Broccoli Four Ways

Growing up, we ate a lot of broccoli.  Maybe it was the Velveeta, but I always loved it!  Even though I tend to avoid Velveeta in my own kitchen, broccoli remains my go-to vegetable side dish.  I often dress it simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper, but the preparation varies depending on the weather.  If it’s cool outside, I might fire up the oven for a slow roast.  If it’s 99 degrees and counting, a quick blanch or sauté on the stove-top is preferred.  Broccoli Four Ways is my guide to different methods for cooking broccoli and simple, interchangeable recipes for flavors.

Broccoli Preparation

Broccoli Four Ways | Culinary Hill

1.  After washing the broccoli carefully, separate the florets from the stalk.

2.  Slice off the bottom of the stalk, then stand up right. Make straight cuts down the sides to remove the outside of the stalk.

3.  Next, chop the trimmed stalk as desired.  I usually dice it.

4.  Last, chop the florets into even pieces.

Blanched Broccoli

Blanched broccoli has been boiled quickly and then plunged into an ice bath.  Blanching removes the harsh bitterness, making it the perfect addition to your vegetable tray or appetizer platter.  Here I left it plain except for a sprinkling of coarse salt.

Broccoli Four Ways | Culinary Hill

Roasted Broccoli

Slow-roasted and golden brown broccoli has crispy edges and deep flavors.  I like to add a sprinkling of chopped walnuts for an elegant finish.

Broccoli Four Ways | Culinary Hill

Sautéed Broccoli

This easy method yields crispy brown florets, similar to roasting, but without the long cooking time.  In minutes, you can cook up a simple vegetable side dish right on your stove top.  I love to add shredded cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking time for a gooey, melted finish.

Broccoli Four Ways | Culinary Hill

Steamed Broccoli

Always a healthy choice, steamed broccoli is best when it is bright green and tender-crisp.  Add dashes of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, then sprinkle with sesame seeds for an easy Asian side dish.  Leftover steamed broccoli is heavenly when chopped and added to scrambled eggs, too.

Broccoli Four Ways | Culinary Hill

Broccoli Four Ways
Serves: 4
  • 1 bunch broccoli, florets cut into ½” pieces, stalks and peeled and cut into ½” pieces
  1. To blanch: In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water and 1 T. salt to a boil. Add broccoli and cook for 2 to 4 minutes; remove from the pot and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
  2. To roast: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silicone mat. Toss broccoli in a bowl with 3 T. olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the broccoli is lightly browned and tender.
  3. To sauté: Heat 2 T. olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add broccoli and cook about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 3 T. water, cover, and cook about 2 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook another 2 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the broccoli is tender.
  4. To steam: Place a steaming rack in a large pot or Dutch oven and add water until it touches the bottom of the rack. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add broccoli to the rack, cover, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes; drain well.
Flavors for cooked broccoli:
Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with toasted and chopped almonds, walnuts, or cashews.
Sprinkle with soy sauce, sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds.
Toss with shredded cheddar cheese.
Sauté with minced garlic, fresh grated ginger, scallions, and red pepper flakes.

  • realfoodbydad

    I grew up eating broccoli all the time and we still do to this day. Especially roasted. Cole tells me it tastes like candy when we make it this way, so he gobbles it down. Have a great weekend!

    • Meggan

      Hi Matt, the general feedback to this post has been in favor of the roasted version which is also one of my favorites too. Although I recently got a steamer basket ($5.99 from Ikea, how can you beat that?) so making proper steamed broccoli was pretty fun! And I know once the heat kicks in (aka next week) I won’t be turning on the oven no matter what. So glad your boy eats his broccoli though! Calvin does too. :) Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate your support! Have a great weekend too!

  • Janette@culinaryginger

    I grew up hating broccoli, all vegetables actually, but now I love broccoli. My favorite is roasted but I love your toppings. There’s no reason to eat flavorless broccoli people :)

  • Helen @ Scrummy Lane

    This is really useful, Meggan. I really like the idea of adding soy sauce and sesame seeds to the steamed broccoli. :-)

  • David Orr

    I love reading food blogs. I love trying out the recipes. What I find cumbersome is the number of pictures prior to the recipe, which is what most of us want to try.
    This post has good info…..far too pictures.

    • Meggan

      Hi David, thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your feedback. I think you have a great point. 99% of my recipes have 2 pictures, 3 at the very most; it is very rare that I post as many pictures as I have here. This post was meant to be a tutorial of preparing broccoli so that is why I have so many pictures. 2 other posts come to mind with a lot of pictures: Grandma’s Butter Horn Rolls, and Crab Rangoon Wontons. These posts are also meant to be tutorials and I think the pictures add value. Maybe here it is not necessary, or I could shrink the photos or make them into a collage altogether and just list the steps below. But I get what you’re saying, and I even agree with you. Nothing is more frustrating than 15 pictures of a pile of cookies taken from different angles before letting me see the recipe! I will work on revising the layout here so there is less scrolling. Thanks again for letting me know. I do really appreciate it.