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Time for some new ideas about broccoli....

Every health article these days says to eat more broccoli. Although I really like it, I am tired of steamed broccoli. Any ideas on how to spice this vegetable up without smothering it in cheese?

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  1. Toss lightly with olive oil and salt and roast at 400F.

    5 Replies
      1. re: LaLa

        Roasted broccoli is my favorite way to prepare. I usually sprinkle it with some cheese right when it comes out of the oven. A tsp or so of parmesean really goes a long way.

        1. re: cheesecake17

          It's nice to if you toss with a bit of lemon zest before you roast it then finish it with lemon juice.

          1. re: daily_unadventures

            I've done that too- with lemon, lime, and orange.

      2. re: leanneabe

        I roast it with garlic and crushed red pepper. It barely stands a chance of making it off the sheet pan when it comes out. you could also try grilling florets on skewers over charcoal.

      3. I like to grill blanched broccoli with some grill seasoning..another favorite is to wrap in bacon or procuitto and grill or broil....

        1. Yes, roasted is nice as leane says... but just now, I sauteed some fresh broccoli with crushed garlic in olive oil...added a few sprays of Bragg's liquids instead of salt and then added about a teaspoon of chili-garlic sauce...unbelievable...put it with some brown rice for a nice dinner.

          1. Make friends with the stems. They're endlessly versatile, and a lot of people who don't like broccoli because of the texture of the florets really enjoy the stems.

            I make matchsticks and stir-fry them with some garlic and chili, usually pairing them with another vegetable of similar density. Bamboo shoots are great.

            Also, don't forget broccoli slaw, also best with the stems. In fact, the pre-packaged stuff that has some carrot and sometimes red cabbage thrown in can be awfully good too.

            1. Steam it, then add your favorite salad dressing (a tsp per cup of broccoli) and toss, serving either hot or cold. Also, something as simple as combining it with a vegetable of a different color gives it more eye-appeal. Tonight I had some with butter beans and low-fat ranch dressing.

              Shred raw broccoli stems and use in slaw with or instead of cabbage or carrot.

              1. another vote for roasted...you can season it so many ways. tow of my favorites are tahini dressing or curry sauce.

                here are some additional ideas:

                and if you look at some of the cauliflower threads, a lot of the preparations work beautifully with broccoli as well...

                1. Saute it without steaming/parboiling over a good medium, medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil and crushed red pepper, tossing in a bit of chopped garlic toward the end. Let the broccoli get nice and brown, even a little black. Outta sight.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: eight_inch_pestle


                    I did this recently, adding a little smoked paprika at the end. Tasty.

                    1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                      that was my suggestion ~~ also, peel the stems.

                    2. Two ways of braising, both using a 5-qt. pot: first, cut bacon into medium dice and fry until frizzly in a bit of olive oil. Have the broccoli cut up bite-size, including the peeled stalks, salt and toss in the hot fat with the bacon. *Add a splash of white wine, broth or both, put the lid on, shake periodically over just enough heat to keep the steam coming for 15-20 minutes. Second method: broccoli cut the same, toss in hot olive oil with some salt. When it's starting to cook, drizzle over about 1/4 cup olive oil with a good lot (maybe a tablespoon) of anchovy paste beaten into it, proceed from * above.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Will Owen

                        Broccoli is GREAT breaded and deep fried. Although that may be worse than smothering it in cheese. . .

                      2. I do not purchase broccoli EVER and I always have a difficult time remembering the proper spelling of it too. I am, however, drawn to this particular recipe for some inexplicable reason, and I keep it handy for when I might feel adventurous. Don't get me wrong ... I don't dislike broccoli, I just prefer broccoli rabe, that's all.

                        Ritz Broccoli Recipe
                        Mix together until blended:
                        4 eggs
                        1 cup mayonnaise
                        1 can cream of mushroom
                        Thaw and drain 20 oz broccoli flowerettes (or use fresh) .
                        Stir into first mixture and pour into a buttered 13 x 9 baking dish.
                        Dot top of dish with a stick of butter.
                        Crush 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers and mix with 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
                        Sprinkle over the casserole.
                        Bake at 350 for 45 min

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                          OK: I could feel my arteries clogging up just reading this recipe:
                          4 eggs AND 1 C mayo AND 1 can soup AND 1 stick butter AND 1 cup cheese?
                          Oh my! :)

                          I am sure this dish is dear to your heart Cheese boy, but in this day and age, I think a suggestion like eight_inch's above sounds waaay tastier and better.

