Don't like broccoli? Give it a roast
August 14th, 2011
08:00 AM ET
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"I don't like broccoli."

Four simple words that might be the hardest pill to swallow when it comes to eating healthy.

High in vitamins C, K and A, as well as fiber and cancer-fighting phytochemicals, it's no wonder scientists like those at the University of Newcastle have gone so far as to encapsulate all the benefits of the cruciferous vegetable into an actual pill for gag-less ingestion.

But, we're going to let you in on a secret: broccoli can be good - like, really really good - with a bit of summer's dry heat and no coagulating cheese sauce in sight.

Here's how:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim the leaves and tough ends from the broccoli stalks, before cutting the entire head into small florets.

Toss to coat the florets in olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Spread the florets out on a large baking sheet. Roast until tips of the florets are crisp, caramelized and browned - about 20 minutes.

Toss with grated pecorino, Parmesan, or another hard, salty cheese of your choosing. Serve immediately and watch broccoli bashers turn green with envy.



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soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Jess

    Even easier... Chop up the broccoli florets into fairly uniform pieces, halve (or quarter if they're big) a handful of baby carrots, toss them in a skillet with a little olive oil, and let them sizzle until it's bright green and a little roasty brown. Salt & pepper to taste. Delish! I love the sweetness of the carrots to balance the bitter of the broccoli.

    June 18, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  2. meperry

    This is exactly what I have been telling broccoli haters! So yummy!

    August 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • Broccoli

      Thank you.

      August 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  3. Person

    A nice change to this recipe is to dust the broccoli with lemon zest and curry powder before roasting it. Alongside, roast a couple of lemon halves until they're lightly browned, and squeeze the roasted lemon juice over the broccoli before serving. Yum!

    August 16, 2011 at 7:58 am | Reply
  4. Broccoli

    Everybody hates me.

    August 16, 2011 at 7:55 am | Reply
    • Asparagus

      Oh, get over yourself.

      August 16, 2011 at 8:41 am | Reply
      • Spinach

        Can I hide behind you guys? Popeye is looking for me.

        August 16, 2011 at 8:42 am | Reply
      • Cow

        Really... None of you matter. Offered as a side to the "main" event.

        November 6, 2013 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • Jess

      I love you, Broccoli.

      June 18, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  5. pacman357

    Ironically, I like just about all vegetables...except lima beans and squash. Broccoli? Like it just fine. Brussel sprouts? Pile them on. We can a frozen organic corn from the local grocery that–swear to God–is actually better than corn on the cob. Tastes every bit as fresh, but far more consistent, and it doesn't make a mess, and far less of it gets stuck between my teeth. The one time I really can't handle veggies? When my wife roasts them. Do yourself a favor, and try a steamer. Go to Sears, Penneys, or even an Ace Hardware. Steamers are cheap, you can control how long the process goes, and it leaves better-tasting veggies than boiling does, by far. The best part? Steamed lobster is absolute heaven compared to boiled or baked.

    August 16, 2011 at 5:05 am | Reply
  6. keith

    Ever wonder why old people's homes smell like cooked broccolli?? That's how they got to become old !!!! Duh!!!

    August 16, 2011 at 1:16 am | Reply
    • Broccoli

      They get old from smelling me?

      August 16, 2011 at 8:43 am | Reply
  7. Macatak

    PS If you do the same thing with Brussels sprouts, the kids'll eat 'em too. However, grill the sprouts over low heat 'til they're crispy on the outside...

    August 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  8. Macatak

    Chop off the gnarly bits, toss with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper, and grill 'em 'til they're floppy. Even MY kids eat 'em....

    August 15, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Reply
    • Broccoli

      So that's how you cook prairie oysters? I always wondered. I'm a vegetarian myself.

      August 16, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  9. Fifi

    Anyone who has an aversion to broccoli has to try freshly picked, organic broccoli from the California coast. it will change your mind. No need to roast, blanch, marine or otherwise alter it. I eat it raw. it's delicious.

    August 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Reply
    • Broccoli

      You know what? You can ALL eat me raw.

      August 16, 2011 at 7:56 am | Reply
  10. Erin

    I have a similar recipe; I think it's from a Biggest Loser cookbook. You marinate the broccoli for a while in a little light balsamic salad dressing (we use Newman's Own), and then roast it in the oven. The balsamic gets sweet as it cooks and it's amazing. My husband eats them like popcorn.

    August 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  11. Ajax

    Another trick for broccoli haters: blanch it, then pickle it overnight in the fridge with flavored vinegar. Garlic-chili is good, like a quick kimchi, but dill, thyme, tarragon, and the usual suspects are all fine.

