Charred Broccoli

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 - Broccoli Side Dish

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 side dish 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 - Charred Broccoli 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.

How to Make Charred Broccoli:

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

How to Cook Broccoli In Oven - 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.

Next, place the broccoli under the broiler. My broiler uses an actual flame, which give the edges of the florets a great char.

Cooking Broccoli in Oven

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 - How to Broil Broccoli

15 minutes total is usually about right.

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

Charred Broccoli Recipe - Adding Olive Oil to Burnt Broccoli

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

Charred Broccoli with Lemon Juice and Zest

Finally, add toasted pine nuts, pecorino romano cheese, and fresh basil:

Basil Pecorino Romano Broccoli Florets

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.

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

Broccoli Side Dish - Charred Broccoli with Pecorino and Pine Nuts

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!

Print Pin
5 from 5 votes

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.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword charred broccoli
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 208kcal

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

*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.

Nutrition

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