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Quick and Easy Broccolini Recipe

5 from 11 votes

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THIS is my absolute favorite broccolini recipe! Learn the secret to cooking this nutritious and delicious vegetable and you’ll be hooked.

Image - A round gray serving bowl with cooked broccoli sprouts and stems, with serving spoons and lemon wedges.

This basic broccolini recipe will show you how to quickly cook broccolini to simple perfection.

Your broccolini will turn out with a beautiful, vibrant green color and a balanced tender-crunchy texture in every bite. And it’s not roasted, sautéed or pan-fried. What’s the secret?

It’s actually a little chef tip I learned while working in restaurant kitchens, and it couldn’t be easier.

Image: Broccolini spears and florets arranged on a bowl with a napkin.

How to cook perfect broccolini:

The technique is — wait for it — boiling. Yep, boiling (or “big pot blanching” in pro terms) is a method for cooking vegetables that preserves the natural color and texture of vegetables.

Basically, blanching vegetables like broccolini (or carrots, broccoli, kale etc.) in generously salted water is the most low-tech cooking trick out there!

For this recipe, you’ll need a large saucepan or pot that holds at least four quarts of water along with a 1/4 cup of salt.

The quick prep involves slicing the flowering tops from the broccolini stems and cutting the stems into large bite-size pieces.

Divide any larger florets in half so everything will cook evenly.

How long to cook broccolini:

The cooking time for broccolini in boiling water is just two minutes.

Other broccolini cooking methods such as sautéing and roasting take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on how high the heat is.

As a matter of fact, I find that boiling broccolini and THEN roasting it is the key to get a perfectly cooked result.

Have you ever tried just tossing broccolini in a hot skillet with olive oil? I find that doing that results in uneven texture — florets end up overcooking while the stalks are still too crunchy.

Close up image of broccolini on a white surface with a towel.

What’s broccolini?

Great question! Broccolini is a green cruciferous vegetable with pencil-thick, elongated stems and a head of tightly clustered florets that look similar to broccoli rapini buds.

Broccolini is a type of brassica, just like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. But, even though broccolini is often called “baby broccoli”, it’s not actually broccoli.

You can find broccolini in your supermarket produce section or farmer’s markets, where it’s usually sold in bunches.

It’s a relatively new variety in the produce section, a circa 1980s Japanese hybrid developed by pollinating gai lan (a/k/a Chinese kale) and broccoli.

Image of broccolini in a wire mesh colander in a stainless steel sink.

Broccolini started out as a specialty vegetable, and has only recently become widely available in grocery stores in North America.

To tell the truth, I didn’t buy broccolini much at first. It came in very small bundles that were sometimes more than five dollars each, which seemed a bit pricey for family cooking!

Now that this delicious vegetable has become more mainstream in markets as well as more affordable, I’ve been cooking it regularly. If you haven’t cooked broccolini yet, now’s the time to try!

How broccolini tastes:

Broccolini has a mild, sweet flavor that’s really appealing. I think it tastes like a mixture of broccoli, asparagus and leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale.

It tastes delicious all on its own served as a side dish, added to stir-fries, pasta dishes or as a pizza topping.

Prepping broccolini for cooking:

Another great thing about broccolini is that all parts of it are edible.

I’ve seen recipes that cook broccolini the same way as broccoli florets.

But the problem with that method is that broccolini stalks might still be a bit crunchy and undercooked, while the tops are tender and done.

To get around that issue, simply slice the stems/stalks into smaller sections so they’ll be ready at the same time.

  1. Cut off about an inch from the base of the stalks and discard.
  2. Slice the florets away from the stalks.
  3. Slice any larger florets in half. Cut the stalks into bite-size (about 1/2-inch) pieces
  4. Boil in salty —very salty—water for 2 minutes. Done!

To meal-prep broccolini:

The beauty of this broccolini recipe is that you can use it as a base for other dishes you’re craving.

  • To make ahead, cook, drain and immediately rinse under cold running water to preserve the color. Drain again, place in a storage container and drizzle with olive oil. Store refrigerated up to 5 days.
  • When ready to cook, saute the broccolini for a minute or two in olive oil, along with any other seasonings you like (see below).
  • Want to roast broccolini? After tossing with olive oil spread out on a sheet pan and roast at 450 degrees or under the broiler until the edges are slightly charred.

Seasonings to add to broccolini:

  • Crushed or finely chopped garlic
  • Red chili flakes
  • Sliced roasted red peppers
  • Sesame oil, tamari and sesame seeds
  • Cheese: Try shaved or grated Parmesan, Cheddar, feta, goat cheese.
  • Melted butter

Try more simply delicious vegetable recipes!

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Quick and Easy Broccolini Recipe

Karen Tedesco
This is the easiest, basic way to cook broccolini recipe ever. Learn how to cook delicious broccolini to simple perfection in 2 minutes!
Print Pin
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine vegetables
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 2 large bunches (450 g) broccolini (1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 fresh lemon wedges

Instructions 

  • Bring 4-5 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan or pot . Add ¼ cup salt.
  • Prep the broccolini: Trim off the very bottom of the broccolini stems (about ½-inch). Slice off the florets. Halve any florets that are bigger than 3 inches wide. Slice the stalks into approximately 1 ½-2-inch pieces.
  • Drop the broccolini into the boiling water and cook 2 minutes. Drain immediately, then transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Pour the olive oil over the broccolini and toss gently with tongs. Squeeze the lemon wedges over. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • To make ahead, cook, drain and immediately rinse under cold running water to preserve the color. Drain again and drizzle with olive oil. Store refrigerated up to 5 days.
  • When ready to cook, sauté the broccolini for a minute or two in olive oil.
  • Want to roast broccolini? After tossing with olive oil spread out on a sheet pan and roast at 450 degrees or under the broiler until the edges are slightly charred.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 105kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1506IU | Vitamin C: 92mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Another amazing way to enjoy broccoli. I love how easy the recipe is and how inviting the result looks!

  2. 5 stars
    This broccoli looks perfectly cooked. Thank you for sharing your secrets. I’m going to give this recipe a try.

  3. 5 stars
    Quick and easy indeed! This was a great side to have with our dinner tonight. The lemon juice added a nice flavor to the broccolini too!

  4. Chef Dennis says:

    5 stars
    this was a perfect side dish to last nights grilled chicken!

  5. Patti@PattyCakesPantry says:

    Like you, I hadn’t purchased broccolini much because of the price, but I see it more often in the stores at a price I’m wiling to pay. I really appreciate your instructions to ensure that the stems are cooked without the florets becoming mushy.

  6. 5 stars
    Such a simple vegetable – I also boil it!

  7. Broccolini is nutritious and so easy to make, especially the boiling method for only two minutes. I love it roasted as well.

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe is so easy to make and the perfect healthy side dish to put alongside pasta or grilled chicken.

  9. Amanda Dixon says:

    5 stars
    This is such a great way to prepare broccolini! The fresh lemon added such a wonderful brightness, and it still had a nice crunch.

  10. 5 stars
    A great side dish for any meal. Healthy, vibrant, and easy to make.