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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
15 minutes total is usually about right.
Place the charred broccoli into a large mixing bowl, then add a flavorful extra virgin olive oil:
Next add lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and kosher salt:
Finally, add toasted pine nuts, pecorino romano cheese, and fresh basil leaves cut into strips:
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:
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.
See the Vegetable Sides section of my recipe index for more side dish ideas like this. Happy cooking!
Recipe Tips and FAQ
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.
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Charred Broccoli Side Dish
- 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!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.