Are you bored with steamed broccoli? I am! I got in a rut of serving broccoli the same way every time I made it, which was a lot – at least once a week. After all, it is a superfood, low in calories, high in fiber, with a wealth of nutrients and antioxidants. It is reputed to benefit the immune system, cardiovascular system and also has cancer-preventing and anti-inflammatory properties. We all need to eat more broccoli! Go, team broccoli!
Good news – there are other ways to serve broccoli other than steaming. Roasting broccoli is actually quicker and easier than steaming. The parmesan cheese, Italian Seasoning, and zing of the lemon juice add a whole new flavor dimension to this cruciferous vegetable. It will become a family favorite, trust me!
Part of broccoli’s overall appeal, besides its health benefits, is that it is a pretty vegetable. The beautiful bright green color enhances any plate of food. To maintain this visual asset, I always blanch broccoli before roasting or baking. I used to be afraid of blanching. First, I don’t like the word – it’s unappealing. Second, it sounds like extra work – something that I’m vehemently opposed to. Recipes of yore required boiling water and an ice bath for blanching. FORGET THAT NONSENSE! There’s an effortless way to blanch broccoli (or green beans) to maintain their vivid green hue using just a microwave-safe bowl and a wet paper towel. Simply put your prepped veg in the bowl with a tablespoon of water and cover with the damp paper towel Nuke on high for a couple of minutes. Remove the broccoli to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and pat dry. Ta-da! Blanched broccoli!
Besides prepping the broccoli, there’s a little more mise-en-place needed. This includes lining a baking sheet/pan with aluminum foil (for easy/breezy clean-up), grating the parmesan, mincing or grating the garlic, slicing lemon wedges (optional), and measuring the ingredients. Buying shredded parmesan is an obvious timesaver. I prefer to purchase parmesan in wedges. I store it in the freezer, which not only keeps it fresh but makes it super easy to grate. Buying minced garlic is another shortcut that I don’t take. I use garlic in almost everything, so I always have fresh on hand. I smash the cloves with the flat edge of a knife, making it easy to remove the papery covering (which is a pain if you try to peel it off), and then with a rocking motion of the blade, cut the smashed garlic into tiny pieces. Fresh garlic definitely tastes better, and you don’t have to worry about the additives used in the pre-minced variety. It’s a personal choice.
Place the blanched broccoli in a plastic bag (a gallon size ziplock bag is perfect) or a large bowl, and add the olive oil, Italian Seasoning, garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar. Gently shake the bag (or stir) to coat evenly. I use a plastic bag because there’s no sticky clean-up. Just throw the bag away. No-fuss, no muss. My no-fuss philosophy is why I use a lot of Italian Seasoning in my recipes. It is a marvelous invention containing the perfect blend of thyme, oregano basil, and other herbs & spices. It’s both a timesaver and a space-saver. If you don’t have Italian Seasoning (put it on your shopping list – you’ll use it a lot), you can substitute ¼ teaspoon each of garlic powder, dried oregano, and dried basil. If you grow herbs, skip the dried seasonings and zhoosh it up with fresh basil, thyme, oregano, and/or chives. Just add a little salt and pepper.
Transfer the broccoli onto the prepared baking sheet pan in a single layer. Make sure that the broccoli is evenly spaced. If the broccoli is crowded (touching), it may steam instead of caramelizing. The result is sad, limp, less-than-flavorful vegetables. Ick!
Roast for 10 minutes until the broccoli is crisp-tender and lightly browned in spots. Remove from oven and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the grated parmesan over the broccoli. Taste, add more salt & pepper is needed. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of lemon over the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese. If desired, garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.
Garlicky Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan is an elegant side dish that looks like it’s made for company, yet quick and easy for a busy weeknight dinner. If you have time to steam broccoli, you have time to roast it!
Garlicky Roasted Broccoli with ParmesanCourse: Sides, VegetablesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Garlicky Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan is a fast and easy alternative to steamed broccoli on a busy weeknight! Roasted to carnalized perfection the parmesan and tangy kick of lemon is elegant enough to serve at your next dinner party.
2 heads of fresh broccoli, cut in florets and blanched
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon sugar or Splenda
3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
lemon wedges optional garnish
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Grate parmesan, mince or grate garlic. Cut broccoli into florets and blanch by placing in a microwave safe dish with 1 tablespoon water. Cover with a damp paper towel and nuke on high for 2 minutes. Pat dry on a paper towel
- Place the broccoli florets in a gallon sized ziplock bag (or a large bowl). Add the olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar. Gently shake the bag (or stir) to coat evenly. Transfer the broccoli onto the prepared baking sheet pan in a single layer.
- Roast for about 10 minutes, until the broccoli is crisp-tender and lightly browned in spots. Remove from oven and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the grated Parmesan over the broccoli. Taste, add more salt & pepper is needed. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of lemon over top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.
- Italian Seasoning: substitute ¼ teaspoon each of garlic powder, dried oregano and dried basil
- Parmesan: Fresh is best but dried parmesan (in the can) can be used. Parmigiano-Reggiano is fine too.
- Zhoosh it with fresh herbs. Try using chives, basil, thyme, or oregano.
- Fresh parsley: dried parsley can be substituted
- Sugar: Substitute with Splenda or, if preferred, omit