                          To eight inch's recipe I would add a pinch of cumin powder and coriander powder.

                          1. re: Rasam

                            Rasam, with some trepidation I WILL one day attempt the Ritz broccoli recipe only when I know there will be enough people to share in the love ... and the LDL.

                            1. re: Cheese Boy

                              Cheese Boy, this was my MIL's signature dish for feast days. I first had it in 1975 in North Carolina.

                              I'm nostalgically curious as to where you got this recipe. Did it begin as an "official" recipe circulated by Ritz, even printed on the box?

                              Though the ingredients are heavy in fat and calories, the baked eggs give it a quiche/custard springy texture that is delightful. I make it once a year, and it freezes well in small 3x3 servings for nuking, so you can spread out the arterial damage over time.

                              You can cut some of the fat by using lowfat mayo (IMO the ONLY acceptable use of lowfat mayo is as an emulsifier in baked goods). And, the full stick of butter "dotted across the top" can be reduced to 2 tbs melted then tossed in the crumbled topping crackers, then adding cheese.

                              That being said, the beloved departed MIL would add some crushed ritz and some cheddar to the custard matrix, along with dashes of hot sauce to increase the sharpness.

                              Also, this is one dish where "frozen chopped broccoli" is preferable to fresh. Precook the frozen broccoli, and after it is baked it will offer no resistance to the spoon as you cut thru the finished custard.

                              Over the years I've played with "adding more stuff", as in shredded chicken, rice, sliced mushrooms, etc. It detracts from the beauty of the original. The problem is that any solids give resistence to the mushy springy mouthfeel that the custard and overcooked broccoli have. Even a minced duxelle didn't seem right. No minced onions: they weep and form islands.

                              At present iteration, 35 years AFC (After First Consumption), I'm adding a heaping TBS of powdered shiitake dust (rehydrated with a dash of vinegar and water, then stirred into the COM soup), and 1/4 tsp onion powder.

                          2. re: Cheese Boy

                            My mother makes this recipe but swaps a jar of Cheeze Wiz for the mayo. I'm not sure where she got the recipe but it is disgustingly delicious.

                            1. re: just_M

                              @Just_M and @FoodFuser, I have no idea where I got this recipe from because I didn't save the URL this time around -- my apologies. I agree that the recipe sounds disgustingly delicious and maybe even more so with the Cheez Whiz . The powdered shiitake add-in along with the 1/4 tsp of onion powder add-in sounds like we have two winners there as well. I simply have to try this recipe now. Thank you. : )

                              1. re: Cheese Boy

                                Not wanting to be a culinary curmudgeon, but my 35 years experience with this dish tells me that subbing Cheez Whiz for mayo will defeat the springy texture to which I've been alluding.

                                However, I will admit to a lifetime lack of experience with CheezWhiz.

                                The original MIL used Dukes mayo. I felt her tremble in her grave when I first tried to lighten the recipe a few years ago with lowfat mayo (not available in her era), but it passed the final texture test.

                                If I am ever condemned to a truncated lifespan of "one year to live" by medical authorities, I will revert to the original Dukes and eat this dish twice a week.

                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                  Mayo and Cheese Wiz do have very different textures and I'm not sure springy describes mom's, but it does seem to fluff. Someday I'll have to try MIL's version.

                                  1. re: just_M

                                    My defense and espousal of MIL's mayo version is based purely on family nostalgia. I shall endorse its taste and texture, but I will not submit it to the American Heart Association for their approval.

                                    My present day broc/cabbage preps are extremely heart healthy, But it's fun on occasion to nestle in the bosom of the good family feasts that we had in front of fireplace.

                                  2. re: FoodFuser

                                    These are making me chuckle. A person who used to be in my family--the relationship includes ex-, step-, and in-law, to make clear the degrees of remove:)--and who truly seemed to find suspect, if not immoral, people who enjoyed cooking or eating--not to mention what she thought of those of us who ate garlic, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and on and on . . .

                                    Well, as you might surmise on your own, this person wasn't much of a cook, but once for a holiday dinner, she made a cauliflower and broccoli dish that was really tasty. Ever trying to please this person or trying to find something to talk about, I told her how much I liked it and asked for the recipe. She actually told me she couldn't quite remember the ingredients (!) or remember what cookbook it may have come from, and it was clear that that was the end of the subject. A couple nights later (we were guests, by family obligation), I did something I'm loath to confess, even now: after she was clearly asleep, I sneaked into her kitchen and looked for evidence of cookbooks; in a cabinet, I spied a recipe file box, took it out, and sure enough, found an index card w/the recipe. I was very surprised at the ingredients.

