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2-Minute Blanched Broccolini with Lemon

5 from 25 community reviews

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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.

Cooked broccolini and stems in a round gray serving bowl with serving spoons and lemon wedges.

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?

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.

About broccolini

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.

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

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:

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

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.

Image of broccolini in a wire mesh colander getting rinsed 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 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.

  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.
  5. 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!

2-Minute Blanched Broccolini with Lemon

Karen Tedesco
This is the easiest, quickest way to cook broccolini recipe ever. Learn how to cook delicious broccolini to simple perfection in 2 minutes!
Print Pin
5 from 25 community reviews
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine vegetables
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 105kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1506IU | Vitamin C: 92mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow. This was a revelation. After 2 minutes of blanching, I drained and tossed in lemon butter. My husband raved. I’ll never make it any other way.

  2. Gosh that seems a lot of salt, just curious if it tastes salty in the end result?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Susan – Thanks for your comment. I clarified in the recipe that the type of salt should be kosher, which isn’t as “salty” as fine table salt. 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

  3. 5 stars
    Another amazing way to enjoy broccoli. I love how easy the recipe is and how inviting the result looks!

  4. 5 stars
    This broccoli looks perfectly cooked. Thank you for sharing your secrets. I’m going to give this recipe a try.

  5. 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!

  6. Chef Dennis says:

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

  7. 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.

  8. 5 stars
    Such a simple vegetable – I also boil it!

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

  10. 5 stars
    This recipe is so easy to make and the perfect healthy side dish to put alongside pasta or grilled chicken.

  11. 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.

  12. 5 stars
    A great side dish for any meal. Healthy, vibrant, and easy to make.