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Steamed Broccoli with Creamy Cilantro Lemon Dipping Sauce

It’s time to eat your vegetables!

I really haven’t been eating enough veggies lately.  Bacon? Plenty.  Chocolate chip cookies? Oh yeah!  Pizza? Three days worth.  Cinnamon buns? That was our dinner the other night.

Something’s seriously gotta change around here!  Granted, I have been cooking at home a lot lately.  But if I don’t get back to cooking some of my healthier recipes, I’m still gonna end up looking like I’ve been eating at McDonald’s every night!

And I know my body is getting sick of eating nothing but fat and sugar. Because yesterday, when I ran up to the market to grab some eggs, the broccoli cravings started.

Every once in a while, my body lets me know when it needs to get back on the green stuff.  I was walking past the produce on my way to eggs and I was stopped in my tracks by that huge pile of beautiful green broccoli.  My body was saying, “feed me broccoli NOW!”

So, I picked out some broccoli, grabbed the eggs, and headed home to feed the beast. I walked in the door, pulled out the pot with a steamer insert, washed and chopped the broccoli and had it steaming within about three minutes.  I was completely on autopilot, my body just wanted some vegetables immediately!

I don’t like my broccoli overcooked, so I steam it only until it’s bright green and just barely tender.  I ate the first pieces plain, with my fingers, right out of the steamer basket.

Once my body realized that I was actually feeding it good stuff, I was able to relax and think about what else I might eat for dinner. After ruling out bacon (only because I had already eaten it for breakfast), I decided that the rest of the pot of broccoli would do just fine for dinner, as long as I had some of my trusty dipping sauce!

Am I the only one who likes to eat steamed broccoli with my fingers?  Growing up, we always dipped our broccoli in mayonnaise (although I was probably forced to use a fork back then).  I still love broccoli with mayonnaise, but it’s not the healthiest option, right?

About a year ago, I started creating yogurt-based sauces for my broccoli and artichokes.  I still add a bit of mayo, but the sauces mainly consist of yogurt and chopped fresh herbs and lemon or lime juice. Usually I make them with whatever herbs I happen to have on hand, but the cilantro lemon sauce has definitely become a favorite!

Luckily I had all the ingredients to make my favorite one last night!  This sauce is so good with broccoli! But it’s also good for dipping artichoke leaves, and one night I realized that I like it with corn chips, too!  You could even use it for a salad dressing if you have any left over.

Creamy Cilantro Lemon Dipping Sauce

zest of one lemon*
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup thick yogurt**
1/4 teaspoon salt (plus more, to taste)
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

1. Whisk together first six ingredients and add more salt to taste if desired.
2. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste.
3. Serve alongside steamed broccoli or artichokes.

Yield: approx. 1 1/4 cups of sauce

Notes:  *A microplane grater is a lifesaver when it comes to zesting citrus fruit!  **I generally use a strained, greek-style yogurt for my sauces and dips, but it’s also easy to strain the liquid from a regular plain yogurt.
This is a fairly tart sauce so if you’re sensitive to puckering, you might want to scale back a bit on the lemon juice and zest.  I like to add LOTS of fresh ground pepper, but I didn’t measure how much.  Just do lots of tasting and season as you go!

For those of you just tuning in this month, I’m happy to say that I’m participating in the National Blog Posting Month challenge. For this year’s edition of NaBloPoMo, I’ve pledged to post a new recipe every single day for the month of November. If you don’t want to miss a recipe, sign up to receive my recipes by e-mail. You’ll only receive an e-mail when I write a new blog post, and your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose. Interested? Sign up now!

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