How to Cook Broccoli
Broccoli is the perfect nutrient-rich vegetable to add to just about any savory side dish. What's more, it's super easy to prepare. Below, find out everything you need to buy and prep broccoli, as well as step-by-step instructions to steam, blanch, roast and sauté perfect broccoli every time.
You can never go wrong with broccoli. This vegetable is both delicious and nutrient-packed, with a versatile texture and flavor profile that goes with just about any savory addition. What’s more, it’s relatively easy to cook.
Nutritional Benefits of Broccoli
Broccoli is extremely healthy. The delicious vegetable helps boost your immune system, protect against cancer, strengthen your vision, and much more!
Broccoli is rich in protein and fiber. It has high levels of sulphur substances and beta-carotenes, which can help prevent certain types of cancer. Broccoli also has very high levels of Vitamin C as well.
How to Buy Good Broccoli
When buying your broccoli, look out for a well-rounded green color on both the florets and stem. If there are brown spots or yellowing, the broccoli isn’t fresh.
The stem should feel firm and the bushy crown should feel tight and springy to the touch. If the stems are soft or the florets have opened already, most of the nutrients and flavor are gone.
How to Store Broccoli
You should prepare your broccoli as soon as possible to make sure it has peak nutrition, texture and flavor. When storing your broccoli, leave it in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator to keep it crisp until you are ready to cook it. If you need to store it for a few days, just make sure you wrap it in foil if it will be in your fridge for longer than a day or two.
How to Prepare Your Broccoli
Broccoli is a somewhat unwieldy vegetable that can often hide grit and sand, so it’s important to prep it before cooking for an optimal texture and flavor.
How to Wash Broccoli
Always remember to wash your broccoli well under running water and shake it dry. Yes, shake it! This way there is no water trapped at the crown of the broccoli, which can affect flavor.
How to Trim Broccoli
To separate the broccoli into small florets, you can grab the stem and rip away the florets by hand until there is just the stem left.
If you would rather do so by knife, grab a chopping block and do the same with a knife by holding the stem down and cutting at the top where the florets start to individualize.
If you are cooking your broccoli whole - simply cut off the stalk. Removing leaves is optional.
Broccoli can be eaten raw, blanched, steamed, sauteed, and roasted. The vegetable is incredibly versatile when it comes to cooking and can be cooked, seasoned, and made in many different varieties.
When it comes to broccoli and considering how you’d like to cook it, keep in mind that the shorter the cooking time, the more nutritious your broccoli will be. If you are just cooking florets, aim for between 4-8 minutes or cook time. If you’re cooking your broccoli whole, cook for around 12-15 minutes.
How to Blanch Broccoli
Blanched broccoli is great served cold, and is perfect for veggie platters, cold salads, and casseroles.
- Prep a bowl of ice water and place it next to your stove.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add in a large tablespoon of table salt.
- Add in the broccoli florets and cook until they are more crispy than tender (this means they won’t be soft. Around 1-2 minutes.
- Turn off the stove.
- Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon so the water can escape and add immediately into the ice water.
- Bring your water back to a boil and add in your stems for 2-2 ½ minutes.
How to Steam Broccoli
Steaming broccoli is a super simple way to prepare broccoli and can be done either in the microwave or on the stove. It also helps to preserve the nutrients in broccoli better than other cooking methods.
How to Steam Broccoli in a Microwave
- Remove the florets from the stem.
- Place florets and stem in a large microwave-safe dish.
- Pour 2-3 tablespoons of water in the dish.
- Cover with a microwave-safe plate.
- Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove lid and check if the broccoli is fork-tender.
- If the broccoli is not at a perfect texture yet, cook in 1-minute intervals (covered) until satisfied.
- Add a little olive oil and salt and pepper at the end to taste.
How to Steam Broccoli on the Stove
- Fill a pot with a few inches of water. Add a steamer basket on top if you have one. If not, don’t worry about it.
- Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat.
- Add in your florets and stems and cover.
- Steam for 4-5 minutes until tender
- Add some olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
How to Saute Broccoli
Sauteing really brings out broccoli’s earthy flavors and yields a delicious, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside texture.
- Prep your broccoli as usual, making sure to dry it extra well, as this will help it cook better.
- Pour 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil into a skillet or wide pan and turn to medium-high heat.
- Add your florets and a pinch of salt to the pan and cook for one minute, tossing your florets to make sure they’re covered in oil
- Add your stems, making sure they’re covered in oil as well.
- Cook and stir often until your broccoli turns a bright green color and is fork-tender, about 5-7 minutes.
How to Roast Broccoli
Roasting is a super easy and delicious way to prepare broccoli and is simple as well. Just throw it in your oven, forget about it, and about 20 minutes later you’ll have perfectly cooked, tasty broccoli.
- Preheat your oven to 425°F.
- Prep your broccoli, making sure to dry it extra well.
- Toss your broccoli florets and stems in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and the seasoning of your choice. Garlic or onion powder or good choices. You can also throw in minced fresh garlic as well.
- Place your broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet, making sure none of the broccoli is on top of the other, and each piece has some room around it.
- Roast in the oven for 15-25 minutes depending on how crunchy you want it. Some of the crowns might turn brown, but that’s okay! As long as they’re not black, they’ll have a crunchy texture and beautiful rich flavor.
- Serve right away, when broccoli is still warm.
Broccoli is amazing as a side dish, on top of pizza, as a healthy snack with some hummus, and so much more. The vegetable is incredibly versatile and is a great addition to any diet. Want to know how to cook broccoli another way, or have a suggestion for the next installment of our How To series? We'd love to hear from you! Shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.