                                    Although I pride myself on my cooking and generally eschew recipes with canned soups, processed foods, and generic "curry powder," I still make this once in a while and still love it. It is one of my guilty-- on many levels--pleasures. I've renamed it, but give the original recipe as smuggled.

                                    "Snoop's Shame: Curried Cauliflower and Broccoli Casserole"

                                    Preheat oven to 300. Butter a large casserole dish, and put enough steamed broccoli and/or cauliflower, in one layer, to fill. Blend 1 T. curry powder, 2 cans of condensed cream of celery (or cream of chicken) soup, 2/3 c. mayonnaise, and 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese. Spoon mixture over vegetables. Sprinkle 1/2 c. plain breadcrumbs on top, and bake for 30 minutes.

                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                      funny story!

                                      i wonder if a dash of soy sauce might be good in that dish
                                      (because of the magic that happens with mayo, curry powder & soy -- like for that great, popular chicken salad -- made with almonds, grapes and served in a pineapple).

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        Why not? I'll have to try it next time.

                              2. I chopped some up very fine the other day, sauteed with with diced chicken, mixed in goat cheese and seasoning and used it to stuff a roasted portobello. Yummy!

                                1. Another fan of roasting here. I like to squeeze fresh lemon juice over it and sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese over it.

                                  1. Saute some garlic in olive oil. Add chopped anchovy and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook just until anchovy disintegrates. Add broccoli (cut up) and a generous splash of white wine or chicken broth. Cover and let cook, stirring once in a while, until broccoli is done the way you like it.

                                    1. Sautée with Chinese DanDan sauce.

                                      1. I sense fleuret fatigue. The fleurets are the tenderest and tastiest part of the broccoli stalk, but being delicate, pretty much limited to steaming. I try working the stems into dishes like stir fries -- the trick is to peel them and trim off ends that are tough. They take a while, about as long as carrots.

                                        1. I'll try roasting too next time.

                                          But one vote for mashed, with the caveat that it's a bitch to break down the stems. But it's pretty nice, just do it like a potato.

                                          1. Surprised broccoli salad isn't getting more mention.

                                            There's the classic one, which is a little mayo-heavy: http://southernfood.about.com/od/broc...

                                            But I actually prefer one with blanched broccoli spears, sweet grape tomatoes, a little feta cheese, pine nuts, and your favorite lemon vinaigrette.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                              Broccoli Pesto great on angle hair pasta goes well with roasted chicken

                                              Steamed or Boiled and drained broccoli in food processor with garlic toasted pine nuts evoo and parm cheese blend ttill smooth. Frezzes well.


                                              1. re: don515

                                                my whole family loves broccoli salad like the southernfood recipe.
                                                we use craisins and peanuts.

                                            2. Steamed and chopped up finely, I add broccoli to mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs, quiche batter, certain tea breads and cakes, ricotta cheese stuffing for shells or lasagna, baked brie, hamburger patties, stir fried with rice noodles, meatloaf mix, etc. I like the texture of broccoli in dishes but steamed til fork tender (not mushy) and chopped takes a strong flavored veggie down to a much gentler one, which my family prefers. If you love this veggie, roasted or grilled truly rocks..a bit of cumin & curry powder is my personal fav.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                I also think just a little bit of ground coriander tastes wonderful on broccoli. Almost lemony. Mmm.

                                                1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                  Delish! So many great ways to use this veggie!

                                              2. Broccoli soup. Cook up some onions and celery with broccoli and chicken broth, puree, and then add some milk.
                                                No cheese needed.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: rochfood

                                                  Glad someone mentioned soup. Not something I do with broccoli often but just made some with a head that had been sitting in the fridge too long. Did exact what you did but added a dash of cream instead of milk and added some floretes after the puree and then some thin sliced raw chicken breast just before serving. The chicken only takes a few minutes to cook.

                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                    This does sound good... Maybe when/if we get a food processor we will make our own soups.

                                                    1. re: Soop

                                                      A good immersion blender works wonders in this app.

                                                      1. re: Soop

                                                        Check your local thrift store, I got my Cuisinart for $1 at a bag sale 3 years ago. I love that thing.

