Growing up, I was a really picky eater. If it didn’t involve melted cheese or apple juice, I probably wasn’t interested. I surrounded myself with pizza, grilled cheese, and buttered pasta. There was one notable exception—raw broccoli, smothered in ranch dressing, was the only vegetable that got past my ironclad resolve.
Before you’re too amazed, please understand it wasn’t my love for broccoli that had me munching on this cruciferous vegetable…it was the ranch. Really, anything smothered in ranch tastes delicious (albeit, not altogether too healthy). As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned to like all kinds of vegetables, and broccoli is at the top of the list. After I taught myself some key techniques, I became the master of how to make broccoli taste good.
How to Make Broccoli Taste Good
It all starts with one simple thing: don’t overcook your broccoli. Cooking broccoli unlocks some of its nutrients, but overcooked broccoli depletes those nutrients and tastes terrible. It’s brown, unappetizing looking, and it’ll turn into mush as soon as you bite into it. This is the number one reason people don’t like broccoli, so let’s get that out of the way!
Next up, decide which cooking technique is best for you. Roasting adds depth of flavor, but blanching is a simple way to enjoy this fresh vegetable. All the details you need to know are below, so check it out and let us know which cooking method is your favorite!
Roasted broccoli has a beautifully caramelized color. Once it’s been roasted, you won’t believe that this broccoli is the same as that earthy, crunchy raw stuff! It becomes super sweet, rich, and almost creamy. The texture from the crispy edges are addictive, and they’ll have you going back in, bite after bite.
How to make it: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the broccoli into small florets and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast away in that hot oven for 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and delicious.
Blanching is the perfect way to eat raw broccoli without having to worry about all that crunching and chewing. When you blanch a vegetable, you’re essentially boiling it for a very brief period of time. Then, you shock it in cold water to stop the cooking process and lock in the flavor. This also sets the color of the vegetable, adds a nice tender-crisp texture, and activates broccoli’s many nutrients and vitamins.
How to make it: In a large stockpot, bring a gallon of salted water to a boil. Chop your broccoli into florets and add it in batches to the boiling water, being careful not to add so much that the water stops boiling. Cook for 30 seconds, until the color becomes bright green. Using a strainer, remove the broccoli to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Steaming broccoli also sets the color (like blanching), but it actually cooks the vegetable all the way through. It doesn’t need to steam for long – only about 5 minutes. The best part about steaming is the way the broccoli keeps its nutrition. When boiling broccoli, some of the nutrients are lost in the water, but steaming keeps those vitamins inside the vegetable so you can benefit from them.
How to make it: There are two ways to steam broccoli. The first involves setting up a steamer basket over boiling water. The second is as simple as cooking the broccoli in a skillet with a small amount of water. This way is ideal if you’re adding more ingredients after the broccoli has steamed. Either way, you’ll want to steam with the lid on for 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender all the way through. Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
My favorite way to prepare broccoli is sauteing it with a little olive oil, red pepper flakes, and salt. This gives it a little bit of roasted flavor while locking in that bright green color. Sometimes I like to give my broccoli a distinctively Asian flavor by swapping in sesame oil for the olive oil. Sauteeing broccoli makes an excellent side dish, or you can use this as the start of a pan sauce for pasta.
How to make it: In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until it is shimmering. Add the broccoli and toss to coat. Cook for 5 minutes, until the broccoli has turned bright green.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy broccoli? Let us know in the comments below, or post them on our Facebook page!