HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Help me like broccoli

I love vegetables, but I have to admit, when it comes to broccoli, I'm just as wary as I was as a kid. I tolerate broccoli in pasta, but I haven't found any recipes that get me excited. How do you cook broccoli? If you have a healthy and delicious recipe, please share!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I steam and then sprinkle a bit o sea salt. That's it.

    But then I love broccoli ...

      1. Roast Broccoli is my new favorite - initially I was afraid of the strong flavor of cumin overpowering everything but the spices add a really subtle dimension to the vegetables. same with the chili powder - this isn't a spicy dish at all.

        2 lbs broccoli cut into 2" pieces
        2 T olive oil
        1 tsp coriander
        1 tsp cumin
        1 tsp kosher salt
        1 t black pepper
        1/8 tsp chili powder

        preheat oven to 425
        toss broccoli with oil and spices
        spread broccoli on a single layer on baking sheet
        roast 20 mins, toss and roast another 10 mins

        the broccoli should be brown and crispy on the tips, so don't worry if it looks like you 'burnt' them - this adds great nutty flavor and crunch to the soft florettes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kasiav

          Ah! This is the roast broccoli and shrimp recipe from The NY Times, isn't it? Minus the shrimp. Great, easy recipe.

        2. I'm with you, but Broccoli roasted is a revelation. Try this, you'll love it!!

          1 Pound Broccoli, rinsed and left wet
          2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, more as necessary
          2 Cloves Garlic, minced
          Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
          1/3 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
          ¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

          Cut the Broccoli Florets into bite size pieces. Cut the stalks into 1/8” thick rounds. Place all in a mixing bowl, add the Oil and Salt and Pepper. Toss to cover. Add the Panko and toss to combine. Place all in a 9”x13” baking dish and bake in a preheated 425 degree F oven until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese, toss and serve immediately.

          3 Replies
          1. re: skeip

            How funny--you and Gio posted very similar recipes at the same time! :) What a great idea--will try yours because I LOVE garlic, panko and grated cheese (we usually use Romano, but no matter). Thank you both for a new way to do broccoli.

            1. re: kattyeyes

              Well you know... great minds and all that..... Actually anything tastes better roasted with EVOO, S&P, cheese, and Red Pepper Flakes! And that's the truth.

            2. re: skeip

              I use Italian bread crumbs mostly but great way to start to like it.

            3. Roast it. Pre heat oven to 400F. After rinsing, slice off the florets and the bottom of the stem. Peel the stem and slice into bite size pieces. Put all on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea or Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven and place the baking sheet on the rack. Roast for about 15 minutes or until the broccoli begins to brown around the edges. Shake the pan once or twice during the roasting. Somepeople like to sprinkle with freshly grated cheese but I don"t. I think you'll be surprised to find that the broccoli has a nice sweet-ish flavor....

              1 Reply
              1. re: Gio

                yep, me too. Roasted with olive oil, salt, red pepper flake. So good.

              2. Learning to love a vegetable is much easier when it is in season, in your area. When the produce is as good as it ever will be, we learn to enjoy. When it is out-of-season, if we already like it, we can tolerate the less than perfect heads that are offered in the market.

                You might try all of these recipes in-season, learn to love [or at least tolerate] broccoli. I think you would find enjoying it throughout the year easier after experiencing it at its peak.

                1. Admittedly this is weird, but I microwave it covered with a little water, a generous topping of grated blue cheese and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. If I can't find pulverized pepper flakes, I grind the big flakes in a coffee grinder. The blue cheese provides the salt and accent flavor.

                  I like it cooked relatively soft. Yeah I know its not politically correct.

                  1. I also recommend roasting - it gives broccoli a much better flavor. I just drizzle with a decent olive oil and lemon pepper seasoning before puttting it in a 400 degree oven. I would love to tell you how long but I gauge it by sight. After I roast it I add my garlic and/or red pepper flakes depending on whether it is just the vegetabel side dish or becomes part of a pasta dish. I add the garlic afterwards while the broccoli is still hot because I hate the taste of burned garlic and at high temperature it can burn easily.

                    1. Cheese. Everything tastes better with cheese!
                      Use it in stir-fry, souffle, and fritattas

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: monavano

                        Mmmm cheese. Melted cheese over broccoli is as wonderful as roasted broccoli. Roasted broccoli with cheese...almost as good as cheese fries.

