You can boil broccoli, but there are better ways to cook this versatile vegetable. Give a few different methods a try, and you'll find your broccoli has more flavor and looks far more appealing. You may even decide it's your favorite vegetable if it isn't already.
Cutting Fresh Broccoli
Using fresh broccoli is preferable to frozen, but this means you'll need to wash and cut it before you cook it.
To cut broccoli:
- Cut through the main stem as close to the florets as possible.
- Break the larger sections of florets into smaller sections that are easier to work with.
- Cut the florets into bite size pieces, leaving a bit of stem to hold the pieces together.
- Cut the main stem into similar sized pieces so all of your broccoli will cook at the same rate.
Once your broccoli is cut, it's time to decide how you want to cook it.
Different Ways to Cook Broccoli
Steaming makes the broccoli tender while preserving most of its vitamin content. All you need is a large sauce pot with a lid and a steamer basket.
- Fill the pot with enough water so the steamer basket sits on top of the water without touching it.
- Over medium heat, bring the water to a strong simmer.
- Fill the basket with the broccoli and put it in the saucepan.
- Cover the pot with a lid, and steam the broccoli for about five minutes or until it's tender.
Microwaving provides another way to steam broccoli, with the added benefit of being able to cook and serve in the same dish.
- Arrange your broccoli in a microwave-safe dish.
- Add 4 tablespoons of water to the dish.
- Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap, leaving a little opening for steam to escape.
- Microwave on high for five minutes, and then let the broccoli rest undisturbed for two minutes.
- Test the broccoli for tenderness by poking it with a fork. The fork should go in easily.
- If needed, continue microwaving at 60 second intervals until the broccoli is as tender as you desire.
If you prefer to cook on the stove top, try sautéing your broccoli.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan.
- When the oil is hot, add the broccoli.
- Stir the broccoli to coat it with the oil, and sauté until tender.
Roasted broccoli is absolutely delicious. Wash your broccoli ahead of time, and let it dry in a colander lined with paper towels so it isn't watery when it's time to cook it.
- Preheat the over to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put the broccoli in a large bowl, drizzle some olive oil over it, and sprinkle it with a little sea salt.
- Toss the broccoli, and then arrange it in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet.
- Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender and tinged golden brown.
Grilling your broccoli adds a nice, smoky flavor. Prepare the broccoli just as you would if you were going to roast it, but instead of putting it on a baking sheet, throw it on the grill with whatever else you're cooking. Let it cook until it has some nice char marks on it.
The texture of grilled broccoli will be a little firmer than if you had steamed it, but it will still be delicious. If you really prefer it to be more tender, try steaming it for two to three minutes to start the cooking process before you toss it in olive oil, and then finish it on the grill.
Many people enjoy plain broccoli with a touch of salt, but there are many ways to serve it. Give the following suggestions a try.
- Alfredo sauce: Pair steamed broccoli with pasta, and cover it with the Alfredo sauce for a delicious dinner.
- Cheese: When you cook broccoli in the microwave, sprinkle some cheddar or Parmesan cheese on top when it's nearly done, dot with some butter, and then microwave a little longer until the cheese melts.
- Garlic butter: When sautéing, add some garlic butter to the pan near the end of cooking time, and stir the broccoli to coat it well.
- Seasoning salt: Sprinkle a little seasoning salt on your broccoli towards the end of its grilling time to really boost the flavor.
Make Broccoli Part of Your Dinner Menu
With so many ways to cook and serve this vegetable, you're bound to find at least a few favorite ways to prepare it. Enjoy it on its own, or in soups, stews, and casseroles. It's even great included in a stir fry or paired with pasta and other veggies. There are simply dozens of ways to work it into your dinner menus, so don't hesitate to experiment a little.