    August 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Reply
    • Broccoli

      Why do you all hate me? What did I do to you?

      August 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  12. Nicole

    I never ate broccoli until my brother-in-law, who's a chef, roasted it for dinner one night. Since then, I eat it at least once a week. I recommend this to anyone who says they won't eat broccoli.

    August 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • Broccoli

      Eeek! Scream! Don't eat me! Aaah!

      August 16, 2011 at 8:44 am | Reply
  13. kat

    I toss broccoli with a bit of sesame oil and garlic - asparagus too - pop i under the broiler for a few minutes or steam it. Wonderful!!!

    August 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  14. Kris

    I roast cauliflower with a little olive oil and McCormick's roasted garlic and herb seasoning. It's yummy!

    August 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • gabriel

      Me too! Even my kids love it!

      August 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • Sharon O

      I roast cauliflower with garlic powder, pepper and a little salt. Yummy!

      August 15, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  15. melissa

    try plain roasted broccoli with some chinese oyster sauce... a very unlikely combination but oh so good!

    August 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  16. Ashley

    Toss it in olive oil and a little bit of soy sauce before roasting – even better! Works great for cauliflower too.

    August 15, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  17. Brett

    Caramelization alters food chemically, creating free radicals, so the benefits of broccoli are probably at best a wash when you overcook it as described in this article.

    August 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Reply
    • Broccoli

      I'm a free radical! Peace out, homies. Stick it to the man.

      August 16, 2011 at 10:13 am | Reply
      • Brussels Sprouts

        Grow your own! Yee-haw!

        August 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  18. Angie

    My incredibly picky teenager will even eat broccoli when it's cooked like this. She loves it and asks for seconds.

    August 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  19. Wiz

    This really works with almost any vegetable. Toss in garilc & olive oil (NOT "cooking oil"), roast or lightly sautee until it starts to brown. I use the same basic method for broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, squash and zucchini, brussels sprouts, spinach (sautee only) and kale. Good stuff!

    August 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  20. queeney63

    i sometimes mix broccoli & cauliflower togethen then add some hot pepper flakes and garlic powder to the olive oil mix.

    August 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Reply
  21. Lisa

    @Ryan if they won't eat it, it doesn't matter how healthy it is it is not doing any good. Now if it takes a little salt and olive oil to get someone to eat it I think the nutritional value even with the salt is well worth it.

    August 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  22. Lisa

    I prefer my cruciferous veggies raw, but if I cook them, I love the taste of thyme. Try either mixing fresh thyme leaves with the olive oil mix or just toss in some thyme sprigs on top of the veggies. Compound butter is nice too, in moderation.

    August 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  23. Ryan

    So this article suggests taking a very healthy food, covering with salt and oil, sticking it in the oven, and then covering it with more salt and cheese after it's done? The trick to eating healthy is to avoid fat and salt, not covering healthy foods with fat and salt and then patting yourself on the back as if you accomplished something.

    August 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Reply
    • Mr.Peanut@Ryan

      Don't be such a Gloomy Gus... I salt my nuts and then roast them...Want some?

      August 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Reply
      • Boy George

        I love roasted salty nutz.

        August 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Reply
      • fred

        My wife likes my salty nuts too.

        August 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Reply
      • George Michael from the next stall over

        I love steamy roasted salty nuts!

        August 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Reply
      • jen

        Fred et al, thanks for the laugh...needed it today!

        August 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Reply
      • fancy19

        You should try Pete Shwetty's balls

        August 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Reply
      • Broccoli

        When I was walking through the park yesterday I saw a squirrel putting butter and salt on his nuts. True story, my hand to God.

        August 16, 2011 at 8:37 am | Reply
    • OliveOil

      A small amount of olive oil goes a long way and never hurt anyone-it's actually beneficial to have a little every day. You don't need to add a ton of salt-do what's best for your diet. And as far as some parm goes-it's a lot of bang for a little buck. You hardly need any to get that satisfying taste. For someone who won't eat them any other way, it's not a bad compromise.

      August 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Reply
      • Popeye

        I likes ta have a l'il Olive Oyl every day, if'n ya know what I means. It's cause I yam what I yam.

        August 16, 2011 at 8:39 am | Reply
    • Kris

      You need very little olive oil and salt to get a good, tasty result. Olive oil is a healthy oil in small doses.

      August 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Reply
      • Popeye

        Watch how ya talks about my goil.

