In the grand pantheon of roasted vegetables, I feel that broccoli is king. Reviled by picky toddlers and neglected by snacking party-goers, here is a vegetable that is absolutely redeemed by the power of a hot oven. The tough stems turn tender, the tree-like tops turn crispy, and the color goes from dull and boring to a brilliant, appetizing emerald green. All hail King Broccoli.
Making the Best Roasted Broccoli
The same general rules for roasting vegetables apply here: Don't skimp on the oil, salt like you mean it, and make sure your oven is hot. I recommend two tablespoons of oil for about a pound of broccoli — which is a little more than I usually use for other vegetables — to make sure the florets and their bumpy crowns are evenly coated.
Salt also brings out the broccoli's flavor and reduces the bitterness that so often turns people off from this vegetable. A hot oven is the final clincher — high heat will give the florets plenty of crispy, roasty bits, which make humble broccoli irresistible. Even if the florets seem tender, keep roasting until you see those roasted bits.
Meals with Roasted Broccoli
Roasted broccoli is a regular visitor to my kitchen, and not just as a side dish to chicken and roast potatoes. I often use it to complete grain bowls or polenta bowls, simple pastas, or warm salads. If I have leftovers, I toss the broccoli into a casserole or frittata, purée it into a soup, or use it to top a pizza later in the week. Even once the broccoli loses its just-roasted crispiness, it still has a deep, savory flavor that I love in all these dishes.
How To Make Roasted Broccoli
Serves 4 to 6
What You Need
Heat the oven to 425°F. Place a rack in the middle position.
Cut the broccoli into florets: Cut the florets away from the stem, then cut the florets into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Trim away the tough half-inch or so at the bottom of the stem and cut the rest of the stem into bite-sized pieces.
Toss with olive oil and salt: Transfer the cut broccoli to the mixing bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil and toss. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil and the salt, and toss a second time.
Spread the broccoli onto the baking sheet: Spread the broccoli in an even layer with some space between the florets; crowding will cause the broccoli to steam instead of roast.
Roast for 20 to 25 minutes: Stir the broccoli once partway through cooking. The broccoli is done when a fork or knife easily pierces the stem and you see some crispy, roasted bits on the crown of the florets.
Serve while hot: Transfer the broccoli to a serving dish. Sprinkle with a little extra salt, if desired. Serve while hot.
For some extra pizzaz, try tossing your florets with some panko crumbs or finely grated Parmesan after roasting (or both!). Roasted broccoli is also great with a squeeze of lemon over top.