This Charred Broccoli side dish is simple to make, and so delicious. Broccoli florets are charred and tossed with fresh lemon, toasted pine nuts, tangy pecorino cheese, and fresh basil. Leftovers keep beautifully too!

I can somehow get my two year old to eat this broccoli. That’s how tasty it is.

Charred Broccoli - in White Bowl with Pine Nuts and Cheese On Top

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that I almost always pick up from the store.

It’s cheap, nutritious, and whenever I’m feeling a bit too tired to do anything fancy with it, I can always fall back on reliably delicious roasted broccoli (or this wonderful Broccoli Salad).

This broccoli recipe looks fairly similar to roasted broccoli, except I char it under the broiler instead of roasting it, and then toss it with a few flavorful ingredients like toasted pine nuts, pecorino romano, basil, and fresh lemon.

What’s nice about using the broiler is the dry heat chars the outer bits of the broccoli florets to give lots of caramelized flavor, while the stalks remain crisp-tender in the way I love.

Burnt Broccoli - In White Bowl with Cheese and Pine Nuts

With all that said, you could very well use roasted broccoli here instead, or even grill the broccoli in the summertime.

Step by Step Overview:

First cut broccoli heads into florets, and space them out evenly onto a large rimmed baking sheet:

Broccoli Florets on sheet pan

The above spacing is a tad more crowded than I prefer, but there’s still some empty space between the florets so they have room for the steam to escape. Do not go beyond a single layer.

I find that one head of broccoli usually feeds about 2 people, and you can fit 3 small heads worth of florets on a half sheet pan.

Next, place the broccoli under the broiler, with your oven rack set just a few inches underneath. My broiler uses an actual flame, which give the edges of the florets a great char.

Cooking Broccoli in Oven Underneath Broiler

As I mentioned, you can also grill the broccoli, or roast the broccoli in a super hot oven to get the charred edges, but I find that the actual broiler gives a bigger contrast in texture than the other cooking methods.

Toss the broccoli a few times during the cooking process, so multiple sides get charred.

Charred Broccoli Florets with Burnt Tops Shown

15 minutes total is usually about right.

Place the charred broccoli into a large mixing bowl, then add a flavorful extra virgin olive oil:

Adding Olive Oil to Burnt Broccoli in Mixing Bowl

Next add lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and kosher salt:

Adding Lemon Juice and Zest to Mixing Bowl

Finally, add toasted pine nuts, pecorino romano cheese, and fresh basil leaves cut into strips:

Basil Pecorino Romano Cheese Added to Broccoli Florets In Bowl

Parmigiano reggiano cheese is another great flavor pairing with broccoli, but I think the pecorino romano goes better with the other flavors of this dish.

How do you toast the pine nuts?

Either cook them in a 350F oven for about 5 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant, or place in a large skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Toss everything together to combine, then place into a large bowl or serving platter. I like to sprinkle on some extra parmesan cheese to garnish:

Adding cheese over Broccoli Side Dish with pine nuts

You may also try some hot red pepper flakes on top, if you enjoy a little spice, or some fresh toasted bread crumbs for crunch.

For more broccoli recipes, I love this Broccoli Cheddar Soup when it’s chilly out, Chinese Beef and Broccoli for a quick dinner, and classic Broccoli Salad as well. Enjoy!

See the Vegetable Sides section of my recipe index for more side dish ideas like this. Happy cooking!

Recipe Tips and FAQ

What do you do with the broccoli stems?

The stems are often very tough, so I tend to discard them. However, you may try peeling the exterior of the broccoli stalks using a vegetable peeler, then cutting into sticks.

How do you store leftovers?

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. Or, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

Charred Broccoli in White Bowl with Pine Nuts and Cheese On Top

Charred Broccoli Side Dish

This Charred Broccoli side dish is delicious and simple to make, with flavors like fresh lemon, toasted pine nuts, tangy pecorino cheese, and fresh basil.

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  • 2 lbs broccoli florets (3 small heads)
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil*
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese plus another (optional) tablespoon for garnish
  • 10 large fresh basil leaves chopped or cut into chiffonade
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat broiler to high**, then spread the broccoli florets evenly on a sheet pan. Make sure you only have one single layer of broccoli.
  • Char the broccoli under the broiler, turning the broccoli every 5 minutes or so, until the edges of the broccoli are dark, but the stalks are still crisp tender. This should take about 15 minutes total, depending on the heat power of your broiler.
  • Place the charred broccoli in a large mixing bowl, then add the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, basil, salt, and pepper. 
  • Toss well to combine, then taste to see if any additional salt or seasoning is needed.
  • Serve the broccoli with extra pecorino romano cheese sprinkled on top. Enjoy!


*Many “extra virgin olive oils” are fake. Make sure to use a really good one here that has great flavor, it’s essential for the flavor of the dish. I like California Olive Ranch, and the Greek Kalamata from TJ’s is also excellent.
**Alternatively, you can 1) roast the broccoli in a 450 or even 500 degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes, watching closely until the florets are dark on the edges, and the stalks are crisp tender. You just have to be careful not to dry out the broccoli/overcook. Or 2) grill the broccoli for about 10-15 minutes, until the florets have a nice char on the edges but aren’t overcooked.


Calories: 208kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 390mg, Potassium: 511mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 960IU, Vitamin C: 134.9mg, Calcium: 115mg, Iron: 1.5mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.