                      2. I have another one too. Boil it, smash it with garlic, chicken stock, sour cream and salt and pepper. Like mashed potatotes. Got this from Tyler Florence's first book, Real Kitchen. Yum.

                        1. Try to get fresh, younger broccoli (check the bottom of the stem and make sure it's not brown or pulling apart in the middle). Don't over cook it, and cut it into small pieces. I like mine all kinds of ways, but with a little butter is nice. Try the stalk - peel the outer tough part and then cut into slivers. They are tasty and crunchy.
                          The easiest way is to just blanch them - put some water in a large pan and boil, add broccoli pieces and cook until the tops turn bright. Strain, serve topped with some butter. YUM. Another way I like it without butter is if you use some seasoning in the water (or stock) that you cook the broccoli in. I have a Thai seasoning that's great (it's in one of those little glass spice bottles on the spice aisle at the supermarket).

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: akq

                            Speaking of the stem, don't overlook it...if you peel off the outer tough layer, the stem or stalk can be used in stir-fries or as a dipper for hummus, in soups, all kinds of ways...it tastes somewhat radish-y to me! Love it! I realize that this is a reach for muffybear who endeavors to even like the floret part of the broccoli, but I can't help mentioning the stalks, too!

                            1. re: Val

                              I don't think that's a stretch at all, Val. The stems are usually milder in flavor, and they don't have the furry texture that I think is at the heart of some people's disdain for the vegetable.

                              Plus, if you've had them overcooked too many times in the past, it can be hard to open your mind to any cruciferous vegetable, I've found.

                              1. re: Val

                                Here's a whole thread on what to do with broccoli stems (and how glorious they are): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/550861

                            2. Well, it may be that your palate it somewhat sensitive to flavor changes as broccoli is stored.

                              I love *very* fresh broccoli - broccoli that has been harvested within a day or so. Ditto for brussels sprouts. (I love cabbage, btw, so it's not an issue with brassicas)

                              But after that, I notice that the quality of flavor declines. I am not alone in noticing this problem.

                              I also detest the latter day American tendency to barely cook green vegetables. My tastes lean somewhat more Italian - green vegetables should at least be tender and no longer be dominated by the taste of chlorophyll.

                              You may peel the stalk, btw - that may help you....

                              I approve of roasting vegetables.

                              1. Select fresh, not-too-mature stalks. Peel the skin off the stems. Important: soak broccoli in clear water for at least a half hour (but better an hour) prior to cooking it! The longer you soak, the less "cabbagey" (and less gassy) it'll be.

                                I par-cook the broccoli just until it's bright green in well-salted boiling water. Then saute in olive oil and garlic. You'll think you're eating a different vegetable. Broccoli cooked this way also is great tossed with pasta - just toss the pasta into the pan with the broccoli to heat through... add Asiago cheese shreds before serving for something different, and pass the freshly ground black pepper every time.

                                1. Love the idea of roasting broccoli. I intend to try that soonest. I love broccoli steamed in the micro. And I like to make a salad with it sometimes. I use sweet onions, slices of red grapes, some chopped celery, a few nuts and bacon bits along with coarsely chopped broccoli. I dress it with a lightly sweetened mayo/yogurt dressing. Let the flavors develop before eating. I prefer this to potato salad--even my potato salad.

                                  1. grilled with a touch of pesto.

                                    1. I'm just curious - do you dislike any form (raw, cooked, cooked well done) most? For me, I LOVE broccoli, so long as it's cooked. I'm not a fan of raw broccoli - I'll eat it if that's what's available at a party or something, but it's not a first choice by any stretch.

                                      I know it kills nutrients, but I LOVE overcooking my broccoli til it browns just a tad, and that brown adds so much flavor... I just cooked it in a dish in the microwave with a little water, so it doesn't burn or cook to the dish.

                                      I agree to try roasting it will garlic, or even marinate in some balsamic and grill it.

                                      I also make a healthy souffle if you're interested in the details...

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Emme

                                        hi emme - i would love to get the details of the souffle you mentioned thanks!

                                        1. re: vballgal

                                          It's sort of a taste-as-you-go, but cook broccoli til well done, then combine in blender with some Lipton's onion soup mix or other spice mix if you prefer, skim ricotta, skim sour cream (i use fat free for both given my audience), egg whites, salt and pepper... whirl til smooth, then put in a greased souffle dish and bake... light, fluffy and lean!

