus will be more appealing when eaten raw. Check the flower end of the asparagus to determine if it is fresh. A fresh one will have a closed flower end.

ii. Rinsing the stalks

Rinse the asparagus in cold water and dry it with paper towels or shake off the excess water.

iii. Slice the stalk

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough fibrous skin of the asparagus. Slice off 1/4 inch of the stem end and the flower end as well. Cut thin stalks into bite-size pieces or thicker ones lengthwise.

iv. Add seasonings

After slicing the stalks, arrange them on a plate however you like. Season with salt, lemon juice, shaved parmesan, or pepper. You can also add the asparagus into a dressing of olive oil, chili powder, cumin, thyme, and garlic salt. You can even enjoy raw asparagus in your favorite fruit smoothie. 

Broccoli Nutritional Information 100g

A 100g raw broccoli serves:

Calories34 Kcal
Total fat0.4g
Total carbohydrate6.6g

When cooked, broccoli serves:

Total fat0.4g
Total carbohydrate7.2g

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Broccoli Should I Eat?

The recommended intake for broccoli is around one to two cups per day or around 90 to 150g for women and 125-175g for men.

What is the most nutritious part of asparagus?

Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food. The most nutritious part of asparagus is the flower end, which contains the highest concentration of vitamins and minerals.

Why does broccoli taste bitter?

The reason broccoli tastes bitter is because it contains glucosinolate compounds that are released when the vegetable is cut or chewed. You can reduce the bitterness by cooking the broccoli properly. This helps break down the compounds that cause the bitter taste. You can also add other ingredients to mask the bitterness, such as lemon juice or cheese. 

Final Words

These two vegetables are often compared due to their similar nutritional profiles, but you now understand the differences between asparagus and broccoli. Both vegetables are low in calories and fat, and high in fiber. They are also a good source of vitamins A, C, and K. However, there is some difference in the values. For instance, broccoli contains more vitamin C than asparagus. The taste and texture of the two are some key differences. All in all, these vegetables are a great addition to a healthy diet.

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