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THIS is my absolute favorite broccolini recipe! Learn the secret to cooking this nutritious and delicious veggie and you’ll be hooked.
Looking for an easy side dish that can be on the table in less than 15 minutes? 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?
- About broccolini
- What broccolini tastes like
- Prepping broccolini
- How to cook broccolini
- Broccolini cooking time
- Ideas for serving
Broccolini is a green cruciferous vegetable hybrid with pencil-thick, elongated stems and a head of tightly clustered florets that look similar to broccoli rapini buds and Chinese broccoli.
Is it related to broccoli? 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.
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.
How to cook perfectly tender 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 kosher salt. It may seem like a large amount, but the salt seasons the vegetable from the inside out, while assisting in preserving it’s bright green color.
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 boil 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 or making sautéed broccolini 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.
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 and serving it alongside chicken breasts with prosciutto or simple pasta dishes. If you haven’t cooked broccolini yet, now’s the time to try!
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.
- Cut off about an inch from the base of the stalks and discard.
- Slice the florets away from the stalks.
- Slice any larger florets in half. Cut the stalks into bite-size (about 1/2-inch) pieces
- Boil in salty —very salty—water for 2 minutes.
- Drizzle with olive oil and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Done!
To meal-prep broccolini:
The beauty of this broccolini recipe is that you can use it as a base or healthy side dish for other food you’re craving.
- To make ahead, cook, drain and immediately rinse under cold running water or ice water to preserve the bright green color. Drain again, place in an airtight container and drizzle with olive oil. Store refrigerated up to 5 days.
- Sauteed broccolini: When ready to cook, cook the broccolini in a large skillet for a minute or two in olive oil on medium-high heat, 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.
Seasoning ideas for broccolini
- Crushed or finely chopped garlic
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Sliced roasted red peppers
- Sesame oil, tamari and sesame seeds
- Cheese: Try shaved or grated Parmesan cheese, Cheddar, feta, goat cheese.
- Melted butter
Try more simply delicious vegetable recipes!
- Bowtie Pasta with Sausage and Broccolini
- Roasted Carrots with Cumin and Lime
- Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Salad
- 30+ Vegetable Side Dish Recipes
2-Minute Blanched Broccolini with Lemon
- Kosher salt, or 2 tablespoons fine table salt
- 2 large bunches (450 g) broccolini (1 pound)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 fresh lemon wedges
- Bring 4-6 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.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The amount of salt may seem like a lot, but I promise that it works. Blanching vegetables in salty water for just a minute or two helps to preserve the bright green color while lightly seasoning them. If you don’t have kosher salt, use half the amount of fine table salt (2 tablespoons) for 4-6 quarts of water.
- To prep ahead, cook, drain and immediately rinse the broccolini under cold running water to preserve the color. Drain again and drizzle with olive oil. Store refrigerated up to 5 days.
- When you’re ready to serve it, sauté the broccolini for a minute or two in olive oil.
- To roast blanched broccolini: After tossing with olive oil, spread it out on a sheet pan and roast at 450 degrees or under the broiler until the edges are slightly charred.