                                      2. my favorite (and close behind is roasting) is a quick stir fry with Braggs Liquid Amino (healthier soy sauce). Fresh grated parm or romano at the end or if you stir fry it with other vegies (cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms), then throw this stir fry over brown rice with some grated jack cheese or motz. Add a little Spike seasoning and you have my favorite comfort food.

                                        I use the stem too, just sliced and tossed in with the floretts when stir frying.

                                        1. My mom NEVER EVER made broccoli. First time I had it was when an Asian roommate in college made stir fries and dim sum. She always peeled the stem and it was never overcooked. Makes a huge difference.

                                          Also, broccoli in a tempura is fantastic.

                                          1. Why not try broccolini? I think it is more palatable (less bite) to those that are turned off by traditional broccoli. It's a cross between broccoli and gai lan, a chinese chard (i think).

                                            I blanch it, dry it on some paper towels and then saute it in olive oil w/ some fresh garlic and then serve as a side or toss w/ spaghetti for a meal.

                                            1. Chop up broccoli, separating (peeled) stalks from florets. Saute w/ garlic & anchovies -- first the (peeled/chopped) stalks and then the florets. Boil pasta (orichette are best), stir some pasta water into broccoli and cover and steam. Serve w/ romano cheese. This is easy and addictive.
                                              You don't get any of that metallic/off flavor that happens w/ steaming.

                                              1. fresh raw broccoli salad, done with a sweet-sour dressing, red-skinned spanish peanuts, red onions and raisins -- some add crumbled crispy bacon. like this: http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1743,...

                                                better when it sits for a while. do wait to add peanuts until just before serving, if you like 'em crunchy.

                                                in fact, i'm making this salad today.

                                                12 Replies
                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  That'd be a nice dressing for broccoli slaw, too, wouldn't it?!

                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                    yes, indeedy! letting broccoli sit to marinate/meld a while once you've added the dressing makes a big difference.

                                                  2. re: alkapal

                                                    Love this salad, one of my favorites.I like to use golden raisins, or cranberries. Or grapes even, and sunflower seeds, never tried the spanish peanuts, nice. I can eat buckets of it. You're right, It is better the next day. I think we like crunchy stuff ap, ever notice that?

                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                      I prefer golden raisins, too, or cranberries, since you mention...isn't that sort of silly? Is it that "regular" raisins actually taste different, or is it all in my head? ;) Then again, dip a plain ol' raisin in chocolate and it's another story entirely. Seems to me golden raisins are softer, though. Is this just me? I will probably try with walnuts or almonds.

                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                        Love golden raising. Golden raising, with cranberries, cauliflower and broccoli with a warm sweet honey vinaigrette topped with grated pecans I serve for the holidays. The Christmas thing and all. It still is a good dish.

                                                        Golden raisins are the best. I get a small container and eat the whole thing.

                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                          Don't forget to try those holiday carrots I mentioned--golden raisins, diced apricots and steamed carrots tossed with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. ;) There is something about the golden ones, I agree.

                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                            I copied and printed. Sounds very good, I love the cinnimon. Carrots I eat a lot.

                                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                                              It is a nice dish even for non-veggie lovers. My old next-door neighbor taught me how to make it. You can add nutmeg, too, if you wish.

                                                    2. re: alkapal

                                                      i just made this salad this evening. mr. alka does not go for veggies, but he said he "loves" this broccoli salad. i used broccoli crowns, but cut into small florets -- and then cut those into quarters. i use the tender stems by dicing into 1/8" (i'm guessing) pieces. just the tender stems added 1/3 more volume to the salad. waste not, want not.

                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                        nice, i prefer the stems actually. I peel the stems, do you?

                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                          I love stems and never peel but big stems I usually just set aside and keep for soup. Later this week I use my leftover asparagus and broccoli stems. FL we are blessed with year round veggies. The end of every week, usually sunday I make a soup. Almost every sunday. I use left over parts of onions, broccoli, asparagus stems, left over peppers and tomatoes etc. Usually put most in a broth and then use some left over veggies for a coup. Misc pasta or rice and maybe a cup or so of meat. Maybe chicken or beef. Right now I have chicken. It is a great lunch for the week, easy, quick. Left over carrot tops and ends of celery are good too.

