If you never thought you could be obsessed with a vegetable side dish, then I’m bold enough to say that you probably haven’t had roasted broccolini before.
You might even wonder what the heck is broccolini and is it just broccoli and what’s so special about it?! We’re going to get to all of that in a minute.
But for starters, you’re going to love this side dish because it’s EASY, made with simple ingredients, and very hands-off, taking only 15 minutes from start to finish!
It’s is a side dish you need in your repertoire whether you’re vegetarian or not! There are endless flavor variations, too, once you’ve nailed down the basics. This vegetable side will be a weekly (daily?) repeater for sure!
What is broccolini vs. broccoli?
Broccolini is also known as “baby broccoli”; it has thin, long stalks and tender tops. Broccolini is not broccoli, but they’re related. It is developed from broccoli, but broccolini is smaller and more delicate.
While regular broccoli can sometimes have a bitter flavor, broccolini has a more mild flavor, with a slight sweetness. When it is roasted, the top florets become crispy and slightly charred, while the stalks become tender.
Yes, you can and will want to eat those long slender stalks of broccolini. The contrast between the crispy tops and tender stalks is a wonderful mix of textures when it comes to veggie sides.
We can’t forget that another difference between broccolini and broccoli is that broccolini often has small leaves attached to its stems, which you want to roast up with the stalks. The leaves crisp up in the oven and are just delectable!
What About Broccoli Rabe?
It’s common to be standing in the grocery store in front of broccoli bunches, broccolini (sometimes baby broccoli), and broccoli rabe and wonder what you are supposed to get for which recipe.
Broccoli rabe may be confused with broccolini, but they are different, and you want to be sure to use broccolini (or if labeled baby broccoli) for this recipe.
Broccoli rabe tends to be more bitter and closer to kale in texture and taste.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
We’re starting with the basic roasted broccolini recipe today. You’ll love it because it’s so simple. You can use several flavor variations to mix things up (see below) once you get the basics down, but let’s start here first.
- Extra virgin olive oil – using a high-quality oil will really elevate this recipe!
- Coarse sea salt – while you can also use fine sea salt, I like the texture that coarse or kosher salt adds.
- Broccolini – as discussed, it’s sometimes known as baby broccoli. It often comes in bunches at the grocery store. One bunch generally serves about two servings; you can use as many bunches as you need to serve your family.
That’s it, really, those are the only ingredients you’ll need. You might want to toss in some freshly ground black pepper for a kick, too, but that’s up to you!
The Easy Recipe Steps
Roasting vegetables really couldn’t be easier, and the reward of the crispy, caramelized bits is well worth the little effort needed. All you’ll need is a large sheet pan and a hot oven before you have the most delectable veggies around!
How to Cut Broccolini
The first step is to trim the ends of the broccolini stalks. Cut the rough end off, similar to how you would with asparagus. The amount will vary depending on the size of your broccolini, however, you generally just need to trim about a half-inch or so.
Assemble on the Sheet Pan
Once they’re trimmed, drizzle olive oil across the stalks with a generous pinch of salt, then toss to coat completely. Do this right on the sheet pan to save on dishes.
Make sure the stalks are evenly spaced on the baking sheet. This ensures that they actually roast, as opposed to steam, to create those crispy tops and caramelized stalks we love.
Place the sheet pan in the hot oven. Then, all that’s left to do is give them time for the heat to work its magic and create that irresistible texture. You’ll know they’re finished when the stalks are fork-tender, but not soggy, and the tops are crispy.
Do they look burnt? That’s ok! The charred parts on the top are what make the contrast of texture throughout the vegetable.
If you prefer less char, you can consider lowering the temperature to 375F and cook them for a few minutes longer.
Roasting vs. Sauteing
Another popular cooking method for broccolini is to saute it in a skillet on the stovetop.
Cooking broccolini on a sheet pan provides a different texture than sauteeing. Like I’ve said (because I cannot get enough of it) roasting results in crispy tops that you can’t really achieve through sauteeing.
The stalks also get more caramelized and golden brown, instead of more soft and steamed in sauteing.
Roasted Broccolini Variations
There are several adaptations you can make with pan-roasted broccolini. Ok, probably a lot more than several, but I’m going to share a few of my favorites. Once you have simple roasted broccolini down, it’s easy to add flavors to match what you’ll be serving it with.
I hope as you fall in love with making this easy side dish, you’ll experiment and share with me your favorites, too!
- Lemon – a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and/or adding some lemon zest will brighten up the flavors.
- Parmesan Cheese – grate some parmesan cheese on the roasted broccolini after roasting and it will slightly melt and add a cheesy, salty component.
- Garlic – toss with minced garlic and roast (you know you can’t go wrong with garlic). You can also toss the stalks with garlic powder or roast a whole garlic bulb with the broccolini.
- Red Pepper Flakes – a pinch adds a lovely kick!
- Almond Slices – for a crunchy addition, top with toasted almond slices.
- Soy Sauce – toss with a little soy sauce before baking for a salty umami twist.
Broccolini is becoming more popular in common grocery stores. If you’re having difficulty finding it, check Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or a higher-end grocery store or co-op. They can be found in regular produce, loose, or in packages, depending on the store.
Yes, you can. You will need to roast it longer to get crispy tops. Keep in mind it will be different in flavor and texture than broccolini.
It’s best reheated in the oven on a sheet pan around 350F until heated through. In a pinch, the microwave will work but the broccolini will err on the soggy side. Leftover broccolini is great to throw on salads, with pasta, or in veggie bowls!
Recipes to Pair this Recipe With
- Fettuccine Alfredo
- Creamy Garlic Pasta with Pan Seared Scallops
- Parmesan Rosemary Crusted Fish
- Easy Baked Teriyaki Salmon
- Miso Ginger Glazed Salmon
More Broccolini Recipes
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Perfect Pan-Roasted Broccolini
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Trim any dried or rough ends off of the broccolini, rinse, and pat dry.
- Place the broccolini on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss until completely coated and spread the broccolini evenly across the pan. Space them out, avoiding crowding them together, so that they will roast up, opposed to steaming.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until stalks are fork tender and florets are crispy. The bake time may vary depending on the size of your broccolini stalks.
- Garnish with additional flakey salt, pepper, or other suggestions from the post as desired. Serve immediately.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven at 350F, or in the microwave if needed.
- Serving Size: One bunch serves approximately 2 people, adjust as needed.
- Olive oil should coat (but not drench) the broccolini; it helps it crisp up while roasting.
- Additional add-ins: a squeeze of lemon juice, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, or almond slices.