When I was a kid I hated broccoli. Like Brussels sprouts, another often-unappreciated brassica, broccoli's reputation has been marred by decades of bad steaming and boiling. Overcooked broccoli is an abomination, with a mushy texture and a flavor that is somehow both bland and off-tasting. But at its best, broccoli has a firm texture and sweet, nutty flavor that works well in salads, stir-fries, and even on pizza. From basic roasted broccoli and broccoli salad with sardines to broccoli-cheese soup that tastes like more than just cheese, keep reading for 15 of our favorite broccoli recipes.
Poorly cooked broccoli turns mushy and sulfurous-smelling, but doing it right isn't hard. The key to perfect roasted broccoli is super-high heat, which brings out its nutty sweetness. We like to preheat the baking sheet before adding the broccoli to make it cook even faster. You can flip the broccoli halfway through to brown it evenly, but you also can just leave it be to achieve maximum crispiness.
The secret to this cheesy baked potato is that it isn't actually made with any cheese. Instead we use our vegan nacho cheese sauce made with vegetable shortening, almond milk, cashews, and potato. Once the sauce is ready to go, all you have to do is mix in blanched broccoli florets, spoon everything over baked potatoes, and garnish with scallions.
This filling one-pot dinner combines quinoa with broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, plus a healthy spoonful of curry powder for a little kick. Like broccoli, cauliflower takes on a wonderfully nutty flavor when you cook it at high heat—we caramelize both of the veggies and then remove them from the pot and reserve them until the end so they don't overcook. Serve with a half-cup each of cilantro and microgreens to brighten up the dish.
Broccoli plays an important role in this recipe, but the star is definitely the tofu. We dry it thoroughly and coat it with the same batter we use for Korean fried chicken, which fries up into a crust that stays shatteringly crisp even after you toss the tofu with a sauce made of Chinese rice wine, soy sauce, fermented black bean sauce, sugar, stock, and toasted sesame oil.
Broccoli stems all too often end up in the trash, but they deserve your respect. The outsides of the stems are too tough to eat, but if you peel them you'll discover their delicious interiors. In this salad, we pair the crunchy stems with lightly blanched florets for textural contrast, then toss the broccoli with bitter radicchio and a bold basil-pistachio vinaigrette.
This salad gives broccoli and cheese a sophisticated twist by charring the broccoli and replacing the gooey yellow cheese with a blanket of shaved Manchego. Crunchy toasted hazelnuts and floral honey add two more unexpected notes to the dish. In a similar spirit to the recipe above, we make sure to leave a good bit of the stem attached to the florets.
This recipe goes a little more classic with the broccoli and cheese combination, but unlike most bowls of broccoli cheese soup you can actually taste the broccoli. We bring out its flavor by using both simmered stems and seared florets. We don't forget about the cheese, though—grated sharp Cheddar and chunks of American make the soup plenty rich.
This isn't your average cream of broccoli soup. For one thing, we roast the broccoli to give it a deeper, more complex flavor. We also don't use any cream—buttermilk thickens the soup while also adding a bright, tangy flavor that complements the brassica. A little crunch always makes soup more interesting, so we top this one with roasted pepitas.
Broccoli isn't the most common pizza topping, but it shouldn't be overlooked. Kale and Brussels sprouts have become staples of trendy pizza places, so why not add a third brassica to the mix? The key is to cut the broccoli into very small florets—our pizza dough only takes five minutes to cook, which isn't enough time to caramelize larger pieces.
This golden-brown galette takes inspiration from the classic combination of broccoli and cheese we loved when we were kids. The free-form pie features sautéed broccoli and onions tossed in a rich and creamy Gruyère cheese sauce.
Speaking of broccoli and cheese, here's a take on the classic that really improves upon those familiar flavors. In this version, we sear thick-cut pieces of broccoli in a hot cast-iron skillet, then pair them with a creamy, super-easy Taleggio cheese sauce. As if that's not enough, the broccoli is finished with a gremolata made using the leftover broccoli stems, olive oil, jalapeño, garlic, and lemon zest.
One of my all-time favorite quick lunches, this simple salad combines nutty charred broccoli with oil-packed canned sardines, quick-pickled shallots, and fresh mint. The whole thing comes together in just half an hour—the most time-consuming part is cooking the broccoli in batches to keep the pan hot. The good news is that charring all the broccoli gives the shallots just enough time to pickle.
Beef and broccoli is a standard at Chinese-American restaurants. It's usually served over rice, but here we mix it with lo mein instead. We add a little water to the wok as the broccoli cooks because the steam brings out its bright green color and then finish with a simple sauce made with sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt, sugar, and Shaoxing wine.
A typical tortilla española is made with potatoes, which you slowly cook until totally tender. This twist on the dish replaces the potatoes with broccoli, which also cooks down beautifully (after a quick sear). A couple of ounces of Spanish chorizo isn't strictly necessary, but when has chorizo not made something more delicious?
Broccolini is daintier than regular broccoli, making it a great option for grilling—but we don't grill it like you might grill a steak. Instead, we cook the stems directly over the intense heat of the chimney starter, so the vegetable remains snappy and fresh. The broccolini will be cooked through and juicy by the time it crisps up on the outside. We finish it with a generous amount of XO sauce for a savory punch of flavor.
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