Roasted broccoli is something special. In general, roasting meats or vegetables brings out all sorts of deep, complex flavors, and the dry heat helps caramelize and sweeten. But for broccoli, it seems like roasting just hits a whole other level.
Roasting completely transforms broccoli. It caramelizes and sweetens, and the nice, crisp, roasted flavors go amazingly well with the flavor of the broccoli itself.
It tastes different enough that someone who really doesn't like raw, steamed or boiled broccoli might actually really love some lightly seasoned, tasty roasted broccoli. And if you're like me and you actually like broccoli, don't worry — the broccoli goodness is still there. It's just, well, better!
And the best thing is, roasted broccoli is so easy to make. And in this article, I'll show you how. First, we'll talk about the preparation steps, washing and cutting. Next, we'll go over how to season the broccoli to make it even more awesome. And finally, we'll talk about how to roast it.
Here we go!
First things first. When you're making roasted broccoli, it really is best to use fresh, not frozen, broccoli. Roasting relies on a dry heat to caramelize the broccoli.
Frozen broccoli tends to have a much higher water content, and that water evaporates and creates steam — and you end up with steamed broccoli. Not that there's anything wrong with steamed broccoli! But it won't have the same depth of flavor that roasting gives.
So the first step is to get some fresh broccoli. Then you get it ready for seasoning.
It's always a good idea to wash vegetables before you eat them. It can help get rid of dirt, bacteria and even some chemicals that might be on the surface. But when you're roasting, you want to keep things dry — too much water and you'll end up steaming the broccoli. So it's important to give your broccoli a chance to dry after you wash it.
To wash the broccoli, just let some lukewarm water run over it. You can scrub the stem to get any dirt out, but scrubbing the florets isn't such a great idea. After it's washed, shake it dry. That'll take care of most of the water. If you can, give it a half hour or so to air dry. If not, well, it's not a huge deal — you might not get as much caramelization, but you should still get some.
Broccoli takes a little more care than some other vegetables when you're cutting it up to be roasted, because the stems and florets don't cook at the same pace. The florets are a lot more delicate and roast faster. That means that you need to cut up the stems in smaller pieces, so that everything is done and perfectly roasted at the same time.
Here's what you do. Cut the florets off right where they meet the stem — you should be able to split them into bite-sized piece, or whatever size pieces you like. Then cut the stem up into flat pieces — either cross-wise into flat discs, or length-wise into sticks. Just remember that the bigger the pieces, the longer they'll take to roast.
You can also peel the stem if it looks particularly tough. Roasting doesn't soften broccoli quite as much as boiling or steaming does, and the outer skin on the stem can get kind of tough sometimes.
Once your broccoli is cut, you're ready for the next step of making roasted broccoli: seasoning.
Seasoning is one of the best parts about roasted broccoli. There are hundreds of different ways to season it, hundreds of recipes for you to create! Just a few different spices, and you have a whole new dish. So how exactly do you season your broccoli before roasting it?
Oil is really the only ingredient you have to use. A thin coating of oil helps the broccoli brown evenly, and keeps it from burning or drying out. You can use any type of oil you like — olive oil is great, but various vegetable oils work well too. Just use whichever one you prefer.
You don't need to use a ton of oil. A teaspoon or two per head of broccoli is often enough. To get the most out of it, place the cut broccoli in a bowl (or right in the baking dish), drizzle the oil over it, then toss the broccoli for a bit until it's completely coated. That's all!
Herbs and Spices
Oil is the only ingredient you need. But extra seasonings will tranform the dish and make it exceptional. Here are some ideas.
If you want to add the herbs or spices before cooking, just add them with the oil — the broccoli will get evenly coated with oil and spices when you toss it. If you're adding them after, just add them once you take the broccoli out of the oven. Either sprinkle them over the roasted broccoli, or toss the broccoli with the herbs to make sure everything's evenly spread out.
Try different seasonings, and different quantities, and figure out what you like best.
There are a lot of other ingredients you can add to make your roasted broccoli unique. Here are some ideas.
Just pick and choose different flavors, and add what you like. As for how much to add, that's something you have to figure out through experimentation! When you create a new recipe, make some notes. If you added lemon juice and found it too lemony, just add a little bit less next time.
It's the best way to make roasted broccoli that's perfect for you!
Once it's cut, oiled and seasoned, roasting the broccoli is super easy. Perfect for when the rest of the meal takes more time and attention!
Here's how to make roasted broccoli.
And that's how to make roasted broccoli. It really is a treat, and so easy to make. Even if you don't like broccoli, it's worth trying out, because it's such a different taste. Not everyone will like it - after all, if not everyone likes chocolate, broccoli can't hope to be universally loved, right? But I think there's a good chance that you'll find it a really delicious change of pace!