Roasted Broccoli with Crispy Baked Tofu and Honey Sesame Glaze

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that has been associated with a reduction in the risk of various forms of cancer including lung, colon, breast, and prostate. Additionally, some evidence suggests that eating broccoli improves control of diabetes and reduces the development of cardiovascular disease.

Sulforaphane is the component felt to be responsible for these benefits. It can block the function of an enzyme called HDAC which has been associated with cancer cell growth. Sulforaphane is produced from a precursor component of broccoli by an enzyme called myrosinase, which is activated when raw broccoli is cut or chewed. While sulforaphane and its precursor are heat-resistant, myrosinase is destroyed by heat. So it’s important to cook your broccoli after sulforaphane has already formed!

To accomplish this, simply cut up the broccoli and wait for about 30 minutes prior to cooking. This allows enough time for the myronsinase enzymatic reaction to occur and the sulforaphane to form. If you buy broccoli pre-chopped,  sulforaphane will already have formed and you can cook it immediately!

Interestingly, frozen broccoli is flash-cooked prior to freezing with the sole intent being to deactivate enzymes in order to prolong the shelf life. As such, the myrosinase enzyme is destroyed as part of the processing, and the heated broccoli will not contain the beneficial sulforaphane. One way of getting around this is to sprinkle the frozen broccoli with myrosinase-containing mustard powder prior to cooking, which enables the production of sulforaphane.

Broccoli is also a good source of folate and vitamins K and C. Vitamin K reduces bone fractures by improving calcium absorption. Vitamin C helps with collagen formation and thus reduces the appearance of wrinkles and reverses sun-associated skin damage.

However you like it prepared, make sure to frequently include broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables into your diet!

Read more about tofu on this page.


Ware, Megan RDN. “The many health benefits of broccoli”. Medical News Today. December 8, 2017.

Greger, Michael, M.D. How Not TO Die. New York. Flatiron Books. 2015.


  • 1¼ cup brown rice, preferably short grain (can substitute other grains such as quinoa)
  • 1 large head broccoli. Original recipe called for brussels sprouts which can be used in place of broccoli.
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • Fine grain sea salt

Extra crispy baked tofu

  • 1 (15 ounce) block of organic extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch

Spicy honey-sesame glaze

  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey (maple syrup also works)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • Garnish
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Big handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Sliced green onions (scallions)


Prepare rice (or other grain) per instructions.

Drain the tofu and use your palms to gently squeeze out some of the water. Slice the tofu in half lengthwise so you have two one-inch thick slabs. Transfer the tofu to a plate lined with a lint-free tea towel or paper towels. Fold the towel over one tofu slab, then place the other slab on top.  Top with more towel and place something heavy on top to help the tofu drain.

While tofu is resting, chop the head of broccoli into bite-sized stalks (or purchase pre-chopped from the store) and arrange on large baking sheet.

Transfer the drained and pressed tofu to a cutting board. Slice 4 long columns and 4 rows on each slab (should make little squares).

Whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil and soy sauce and mix with tofu to coat. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch over the tofu, and toss the tofu until the starch is evenly incorporated (no powdery spots remaining). Arrange the tofu in an even layer on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper for easier cleanup).

To bake the broccoli and tofu: Transfer the sheet of broccoli to the lower oven rack, and the sheet of tofu to the top rack. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing the contents of each pan halfway through cooking, until the tofu is a deep golden color on the edges. Depending on the size of the broccoli, and how cooked you enjoy it, it might be done in 10-15 minutes!

To make the glaze: In a small saucepan, whisk together the glaze ingredients (start with 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce or sriracha and add more to taste). Bring the glaze to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring often and reducing heat as necessary, until the glaze is thickened.

To toast the sesame seeds: Pour the sesame seeds into a small pan. Toast for about 4 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning, until the seeds are turning golden and starting to make popping noises.

To assemble: Divide rice onto four plates. Top each plate with broccoli and tofu and drizzle with glaze. Finish each plate with a very generous sprinkling of sesame seeds and a small handful of chopped cilantro and sliced green onions.