Some things just go better together: peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, and definitely broccoli and cheese.
Since both ingredients taste good and have few carbs, they work well as a keto side dish during the holidays.
You see a lot of side dishes around the holidays. But most are made with a lot of bread, sugar, or processed ingredients. These don’t exactly scream “healthy,” and won’t work if you’re limiting carbs in an effort to lose weight.
Here’s why you might try to eat more fats around the holidays, and why broccoli is a slam-dunk choice as a vegetable side dish.
All That Fat—It Does A Body Good
This holiday keto broccoli and cheese recipe contains five different ingredients primarily comprised of fat: three different kinds of cheese, heavy cream, dairy, and almond flour
Thirty years ago, when the high-carb diets were popular and fat was (supposedly) the top killer macro, this recipe wouldn't have been popular. Now, though, we understand that high-fat, low-carb diets do a whole lot of good for the body.
- More and more people are using ketogenic diets (a diet where about 70 percent of your daily calories come from fat) to lose weight [*]. (For example, one study in Business Insider found that 31% of people preferred a low-carb diet as a means to lose weight in 2019.)
- Low-carb, high-fat diets have a positive effect on health markers besides weight loss, such as cholesterol, body mass index, and triglycerides [*].
- Entering ketosis, a state where your body burns fat as its primary fuel source, has been shown to have positive effects on our metabolism [*]. (This means you could actually burn more energy or be burning more calories when you’re in ketosis.)
So if you want to lose weight, or just want to eat healthy around the holidays, don’t worry about your fat intake. High-fat diets have become popular for a reason: they work.
Plus, you’ve got one of the healthiest vegetables in the world as the focal point of this dish.
Broccoli: A Nutritional Powerhouse
For keto dieters, there isn’t a better vegetable out there than broccoli.
They are part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, close in relation to kale, cauliflower, bok choy, and other green, leafy veggies. All of these low-carb, fiber-packed veggies are great for a ketogenic diet.
Here are some of the health benefits of cruciferous veggies:
- The phytochemicals (read: tiny nutrients) in these veggies help reduce your risk of cancer (specifically lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer) [*]. Some of these phytochemicals are antioxidants. Antioxidants may stabilize or eliminate disease-causing damaged cells in your body.
- Fiber helps promote healthy gut bacteria and optimal digestive health [*]. Dietary fiber is an insoluble food derived from plants. Fiber feeds the millions of bacteria in your gut. And the more scientists study gut health, the more we realize how important it is. Healthy gut bacteria have been linked to mental health, regulation of your immune system, and metabolic function [*][*].
- They’re packed with vitamins, which benefit your health in many specific ways. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain liberal amounts of vitamin C, E, K, and folate. Vitamin K, for example, keeps your circulatory and skeletal systems healthy [*].
As you can see, these little green trees fit the bill in terms of nutrition. Top it off with a crunchy layer, and everyone will love this recipe.
Delicious Keto Broccoli and Cheese Recipe
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar
- 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar
- 8 ounces colby jack
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1½ cups almond flour
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Shred all the cheeses together and set aside.
- In another bowl, combine the almond flour and paprika and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add half a cup of almond flour. Make sure it is completely combined.
- Slowly add in the heavy cream. Add in salt and pepper to the mixture.
- Once the mixture starts to simmer, add in the grated cheese and stir frequently. Keep stirring until all the cheese is melted and you’re left with a thick base.
- In an oven-safe dish, add in your broccoli and pour in the cheese mixture. Top the cheese with the almond flour and paprika mix.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the almond flour crust is golden brown.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings