Simple Roasted Broccoli with Garlic

The much-used technique of steaming broccoli can be good, but doesn’t always bring the kind of flavor I look for in a vegetable. What’s worse, more food establishments than I can count go a step further and over-steam it, serving floppy broccoli that has lost its color, texture, and flavor in the process. I’m here to tell you: it doesn’t have to be that way! I discovered this technique for caramelizing broccoli in the oven via America’s Test Kitchen which will revolutionize your views on this humble vegetable. Since broccoli doesn’t have enough natural sugar in it to caramelize naturally like many other vegetables such as carrots or onions, this technique involves . . . helping the green stuff along its way. With a little sugar love. This is one of the best ways I’ve ever eaten broccoli. Make it! It’s easy, and with a 10 minute cook time it’s also super fast.


(Serves 4)

2 large broccoli crowns

4 TBS olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp black pepper

4 cloves garlic (optional)

Let’s get started–this really couldn’t be easier–but there are a few things that are absolutely necessary to make sure the caramelization process happens to its fullest potential. I’ll walk you through it.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, with the baking sheet inside. Prepare the rack so that the sheet is closer to the element than not. Heating the baking sheet fully is 100% essential in getting the best flavor out of the broccoli.

Now let’s give that broccoli at good washin’.

Why oh why didn’t I focus the above picture properly?? *bashing head against computer* In the little “About” page I wrote when I started this here blog, I explained my terror of one day posting a blurry, non-sharp picture. I imagined hordes of professional photographers descending on me with sticks and stones to punish my incompetence. And now, that day has come. So far, no sticks, no stones, but I’ll keep you posted.

Cut the broccoli into segments. You want them to be on the large side, about the length of the palm of your hand.

Don’t be tempted to cut them into cute, small pieces, because then they won’t roast properly–instead, they’ll just kind of steam away, bringing back the “floppy broccoli” problem we’re trying to avoid. Also, cut them so that there is a flat side on most pieces–just slice right through that broccoli crown (instead of separating off individual florets). You want flat sides for the caramelization to happen.

Mince the garlic . . .

. . . and mix the broccoli, garlic, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper together in a bowl with your hands.

Make sure all the broccoli pieces are coated as evenly as possible.

When the oven is fully preheated (make sure it is! Mine wasn’t, and the roasting didn’t go as well as it normally does), take out the hot sheet pan.

Working quickly, arrange the broccoli on the pan. You’ll hear a delightful sizzle as the broccoli hits the metal surface. Make sure there is some space between the pieces, and always lay each piece with its flat side down.

I have inserted a black arrow in the above picture to show you what NOT to do. That flat side is not down! Turn it over Jenna! C’mon, get with the program!

Zer ve go. Zat is better, ja.

Roast for 10-12 minutes.

I lifted up a piece to examine the underside: not brown enough yet, so I put them back in for 2-3 minutes longer.

Once they are nice and brown, remove and serve!

I dished it up with some parmesan chicken . . . recipe coming at some point.

You could easily sprinkle some lemon juice over it, or some parmesan–but it’s wonderful just as it is.

*Note: a number of people who have made this recipe tell me it’s very kid-friendly. Thanks for the tip, ladies!

Click here for printer-friendly version: Simple Roasted Broccoli with Garlic

This entry was posted in Cooking and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Simple Roasted Broccoli with Garlic

  1. Broccoli is awesome cooked that way! It’s a go-to in our house.

  2. foongfest says:

    Roasted broccoli is definitely most awesome. I made some last night. (drizzled with gramolata bread crumbs instead of seasoning before cooking)

    Heck, I cooked broccoli 3 different ways last night – roasted, quick pickled and boiled with wasabe soy sauce. That’s right, I’m 2-upping you. :)

    Anyway, great pictures. You made me hungry for broccoli again.

    ~ Dave

  3. Sarah says:

    i make roasted broccoli this way too! i just don’t heat my oven up that hot- only to about 450. but i’ll admit, i do like steamed broccoli, i just don’t steam it to the point of limpness- it still has some crispness to it. my husband prefers it that way, topped with teriyaki sauce!

    • Jenna says:

      I totally agree–I loved steamed broccoli if it’s not over-steamed. Unfortunately, a lot of restaurants seem to over-steam. Teriyaki sauce with broccoli sounds great!

  4. That dish sounds so good! I am looking for ways to cook vegetables so that I actually eat them. I like broccoli, but don’t like it floppy so much. I will have to try this. :)

  5. claire says:

    yum! i saw a recipe similar to this one earlier this week. It looks delicious! such simple ingredients- can you taste any sweetness from the sugar?

    • Jenna says:

      I wouldn’t say you taste ‘sugar’ per se, but the sugar adds a flavor of caramelized deliciousness that tastes natural and makes the broccoli flavor jump out.

  6. Joanne says:

    This is my absolute favorite way to make broccoli! Great minds totally think alike.

  7. Carrie says:

    Thank you for this, Jenna! A recipe I’m not afraid to try! :)

  8. mandymcadoo says:

    I love roasted garlic. But isn’t amazing how awful it smells if you roast a huge bunch of it all at once? Nothing that delicious should smell so bad.

  9. Chiara says:

    This will sound crazy… I’ve never roasted broccoli before! Since I loathe floppy broccoli as much as you do, I usually cook them with garlic and olive oil in a saute pan… but next time I’ll try roasting for sure!

  10. giselle says:

    I keep looking at this recipe b/c it just looks so yummy! I signed up with a local co-op this week and the veggie bag that I pick up tomorrow has broccoli in it! Yay!

    I hope I’m not expecting too much from a little green veggie!

    • giselle says:

      I can’t tell you how much I love this recipe. I’ve made it several times and it’s always amazing. Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Jenna. :)

  11. Gibby says:

    This looks delicious! I’m definitely going to try this.

  12. Love this simple dish! (And love broccoli and garlic of course).

  13. Yum! I made this the other day from Ina’s cookbook. It came out good, but wish I had seen your tips first.

  14. meeshiesmom says:

    Great recipe. Love it.

  15. Pingback: Another Awesome Side Dish-Roasted Broccoli « Meeshiesmom's Blog

  16. I LOVE roasted broccoli! I usually just toss it with olive oil and S & P, but I love the idea of adding these other ingredients. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  17. Sarah says:

    I’m making this tonight for my parents along with Ree’s beef+snowpeas and some crab ragoons. Hopefully it turns out well. Your recipe is simple and easy to understand and your pictures are so helpful, so I shouldn’t be able to mess this up! Thank you! Wish me luck!

    • Jenna says:

      Good luck, Sarah! Ree’s beef + snowpeas sounds delicious (that woman is a recipe producing machine–and they all turn out so well). I hope you have great luck with the broccoli–stop back and let me know how it turns out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s