This recipe for oven Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan and Lemon turns an everyday vegetable into something spectacular in under half an hour. If you just can’t bear to look at another bowl of steamed broccoli for dinner, then it’s definitely time to try roasting broccoli in the oven.
Between you and me, I used to think that broccoli was…boring. Not bad, definitely good for you, but not something I ever found myself thinking about until I needed a last-minute vegetable side dish. Then I’d plop a bunch of broccoli in a steamer and be done with it. Vegetables, check.
That all changed when I started high-temperature oven roasting vegetables. The high heat from the oven is perfect for cooking broccoli. It caramelizes the natural sugars in everything, making cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli sweet, nutty, and downright edible. Devour-able, even.
Even better, oven Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan and Lemon is almost completely hands-off, other than a squirt of fresh lemon and some grated Parmesan right before serving.
Unlike steaming, where one minute the broccoli is raw, and the next it’s that mushy, overcooked green, roasting broccoli in the oven is more of a sure thing. You mostly eyeball the cooking; when it looks golden, with deep dark brown crispy bits, it’s ready to serve.
Even though I always make way more than I think I’ll eat, it’s always gone by the time dinner is over.
Making Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan for all your friends? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
What parts of broccoli can be roasted?
These days, I’m big on using everything I buy with little waste, especially food. If I purchase a whole head of broccoli, chances are I’ll be using almost every last bit of it to roast. Sure, I’ll trim the dry part of the stem at the very end, but the rest of the head and stem is fair game for roasting.
If the stem still looks green and tender, not woody, you can roast broccoli stems along with the florets. Stems provide great texture and give you more bang for your buck, too.
With a sharp paring knife, I cut vertically through the stem to make long slices that include both floret and stem.
Can you roast frozen broccoli?
Yes, you can oven roast frozen broccoli florets, right out of the bag. I prefer roasting frozen broccoli at a higher temperature, though— 450 degrees, and cooking the florets straight from the freezer into the oven.
Don’t let the broccoli thaw out first, otherwise it’ll turn soft and won’t ever get crispy.
Tips for the best Roasted Broccoli (and any other vegetable) you’ll ever have:
Once you have the basics down when you’re learning how to roast vegetables, you probably won’t need a recipe anymore-it’s that easy!
Uniform sizes: No matter what vegetable you’re roasting, make sure that everything is cut in the same general size, for even cooking. Slicing increases flat surface area, too— the flat surfaces make more contact with the baking sheet, which is good for flavor.
Keep things dry: After you wash your vegetables, pat them dry or allow them to air dry before they go into the oven. More moisture= more steam, which prevents things from getting toasty and crisp.
Roast like with like: If you’re just roasting one type of vegetable, you don’t need to worry so much about this… But if you’re mixing it up, see the section below for how I like to sort my vegetables for roasting.
Keep the temperature high: Roasted vegetables enjoy higher oven temperatures, between 400-450 degrees, to develop caramelization and a deep, rich, concentrated flavor.
A little oil goes a long way: You don’t need a ton of oil to roast vegetables. Drizzle a thin stream of olive oil over the sheet tray, and gently toss with your hands to coat everything. Or use a spray mister with your favorite cooking oil to lightly coat your vegetables. If you like, you can combine oil and vegetables in a bowl and toss them before arranging them on the baking sheet.
Don’t crowd your veg: Crowded vegetables create steam, which prevents them from getting roasty. The baking sheet surface in contact with the broccoli is what gives your roasted vegetables those brown, crunchy bits. Also, flip your veggies halfway through cooking so the other side has a chance to get just as delicious.
Add flavor: Salt and pepper go a long way, of course, and so do lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. But here are some other fun ways to add flavor to roasted vegetables:
- Lemon, lime, or orange zest: Add citrus zest grated over roasted vegetables before serving.
- Roasted broccoli with bacon: Toss a couple slices of bacon, cut up into chunks, in with the mix.
- Roasted broccoli with balsamic vinegar: A drizzle of your favorite balsamic vinegar introduces a nice acidic punch to the broccoli.
- Use a mustard glaze or a chili oil to brush over the top of the vegetables as they roast.
- Make your own mayo: a good-quality mayonnaise, or one you make your own, is a fabulous dip for roasted veggies of any kind.
- Grated Asiago, pecorino, or Romano cheese make a delicious stand-in for Parmesan.
- Coconut aminos or soy sauce can be drizzled over vegetables instead of salt.
Do different vegetables have different cooking times?
When you’re planning to roast combinations of vegetables, such as roasted broccoli and potatoes, you need to know that vegetables have different densities, and therefore slightly different cooking times.
Vegetables that take longer to roast can be put in the oven beforehand, and then shorter-cooking vegetables can be added to the tray partway through the roast.
Not all of this is a hard and fast rule, however. If you want to roast broccoli with garlic, for example, you can definitely can. Just add slices of garlic to a sheet tray of broccoli without worrying about keeping them separate.
Vegetables that take longer to roast (35-45 minutes, depending on the size of the slice/chunk/or left whole):
Squash: kabocha, pumpkin, butternut, acorn, delicata, spaghetti
Potatoes, root vegetables, and tubers: Beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas
Alliums: Garlic, shallots, onions, leeks
Vegetables that have a shorter cook time (18-25 minutes depending on the slice/chunk/or left whole):
- Brassicas: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
- Mushrooms: shiitake, morels, cremini, portobello, and hen of the woods
- Summer squash: zucchini, pattypan, and yellow squashes
- Peppers: bell peppers, poblano, and Hungarian peppers
Do you need parchment for roasting vegetables?
Nope, you don’t, but it does make for easier cleanup. Not all parchment is suitable for high heat cooking, so read your labels carefully.
Now you’re ready to go forth and roast! Broccoli may never be the same old, same old again.
Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan
- 2 pounds broccoli florets from 3 stalks broccoli
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
- Add broccoli to baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper. Toss to coat and arrange in a single layer.
- Bake until florets are tender-crisp and browning around the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with lemon juice. Sprinkle with lemon zest and parmesan cheese and toss to coat.
- Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 1 to 2 minutes longer.