Caesar Roasted Broccoli

published Oct 6, 2021
Caesar Roasted Broccoli Recipe

Toss roasted broccoli with Caesar dressing, then shower it with toasted breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese for the ultimate side dish.

Serves4

Prep20 minutes

Cook30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
caesar broccoli on a platter
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

I spent a lot of time in New England this summer feasting on seafood and ice cream. Vegetables weren’t as high on my priority list — until I realized my body was craving something green. So when I saw a roasted broccoli side dish on the menu at an Italian restaurant in Newport, Rhode Island, I ordered it immediately.

What arrived was a plate of slightly charred large broccoli spears tossed in a creamy dressing, then topped with toasty breadcrumbs and showered with fluffy, snow-like Parmesan. It was so good I don’t even remember what else we ate that night. I knew right then and there that I would need to recreate this dish at home.

The result is this Caesar roasted broccoli, which, thanks to its assortment of bold flavors and textures, is everything I want in a veggie side: The broccoli is sweet, the dressing is salty and creamy, the breadcrumbs are crispy, and the Parmesan is working its cheesy magic. My daughter and I ate almost an entire batch for dinner one night, and I won’t be surprised if you do, too.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

The Key Ingredients for Caesar Roasted Broccoli

Sure, you’ll need broccoli, but here are the other major players in this delicious dish.

  • Anchovies: This is a real Caesar dressing, complete with raw egg yolk (although you can sub mayo) and anchovies. You can use anchovy fillets packed in oil or anchovy paste from a tube, and I promise that they don’t make the dressing overly fishy. If you skip them, make sure to bump up the salt considerably in the dressing.
  • Parmesan: Good Parmesan cheese is key here, as it goes into the dressing and gets very finely shaved on top. Pre-grated Parmesan is too crumbly and mildly flavored, so you’ll want to buy a high-quality wedge (look for Parmigiano-Reggiano) and grate your own.
  • Lemon: Fresh lemon juice cuts through the richness of the Parmesan and mellows out the sharp flavors of the garlic and anchovies in the dressing.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: These light and flaky breadcrumbs are toasted in olive oil to create a super-crispy topping.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

How to Make Caesar Roasted Broccoli

Start by roasting the broccoli on a preheated baking sheet, which gives the cooking and browning a jump-start, creating crispy-edged broccoli in less time. While the broccoli’s cooking, toast the panko in a pan on the stovetop, then make the dressing.

I love a true Caesar dressing, so this dressing is a mixture of garlic and anchovies chopped into a paste, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, grated Parmesan, neutral oil like grapeseed or canola (olive oil is too strongly flavored here), and a thickener in the form of egg yolk or mayo. If you’re nervous about using raw egg yolk, get pasteurized eggs at the store, which have been heated to kill bacteria and are safe to eat raw, or just opt for mayo. I personally prefer the rich flavor the egg yolk adds, but mayo does a great job of thickening the dressing.

When the broccoli comes out of the oven, drizzle it with the dressing and toss to combine. Pile the dressed broccoli on a platter, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, and then have fun with the last part: Grab a Microplane (or use the finest holes on a box grater) and make a snowy pile of Parmesan on top of the broccoli. For restaurant-style drama, do this at the dinner table with your family watching.

Caesar Roasted Broccoli Recipe

Toss roasted broccoli with Caesar dressing, then shower it with toasted breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese for the ultimate side dish.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the broccoli and breadcrumbs:

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    broccoli (3 large or 4 medium)

  • 2 tablespoons

    plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for the panko

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup

    panko breadcrumbs

  • Wedge Parmesan cheese, for grating

For the dressing:

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1

    cold large egg yolk, or 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup

    neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed

  • 2 tablespoons

    finely grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 1/2

    oil-packed anchovy fillets, or 3/4 teaspoon anchovy paste

  • 1 clove

    garlic

Instructions

Roast the broccoli:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack and heat the oven to 425ºF.

  2. Cut the stalks off 1 1/2 pounds broccoli. Trim off the dried ends, then peel the stalks until you reach the smooth inner flesh. Halve the stems lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Cut the florets into 1-inch pieces. Place the florets and stems (about 7 cups) in a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and toss to combine.

  3. Transfer onto the hot baking sheet, spread into a single layer, and arrange the pieces so they are cut-side down. Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast until the broccoli is starting to brown, about 20 minutes. (This is a good time to toast the breadcrumbs and make the dressing.) Toss the broccoli and roast until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes more.

Make the toasted breadcrumbs:

  1. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden-brown and toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Make the dressing:

  1. Juice 1 medium lemon into a small bowl until you have 4 teaspoons. Add 1 cold large egg yolk or 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper, and whisk to combine. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup neutral oil until thickened and combined.

  2. Finely grate until you have 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Chop 1 1/2 anchovy fillets and 1 garlic clove together until paste-like (if using anchovy paste, add 3/4 teaspoon directly to the dressing). Add the cheese, anchovy, and garlic to the dressing and whisk until combined.

  3. When the broccoli is ready, place the baking sheet on a wire rack. Drizzle with all of the dressing and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Finely grate a generous amount of Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 ounce), preferably with a Microplane, over everything.

Recipe Notes

Using egg yolk: If the idea of raw egg yolk makes you uncomfortable, look for pasteurized whole eggs at your local grocery store. Pasteurized eggs have been heated briefly to kill off bacteria, but otherwise resemble any other egg.

Make ahead: The dressing can be made up to a few hours and refrigerated. Rewhisk if needed before using. The toasted breadcrumbs can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Eat cold or at room temperature.