Nutrition

How to Cook Broccoli in 5 Different Ways

To squeeze more greens into your meals, look no further than the humble broccoli.

Broccoli provides fiber and vitamin C — “basically a lot of the good stuff most people don’t get enough of,” says Brittany Crump, M.P.H., R.D. at Savor Nutrition.

This versatile veggie can be used to make creative recipes like broccoli tots, broccoli gratin, or egg cups.

Plus, broccoli is easy to find at any grocery store, in every season — so once you know how to cook broccoli, it can be a year-round staple in your meal plan.

Whether you enjoy eating broccoli steamed, sautéed, or roasted, check out these easy and delicious ways to reap its nutritious benefits.

How to Clean and Prep Broccoli

Raw broccoli in a colander

When buying broccoli, look for:

  • Green, even color with no yellow or brown spots
  • Firm, tight crown of florets
  • Springy stalks with no limpness
  • No major soft spots that might indicate rotting

After cleaning your head of broccoli, cut to separate the stalk from the crown. Cut the crown into smaller florets, and cut the stalk into slices.

To save time, you can also buy pre-cut or frozen broccoli.

Each of the cooking methods below is for fresh broccoli, so keep in mind that frozen broccoli may take longer to cook.

Also, you might need to repeat each method if your cookware isn’t large enough to hold all the broccoli you want to make.

How to Microwave Broccoli

You might wonder: Is it better to boil or microwave broccoli?

It’s better to microwave because vegetables tend to lose nutrients to the cooking water when they’re boiled.

Just be aware that microwave broccoli can be pretty bland, so you may want to serve it with a yummy dip like tofu Caesar dressing or golden ranch dip.

  1. Load broccoli florets and 3 to 4 tablespoons of water into a large microwave-safe bowl or baking dish.
  2. Cover the bowl or dish with a large plate.
  3. Microwave on high for 3½ minutes. Use a fork to carefully check if the broccoli is tender enough for you. If not, microwave for another minute.
  4. Add salt, pepper, 1 tsp. butter or olive oil (per serving), and other seasonings as desired. Toss to coat and enjoy.

How to Steam Broccoli

Broccoli florets being cooked in a steamer.

How do you steam broccoli on the stove? All you’ll need is a large pot, a steamer basket, and some water to make tender, steamed broccoli.

  1. Place your steamer basket into a larger pot and add an inch of water.
  2. Bring the water to a boil. Use tongs to carefully transfer the broccoli florets to the steamer basket. Cover with a lid and steam for 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Use a fork to check for doneness. Remove florets.
  4. Add salt, pepper, 1 tsp. butter or olive oil (per serving), and other seasonings as desired. Toss to coat and enjoy.

How to Blanch Broccoli

Blanching means scalding the broccoli in boiling water but only for a short amount of time — about half the time it takes to steam broccoli.

Blanched broccoli is perfect for those who prefer slightly crisper broccoli. This method also keeps broccoli looking fresh and green before you add it to a sauté.

  1. Bring a large pot filled two-thirds of the way with water to a boil.
  2. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt.
  3. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. While broccoli boils, partially fill a large bowl with ice and water. Drain broccoli and add to ice bath; let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cooled. Drain; set aside.
  4. Save blanched broccoli for another recipe. Or add salt, pepper, 1 tsp. butter or olive oil (per serving), and other seasonings as desired. Toss to coat and enjoy.

How to Sauté Broccoli

Sauteeing Broccoli in a Pan

A simple broccoli sauté works well as a side dish for any dinner proteins — like beef, pork, chicken, or seafood. You’ll need about one to 1½ lbs. of broccoli.

  1. Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.
  2. Add your cut broccoli florets and stalks. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Saute 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic for about 20 to 30 seconds.
  4. Add ½ cup chicken broth plus salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Drizzle some sesame oil (optional). Serve immediately.

To level up sauteed broccoli, try this flavorful beef and broccoli recipe. Adding other veggies into your saute will also make it more colorful and appetizing.

Want to branch out from broccoli? Try a sautéed broccoli rabe.

Broccoli rabe is actually in a different family than broccoli — it’s leafier with a slightly bitter taste.

There’s also broccolini or baby broccoli, which is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli — it’s smaller, more tender, with a slightly sweeter taste.

How to Roast Broccoli

Roasted broccoli with crispy garlic on plate

What is the best way of cooking broccoli? Roasted broccoli gets our vote!

In the oven, broccoli florets develop crispy, caramelized edges while remaining fork-tender on the inside. You’ll need about one to 1½ lbs. of broccoli.

  1. Preheat the oven to 475° F.
  2. Toss the broccoli florets with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, ½ teaspoon sugar, and a bit of salt and pepper.
  3. Spritz a baking sheet with cooking spray. Add broccoli to the baking sheet and pop in the oven to roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until edges are browned and broccoli is tender-crisp.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the broccoli cool. Sprinkle with your favorite toppings (like roasted pine nuts, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese) and serve.

And try these Beachbody broccoli recipes!

Vegan Cauliflower Rice and Broccoli Gratin

Breaded Chicken Tenders With Broccolini

FIXATE Beef and Broccoli

Want more expert nutrition and cooking tips? Head over to BODNutrition.com to learn how Beachbody nutrition programs and products can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.

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