                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                            chef c, these i didn't need to peel as the broccoli was pretty much just the crown section. but if i had more of the stalk section, i'd peel that, then dice. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/550861

                                                      2. Broccoli soup. General idea...saute some onions in olive oil/whatever. Meanwhile parboil/boil up some chopped fresh broccolli . Drain, add to pot with onions..chicken broth...get out the ole' hand blender..blend up to desired consistancy. Finally, add some milk..spices (I like seasoned salt). and simmer. Add cheese if you like.( iusually have it without cheese) .It's a pretty light cream of broccoli soup..very tasty. As with most soups it tastes better the next day.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: rochfood

                                                          broccoli soup is so tasty -- and easy too. mom loves it with cheese: broccoli cheddar.

                                                          1. re: rochfood

                                                            Yes this is the way to get people to love broccoli, my boys dad didn't like it, so I made cream of brocolli soup, he loved it. Good choice.

                                                          2. Steamed, butter, s/p

                                                            Roasted with olive oil, s/p and a dash of red pepper

                                                            Baked with olive oil and parm, yummy

                                                            I like a baked casserole with mushrooms, onions, baby new potatoes and broccoli with a light bechemel sauce and some grated fresh gruyere

                                                            Broccoli soup ... NOT that CHEESEY kind. A nice broth based with some good pasta some roasted red peppers and some fresh tomatoes.

                                                            Broccoli quiche ... Again with some smoked gouda, some pancetta and roasted onions give a good depth of flavor.

                                                            Broccoli ravioli and pancetta and ricotta makes a great filling with a simple gruyere cheese sauce.

                                                            Also broccoli, chicken and wanuts with fontina is a great filling and then topped with a simple light broth base soup and topped with scallions and some additional grated cheese.

                                                            Also, I steam mine, add a mix of honey, soy, rice wine vinegar, garlic, roasted red pepper, water chestnuts, thin sliced carrots and scallions and just toss and serve chilled.

                                                            1. Would you go for tempura? You could make a mix of broccoli, carrot or sweet potato/yam and shrimp. The batter is wonderful with vegtables, light and doesn't weigh the veggie down. Oooooo now I want tempura.

                                                              1. The issue for me is freshness. I can't stand week old supermarket broccoli, but I love fresh from the CSA or garden.

                                                                I would try steamed, with hollandaise , roasted or Tempura.

                                                                Also a classic Beef with Broccoli Hunan Style stir fry.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: wallyz

                                                                  Beef or chicken and broccoli with garlic is a good mix. Not too bad for a wanna be broccoli lover.

                                                                2. Sesame broccoli is a great side. Bread crumbs with a little sesame seeds, some sesame oil and baked. A good simple side.

                                                                  1. there was a great raw broccoli salad in the NY times awhile back. I just made it for the first time this week and it was very good. Basically you let the broccoli marinate in a little vinegar, then sautee oil, garlic, hot pepper flakes and maybe something else and dump over the broccoli. The recipie suggests letting it marinate for quite a while, even overnight but I forgot to make it ahead of time and it only had about an hour to sit. It was very tasty, and didn't have that raw broccoli feel that I thought it might. I dont think I can get the recipie from NYtimes on line so if anyone else can post the link that would be great, otherwise I can get the recipie and give more specifics if you are interested...

                                                                    1. KISS.

                                                                      cook any way you like and douse in balsamic vinegar

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: purple goddess

                                                                        love broccoli :^)
                                                                        trim the florets and stems in bite-sized pieces; bring water to boil, add broccoli and when water resumes boiling, drain; for tender crisp veggies. Serve with mayonnaise mixed with soy sauce to taste and perhaps, a squeeze of fresh lemon, too.

                                                                      2. Order it in a good Chinese restaurant -- either as a vegetable side dish, or in something like beef & broccoli. It's rarely overcooked, and the salty sauces make it absolutely delicious. (Just like tofu: even people who don't like it will eat it in Chinese food.)

                                                                        Then, if you like it, find a good stir-fry recipe.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: piccola

                                                                          Piccola, that's a such good point and idea, they always make broccoli so delicious. Can't go wrong!

                                                                        2. Blanch in boiling salted water till tender drain into iced water ,,,when ready saute in good e.v.o.o. season w/ salt and pepper,add juice of a lemon ur good to go..if you like next time get more creative with adding Parmigiano Cheese light crumbs,,