Did you know that you can roast broccoli in the oven? I’ve roasted many vegetables over the years, but for some reason I never thought to roast broccoli… it just didn’t seem like a roast-able veggie, somehow. Well, consider me schooled. What the heck was I thinking? Roasted broccoli is the best thing since roasted cauliflower! I’m fully addicted to this stuff. Roasting brings out flavors in the broccoli that I never knew it possessed. The little florets become crispy on top, the stalk tender and sweet within. It’s magic!
Just as vegetables are better roasted, I find food is more satisfying when accompanied by a little history. Broccoli first appeared in the Mediterranean and was popular in ancient Rome. The name broccoli derives from the Italian word brocco meaning “little branches.” In Elizabethan England it was known as “Brawcle.” Broccoli was introduced to the American colonies in the early 1700′s. Thomas Jefferson had it planted in his gardens at Monticello, and it was mentioned in a Virginia gardening book published around 1765. Recipes for the vegetable appear in several American and British cookbooks from the 1700′s and 1800′s. It wasn’t widely available in America till the 1920′s, when Italian immigrants began to cultivate it in California.
Okay, I know a lot of you have probably roasted broccoli before, and you’re kind of shocked that I wasn’t already on this bandwagon. Forgive me. I’m behind the times. I roast all kinds of vegetables, but this one never really occurred to me. Consider me officially caught up.
For those of you who, like me, never tried roasting this healthy and tasty veggie, I’ve provided a simple step-by-step tutorial below. Try it and prepare to be amazed!
- 1 bunch broccoli, separated
- 1 bunch broccoli, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
You will also need
- Sheet tray, aluminum foil (optional), tongs, mixing bowl (if roasting pieces)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. If roasting whole broccoli pieces, first wash and rinse. Remove the last ½ inch of the stem, then peel to remove the tough, fibrous outer layer.
- Place broccoli onto a sheet tray (lined with foil for easier cleanup, if desired) and drizzle with the olive oil, paying special attention the florets so that they are evenly covered with a thin layer of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast on the middle rack of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until a knife can easily be inserted into the stem. Turn the stalks over with the tongs halfway through so each side is evenly cooked. Watch it carefully towards the end, it can easily go from roasted to burned. Oven temps vary and not every oven will take exactly 45 minutes; you will learn what works for your oven.
- If roasting broccoli pieces, first wash and rinse. Remove the florets and cut them into smaller pieces.
- Peel the stem to remove the tough, fibrous outer layer, then chop the stem into 1-inch pieces.
- Place broccoli pieces in a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil salt and pepper, then transfer to a baking sheet (lined with foil for easier cleanup, if desired).
- Roast for about 30 minutes, turning the florets with tongs halfway through cooking, till florets are tender and the crowns are crisp (tips should be browned, not blackened). Watch it carefully towards the end, it can easily go from roasted to burned. Oven temps vary and not every oven will take exactly 30 minutes; you will learn what works for your oven.
- Eat up. It's addictive, seriously.