                                                    2. re: rochfood

                                                      You can make a broccoli soup with or without cheese. Saute onion in 1 Tb butter, add some flour to thicken and combined with broccoli and chicken broth cooking in another pot and cook until soft. Puree the broth and add milk or cream. Season as desired with salt and pepper and nutmeg.

                                                      1. re: rochfood

                                                        Add a couple potatoes to that, and you've basically got my go-to easy broccoli soup recipe. Oh, and a teaspoon or two of ground corainder seed.

                                                      2. "Parisian Home Cooking" has a broccoli etuvee, using all parts of the broccoli: florets, leaves, stems peeled and cut into batons. Chopped ham or bacon, onions, garlic, butter, savory. Cover and throw into the oven. Easy. Strangely good -- I guess it's the bacon.

                                                        I know that "etuvee" needs an accent on the first and second e's, but I can't figure out how to do that here!

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: sea97horse

                                                          alt-` then letter for è, alt-e then letter for é. On a Mac, use the option key: ètuvée. Keyboard stuff like this is good to learn, especially for writing recipes. Option (alt) -zero for º, for instance.

                                                          Back on topic, I LOVE broccoli leaves, and wish more markets would leave them on. That alone is enough to get me to the farmer's markets, especially here. Leafy broccoli was common in Nashville, practically unseen here in SoCal.

                                                          "Chopped ham or bacon, onions, garlic, butter, savory. Cover and throw into the oven. Easy. Strangely good -- I guess it's the bacon"... c'mon! All of those things are delicious, including the broccoli! Please be a dear and tell us whose book that is...

                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                            Thanks for the keyboard lesson, Will, but the alt thing is not working for me. A moral flaw on my part, clearly. But I am a dear, so for you: The book is by one Michael Roberts. It's ostensibly what real Parisians cook in their little Parisian kitchens, so has a lot of really good, not complex dishes -- quite varied. And is perfect for people like me with little Manhattan kitchens.

                                                            1. re: sea97horse

                                                              Sorry about "the alt thing" - as I do not do Windows, I was passing along what I'd read elsewhere. I'm sure the information is out there...

                                                              Thanx for the book info. I will buzz over to the very good Used Cookbooks store up the street tomorrow and see if the proprietress has a copy of this. A niece of ours who is mostly French and a very good cook does have a little Manhattan kitchen, too, so perhaps she needs to know about this. If she doesn't know already - she is an awfully sharp kid.

                                                          2. absolutely love it roasted, tossed with parmesan, pine nuts and lemon zest that come together to create such an explosive flavour. This is an ina garten recipe and I've made it several times and everybody loves it. Full recipe here: http://www.purplefoodie.com/2009/11/p...

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: purplefoodie

                                                              Thanks for that. It looks awesome and easy.

                                                              1. TGIFriday's makes a -delish- steamed broccoli with an hispanic twist. Such intense flavor for broccoli, almost too good to be true! They serve it with their spicy chicken breast w/ chutney on top. Anyone tried this?

                                                                I've tried to recreate it at home, and so far lime juice and fresh cilantro (coriander leaves) are a go, but I can't seem to get the heat quite right: neither red pepper flakes nor tobasco mixed into the lime juice seem to mimic their recipe (suggestions gladly accepted). Anyway, this certainly fits the bill for unconventional, super-yummy and very healthy broccoli.

                                                                Another recipe from back in the day, before avocado's "healthy fats" were recognized as such, this is a lower-cal way to enjoy guac:

                                                                1 avocado, mashed
                                                                3/4 c. mashed, steamed broc. florets
                                                                juice of 1 lime
                                                                1 tomatillo, cut into sm dice
                                                                1 shallot, cut into sm dice
                                                                handful cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
                                                                1 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
                                                                S&P to taste

                                                                Blend all together. I use a fork, but if you use a food processor, just keep the pulses to a minimum; the texture's better a bit chunky. Serve with corn chips. I was told this is 100 cal/ serving, makes 4 servings.

                                                                1. Aside from regular salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon, I'm (somewhat) ashamed to admit I love dipping my steamed broccoli in A1 sauce or sriracha.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: pluot

                                                                    I default to mayonnaise. Decadent of me, I know... but I think a bit of harissa beaten into that would be nice too.

                                                                  2. I had the same thought this week and found this recipe. It is by far the best broccoli I have ever eaten:

                                                                    I subbed regular broccoli for the broccolini, and sliced almonds for chopped, and it was sublime (also forgot the vinegar too--oops).

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Olivia

                                                                      interesting. What did it taste like?