        August 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • gabriel

      I don't think you have to drown the vegetables, but some flavor is a good thing

      August 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Reply
    • Laura

      Olive oil is good for you! And fat gets a bad rep. There are good fats and bad fats. Olive oil is not in the same category as something like lard or anything containing any amount of hydrogenated oil (trans fat – stay away!). Olive oil has been shown to be beneficial when it comes to cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease. When I roast asparagus (best way to cook it), I use a tablespoon of olive oil for a pound of asparagus. A quarter tablespoon of olive oil is not going to make your veggies unhealthy. Also, a little salt or cheese in moderation won't kill it either.

      Of course, part of a healthy diet is having a healthy proportion of the macronutrients – I am by no means advocating a 100% fat diet.

      August 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Reply
    • PushingBack

      Oil and fats are necessary – don't fall for the BS you've been fed for decades. It's the type of fat that matters most. Olive oil is one of the best. Listen to what Laura posted – a very good response. And for men out there, this recipe is a great testosterone booster.

      August 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Reply
    • Pam

      Olive oil is a health food. It's extremely good for you. You're not supposed to add too much salt. Lightly salting some foods on the outside is perfectly acceptable because it adds flavor. Also, iodized salt is a good way to get iodine into your diet as it is not present in many foods. And Parmesan cheese is not bad for you, especially if eaten in moderation. My Mother has been cooking her broccoli this way for at least 15 years. She has made it for me several times and it's absolutely delicious. No yellow cheese sauce needed.

      August 16, 2011 at 2:10 am | Reply
    • jsimpson89

      Uh, Ryan? Olive oil is a HEALTHY fat, full of nutrients we need. Parmesan cheese isn't a super bad for you cheese either. I'd wager you don't eat enough for it to be unhealthy in this snack. As for salt... if you use sea salt, you only need very little of it to taste, so it's not horribly high in sodium. Exactly what is wrong with this recipe?

      November 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • ActuallyEducated

      Actually recent medical research reveals most people aren't getting enough sodium (salt) in their diets, and the links between fat intake and heart disease are tenuous at best.

      February 26, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  24. SilentBoy741

    Cover it in cheese. 2 ounces of cheese for every 1 ounce of broccoli.

    August 15, 2011 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Schmelvin

      Now yer talkin'!

      August 15, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Reply
  25. coriolana

    Tried roasting broccoli and I still hate it. Sorry, not a fan of cruciferous veggies. However, try roasting Brussel sprouts! Very yummy.

    August 15, 2011 at 11:18 am | Reply
    • Alien8

      I saw Cruciferous Veggies warming up for Anthrax back in '77. Helluva show.

      August 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  26. Ileana

    ~~Love broccoli and boneless chicken steamed w/ taste of soy sauce. YUMMMMMMMMMM.

    August 15, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  27. Becky

    I do this with brussels sprouts and they are delicious. I've made many converts with this method!

    August 15, 2011 at 11:10 am | Reply
  28. les

    LOVE roasted broccoli and califlower is even better.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:51 am | Reply
  29. Sara

    Does it still stink if you cook it like that?

    I like raw broccoli, but the smell of it steaming makes me nauseous.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:20 am | Reply
  30. Dave

    Does roasting affect the nutrient content (vs. raw broccoli)?

    August 15, 2011 at 9:59 am | Reply
    • Schmell my face!

      It only reduces the nutrient value when you coat it with baby batter.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
  31. Emily

    We love this technique and use it with green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and even brussel sprouts! We add a splash of balsalmic at the end – enjoy!!

    August 15, 2011 at 9:51 am | Reply
  32. alimonyjones

    Don't forget to add lots of slivered garlic. I mix cauliflower, broccoli, garlic and shave fresh parmesan over when roasted. Wonderful!

    August 15, 2011 at 9:45 am | Reply
    • Kris

      I do the same. Delicious!

      August 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  33. Stranger than Kitchen

    I love roasted broccoli, it gets almost caramelized and adds a totally different dimension.
    I added roasted broccoli along with roasted zucchini and asparagus to this quinoa recipe. Toss in some caramelized peaches and raisins and you have a recipe to die for! http://strangerthankitchen.com/

    August 14, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Reply
    • Carol

      sounds wonderful and thanks for the link ! do you have a Bisto olive oil sprayer? I just got mine and love it !

      August 15, 2011 at 8:07 am | Reply
  34. Allie

    Even easier if you use spray olive oil instead of tossing it with olive oil.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • Popeye

      Me and Olive Oyl toss it every night.

      August 16, 2011 at 8:40 am | Reply

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