Charred Broccoli

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Do you love broccoli and need a few more ideas for using it? The roadside honesty stands, grocery stores, and Farmers Markets always seem to have all the broccoli you could ever want. It is definitely a favored vegetable in my house. There are few side dishes easier and tastier than Charred Broccoli! In this post, I will show you how to make this quick weeknight side dish that is sure to become a regular menu item in your rotation. 

charred broccoli in a green bowl with a metal spoon.

Roasted Charred Broccoli

Here I am, coming at you with yet another fresh veggie recipe! This one is a winner. Fresh bright green broccoli paired with roasted garlic cloves and bright lemon zest.

What is charred broccoli? It is simply broccoli that has been roasted at a higher heat until it gets a nice char on it (browning). This is similar to caramelization.

Charring food simply means that food is being exposed to high heat until it has a slightly burned or caramelized exterior. Don’t let the word “burned” scare you away! One of the best things about charing broccoli is that its natural sweetness is enhanced, and it takes on smoky undertones while it stays crunchy. There’s a lot to love about that!

I almost always have some broccoli in my kitchen, it’s a good all around veggie. This is a dish we make almost weekly in my house, it is just great with pretty much everything. My kids love it and I hope yours do too!

Ingredients You’ll Need

A few ingredients are all you need to make this wonderfully flavorful charred broccoli recipe! 

Broccoli- You can buy whole crowns of broccoli (which is how you’d find it at a Farmers Market, farmstand, or CSA share) or you can buy it bagged and already cut into florets at your grocery store.

Avocado Oil- Why avocado oil? It has a much higher smoke point, meaning you can heat it to higher temperatures without burning. Olive oil has more flavor (avocado oil is more neutral) but olive oil is likely to burn at higher cooking temperatures, meaning a bitter taste.

Salt and Pepper- They make everything taste better!

Fresh Garlic- A few chopped cloves of garlic tossed in to cook with the broccoli add lots of great flavor. 

Lemon Zest- This adds brightness and zing.

Charred broccoli ingredients.

How To Select Broccoli At The Store

If you are buying your broccoli in crowns, check that there is no browning or softening and make sure the buds (the soft dark green part at the top) is not wilted or mushy. It may or may not still have leaves attached which you won’t be using in the recipe.

When buying bagged cut broccoli, most of the bag should be transparent, so you should be able to visually inspect it to check for browning, rot, or softening.

If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has U-Pick farms that sell broccoli, you can go right out in the field and cut it yourself. This is actually something great to do with kids! If you can harvest your own, you would be looking for the same characteristics, no browning or softening. 

I worked the harvest season at a local farm for a couple of years, and they grew a lot of broccoli. The greenery that surrounds broccoli heads as it grows is truly a sight. Sometimes, each plant would be a few feet wide.

However you buy your broccoli, be sure it is not mushy, soft, or has browned at all. You want to look for a nice bright green color all over, and firm buds.

How To Make Charred Broccoli

  1. Chop the broccoli if needed.
  2. Peel and chop the garlic.
  3. Toss everything with salt and pepper.
  4. Drizzle the broccoli and garlic with the oil and stir to coat.
  5. Roast the broccoli, and add lemon zest and stir after cooking.

I have made charred broccoli many times, and the oven temperature and cooking time listed in the recipe card has never failed me. 

Some recipes for charred broccoli have you place it under a broiler. While that is also an effective method, I have found that there is a wider margin for error, and your broccoli is more likely to go beyond charring and just burn. 

This is because when you broil it, you have to watch it a lot more closely, and it is very easy to have inedible broccoli by waiting to check the oven a few seconds too long. In my house with two active boys, I often don’t have the luxury of being on the edge of my seat hoping something doesn’t burn. 

By using the method in this recipe, that is much less likely to happen.

You will need one large rimmed baking sheet for this recipe. If you only have smaller ones, use two. This way, the broccoli is not too crowded together. If the florets are not given a little space in between, they won’t cook evenly. 

Seasoned broccoli and garlic cloves on a sheet pan.
Try to make sure your broccoli florets are a similar size, and that there is space between them on the sheet pan.

How Do You Cut Fresh Broccoli?

If you purchase your broccoli in crowns, you will need to cut it into pieces for cooking. To do this, here are a few tips:

  1. Remove the large leaves from the heads of broccoli. You can discard them or add to soups, or into a salad.
  2. You will want to cut each floret off the large center stem. Some of the florets may be large, so they will need to be trimmed down further. More notes for that are located in the recipe card.
  3. If you are using bagged cut broccoli florets, you may still need to trim them to size so they are all mostly similar in size for roasting.

