Roasted broccoli takes on a satisfying crunch and a nutty flavor that is unmatched by other cooking methods. Even children who dislike steamed or sauteed broccoli will enjoy this dish because roasting brings out an entirely different flavor. Even better, roasted broccoli is just as healthy as broccoli prepared in other ways because roasting preserves the nutrients.
Preparing the Broccoli
The first step for baking broccoli is to wash it. Broccoli is often sandy before it is washed. As a result, it is important to wash broccoli thoroughly to prevent eating grit. Rinse the broccoli thoroughly under cool water, then pat it dry with a clean paper towel.
If the broccoli comes in a large bunch, trim the large, woody stem off the broccoli and discard it. Then, cut the head of broccoli into florets, or small bunches. The smaller you cut the broccoli, the faster it will cook and the crispier it will be. For softer broccoli, cut it into larger florets.
Seasoning the Broccoli
Place the broccoli florets on a baking sheet. Pour a small amount of olive oil over the broccoli. Turn the broccoli on the pan to coat it in oil. The olive oil helps the broccoli crisp and helps to prevent it from burning.
After the broccoli is coated with oil, sprinkle a generous amount of seasoning over the broccoli. One popular favorite is steak seasoning. Steak seasoning adds salt and a zesty flavor to the broccoli. Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, or Old Bay seasoning also add distinctive flavors. You can choose a seasoning that coordinates with the rest of your meal, such as having a basil and dried tomato blend if you are enjoying the broccoli with pizza. The choices are endless, and you never have to have the same baked broccoli twice.
Roasting the Broccoli
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the baking pan in the oven and roast the broccoli for 15 minutes. There is no need to turn or move the broccoli; the florets will cook evenly. Smaller broccoli florets may be finished in as little as 15 minutes, but larger pieces may require up to 30 minutes. Broccoli burns quickly, so it is best to keep an eye on it. Check the broccoli every five minutes for doneness. If you prefer your broccoli crispy, it is done when the tips are slightly browned and the broccoli is crunchy. If you prefer softer broccoli, it is ready when the broccoli is tender and lightly browned.
Roasted broccoli pairs well with almost any meal. Serve it as a crunchy, savory side for roasted chicken or roast beef. This broccoli also goes well with grilled meats, such as steak or grilled pork chops. if you are on a diet, cook the broccoli until it is very crispy, allow it to cool, and then crumble it up over your salad. The broccoli’s crunchy texture and nutty flavor make it a good substitute for croutons or crackers.
When you finally get tired of trying all of the varieties of roasted broccoli, mix it up a little by adding other vegetables to the mix. Add thinly sliced or matchstick pieces of squash, zucchini, onions, cauliflower, carrots, or even sliced tomatoes. The vegetable medley can be cooked in a similar fashion as roasted broccoli alone; coat them with olive oil, season them, and bake them for 15 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees. The vegetables are done when they are browned and slightly crisp.
Unfortunately, roasted broccoli does not store well. If you cover it and put it in the refrigerator, it will retain its savory flavor but the broccoli will become soft. The same is true of most other vegetables that you may consider roasting along with broccoli.
Roasted broccoli also does not freeze well. It will turn to must when you defrost it. As a result, it is best to make only enough broccoli to consume at one sitting. It is so simple to make that there is really no need to make it ahead anyway. Roasted broccoli only takes five minutes to prep and 15 to 30 to cook. Few vegetable sides are so simple to make, yet so flavorful!