                                                                      1. re: Soop

                                                                        Without sounding cheeky, it was smoky and nutty and garlicky--really, it's worth trying if you like those flavours as well as broccoli.

                                                                      2. re: Olivia

                                                                        Funny. I thought I was so original adding some smoked paprika to my broccoli with garlic. I'll have to try a little sherry vinegar next time, too.

                                                                        1. re: Olivia

                                                                          A couple of nights ago I did roasted broccoli with a spice blend of smoked paprika, a dash of garam masala, garlic, cumin and a sprinkle of Old Bay. Roasted till brown. It was down right delicious. A lot of flavors going on but they actually tasted good together.

                                                                          1. re: Olivia

                                                                            sherry vinegar and smoked paprika are two of my favorite seasonings, and i've been using them together (with garlic) on vegetables for years. i typically add a pinch of chile flakes, and sometimes use pine nuts instead of almonds. delicious way to prepare broccoli rabe, kale, chard...and you wouldn't believe how it transforms the flavor of roasted or blistered tomatoes!

                                                                          2. Personally, I am done steaming vegetables. I greatly prefer them roasted or sauteed with olive oil, salt and pepper. On the stovetop I cut them into smaller pieces and let them get just a little brown. Brings out the nuttiness and even a little sweetness of any veggie. Works great for brussel sprouts too.

                                                                            1. My absolute favorite way to prepare broccoli (second to eating it steamed, which I actually really like) is adapted from a pasta recipe from the Zuni cookbook. It's good with just broccoli or broccoli and cauliflower.

                                                                              Cut broccoli pieces lengthwise in thin "strips" (as thin as you can manage). Allow the tiny florets to break apart, don't worry too much about uniformity.

                                                                              Heat a large sauté pan over medium/high heat and add about 2 tbsp olive oil. After a few minutes, throw in about 3/4 of the broccoli (allow the smaller bits to remain on the cutting board or they will burn). Shake out to cover the pan and let them SIT. This is important--don't stir them around or they will steam. When you begin to see the broccoli browning a bit around the rim of the pan, give it a toss, add about 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 more tablespoon olive oil. Add the remaining broccoli. Allow it to sit again and brown. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and toss with about 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.

                                                                              This recipe is actually intended to be a pasta and the original includes capers and anchovies (which I don't like so I cut out).

                                                                              Super good.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: karianne

                                                                                i like the "strips" idea a LOT! more sense of volume for the dish, and more surface area to caramelize and get delicious with the gah-lic.

                                                                                1. re: karianne

                                                                                  Karianne, I love this style of pasta dish and just want to elaborate further on yr suggestion, to try the Jamie Oliver Stuffed Cannelloni dish with broccoli and cauliflower (google it) and also to try doing broccoli cooked as above seasoned with fried garlic and chilli but ALSO some italian sausage. Serve with Orecchiette.

                                                                                  Also can I urge the OP to try Leon's Superfood Salad? Includes steamed broccoli but is one of the best "filling" salads ever, but make sure you get a tasty feta and use best olive oil. Leon is a healthy fast food chain in London.

                                                                                  1. re: karianne

                                                                                    When I was still a very broke student, I made many meals on a similar Martha Stewart recipe--angel hair w/broccoli: the florets and the coarsely chopped stem were lightly steamed, and then I sauteed them in olive oil and a little butter and chopped garlic and white wine (always had some very cheap white in my fridge--I was a student, after all). I added crushed red pepper flakes and spooned some parmesan over the finished dish. Although Martha intended this as a side dish, I'm sure, it was always the main course. Can't tell you how many of my friends gobbled this up with me and considered it gourmet fare! Once or twice I threw in some heavy cream that I had on hand, and it became sinfully delicious: a vegetarian friend professed his love for me after eating the creamy version, but I think he'd had too much of the cheap wine.

                                                                                  2. If sugar is not a concern, steam your broccoli with whole kernel corn or roasted beets. The sweetness in these two veggies compliments steamed broccoli beautifully.

                                                                                    1. Around here, my kids have developed such an attachment to this broccoli version that I find it hard to stray: saute florets and chopped stems (smaller than an inch seems to work best) in oil, allowing them to brown a bit, until they turn bright green - then throw in some chicken stock, a nice pinch of both salt and sugar. So it's kind of browned and braised, I guess. The original version is Bittman's; he may call it braised and glazed? Anyway - we do love it this way. Tonight, I am going to try Zuni's way mentioned by Karianne, though - sounds really great. And we do occasionally roast broccoli too - love that.