Ways To Use Broccoli Stems

Once you are done chopping the broccoli, you will have stems left over if you bought crowns. They can be rather fibrous, but they are still usable if you cut the outermost skin off. They can be chopped and added to the sheet pan and cooked with the broccoli if you prefer, or they can be put in soups, salads, or stir fry.

Charred Broccoli Recipe Variations

Here are a few suggestions if you want to jazz up this recipe, and have a few different ways to make it:

  • Instead of the garlic and lemon zest, try Parmesan Cheese
  • Toasted Pine Nuts and Romano Cheese
  • Drizzle with Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce (if you decide to use this pairing, you can use the juice from the lemon you zested for the broccoli to make this sauce recipe!)
  • Toss with Pesto
  • Use red chili flakes instead of black pepper for added spice
Closeup photo of charred broccoli.

How To Serve Charred Broccoli

I love this as a side dish, but you can also toss it with pasta for a nice light Vegetarian meal. Here are some ideas for dishes that pair great with charred broccoli:

Looking for other sides to serve with your charred broccoli? Or desserts? Here are some ideas:

I hope you love this charred broccoli! If you made this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Just leave a rating or comment. If you have not signed up for my newsletter and you’d like all the latest updates, you can do that below. I have all sorts of exclusive content just for newsletter subscribers, and I’d love for you to join. Happy Cooking!

Charred broccoli on a large spoon.
Charred roasted broccoli in a bowl with a spoon and napkin.
Yield: 4 Servings

Charred Broccoli

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Charred Broccoli is an easy side you'll love making every week, and it pairs well with just about everything. No matter how busy you are, this is one of the easiest recipes for a hectic weeknight.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of Broccoli Florets (bagged or chopped, or two large broccoli crowns, see notes)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil
  • 2 teaspoons of Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 6 large Garlic cloves
  • Zest from one Lemon

Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. While the oven heats, cut the broccoli.
  3. If you bought bagged broccoli for this recipe, all you need to do is trim down the florets so that they are similar in size. If you have broccoli crowns, cut the florets from the large center stem and trim the florets down to similar sizes for cooking (see notes).
  4. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. I cut the cloves in half or in thirds, so there are nice chunks of roasted garlic throughout.
  5. Place the cut broccoli and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet, and add the 2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper and toss.
  6. Drizzle the 2 tablespoons of avocado oil onto the broccoli and garlic and stir to coat.
  7. Place the sheet pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. After ten minutes, stir the broccoli and finish cooking. If you are cooking this on two sheet pans, put one pan on the rack above the middle, and rotate the sheet pans halfway through cooking when you stir the broccoli.
  8. Zest the lemon while the broccoli cooks.
  9. You will know the broccoli is done when it is mostly a nice golden brown (with some black charred bits on the buds) and can be pierced with a fork but still has some resistance.
  10. Toss the broccoli with the lemon zest and serve!

Notes

A good size for your broccoli florets is about an inch across at the top, and leave the stem about an inch to an inch and a half long.

If you are using crowns, you will need about one large crown for two people, or two crowns to feed four people.

One large sheet pan is enough to cook the broccoli. If you only have smaller ones, use two sheet pans so that you don't overcrowd the broccoli.

This recipe is easily doubled, just be sure to use an additional sheet pan so the broccoli is not overcrowded on the pan.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 53Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1105mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

All information presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietitian and any nutritional information should only be used as a general guideline. Statements within this site have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is provided for recipes contained on this site. This information comes from online calculators. Although The Copper Table attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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8 Comments

  1. We make roasted broccoli all the time, but this recipe sounds fantastic! I will have to give this a try, maybe we will add it into our weekly rotation! Thank you for linking up with Hearts & Homes, I hope to see you again this week.

  2. Yummy!! I loved charred, roasted broccoli! My hubby makes it on our Blackstone Griddle, and it’s so delicious. I put the broccoli in a ziploc, coat it well with olive oil, the shake salt and pepper in the bag. After mixing it well so it’s evenly covered, he dumps it out on the griddle. It’s my favorite way to cook veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
    I found you on Calling all Bloggers February link up.

  3. What a great recipe, I bet this has a lovely flavor. Thanks so much for sharing on SSPS, I hope to see you again next week.

  4. I didn’t know that about the oils! This looks wonderful. The lemon flavor would be just perfect here, I think. Thanks for sharing this post at the Will Blog for Comments #23 linkup. Looking forward to what you’ll share at #24. 🙂 Have a great week.

  5. This is one of my favorite ways to eat broccoli; I don’t prepare it this way very often though because none of my boys like it this way and I’ll eat broccoli no matter how it’s prepared. But I do find the char adds a nice little taste and texture.

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