Smash Your Broccoli for the Crispiest, Most Flavorful Side Dish
If you’re a fan of simple side dishes, then you probably love broccoli. Broccoli is fantastic when it’s nice and crispy, perfectly seasoned, and a little charred. Our usual go-to is to toss florets with plenty of olive oil and roast them at a high temperature (around 425°F is usually ideal). There is, however, another step you can take to up the crisp factor: Smash the florets!
We have digital creator Alexa Kliman to thank for the simple yet ingenious idea. In Kliman’s TikTok video, she roasts broccoli florets on a baking sheet with avocado oil at 425°F for about 5 minutes, just to soften them. Kliman then smashes each of the florets with the bottom of a drinking glass before roasting them again until they’re crispy.
When you think about it, the idea of smashed broccoli seems only natural — especially since we love similar side dishes like smashed potatoes and smashed Brussels sprouts. Often times, smashing small vegetables while they roast helps to create more surface area that will come in contact with the hot sheet pan — this creates a crispier texture and multidimensional flavor. With this in mind, I tried the trick out for myself.
I used olive oil on my sheet pan for roasting the broccoli florets and roasted them for about 5 minutes at 425°F. When I proceeded to smash the florets with the bottom of a coffee mug, however, I realized that the larger florets were harder to smash. I would recommend roasting for at least 5 to 7 minutes if your florets are particularly large. For florets that are larger than 1 to 2 inches across the top, consider allow additional time for them to soften.
After smashing the florets, I seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder and transferred them back into the oven to roast for about 5 to 10 more minutes, flipping them halfway in between. Some ovens are much stronger than others, so the time range for maximum crispness may vary. While it depends on how crisp you like broccoli, be sure to look at the broccoli closely to see it’s developing some charred spots. You can also flip one of the smashed florets to see how the browning is going on the other side.
The result was a delight! The florets as a whole were tender and not hard or fibrous at the stems. The tops of the florets got crispy and nicely charred. I served my florets with a drizzle of cilantro-garlic salad dressing. Smashing your broccoli is a simple trick to help add more flavor to an ingredient that has a tendency to come off a bit bland. You can also keep an eye on the florets while they roast to make sure they’re reaching the level of crispiness that suits you.