Broccoli has always been one of the greatest side dish ingredients of all time. Most kids don't like it very much, but I happened to be one kid who LOVED it. My mom served it to me, cooked in various ways, at least three times a week growing up.
Now that I have my own family, I still eat a lot of broccoli. It’s not just about the taste, either — broccoli is packed full of vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and high in fiber, plus it contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties. (Just don’t boil it — that saps a lot of the nutrition.)
Roasting broccoli, which is my favorite way to prepare it, both seals in the vitamins and minerals and brings out the complex flavor of this wonder vegetable. One of the great things about roasting is that you can change the flavor profile of a vegetable simply by using different seasonings and spices. Roasting makes it super easy to match broccoli to any kind of cuisine, including Asian, Italian, and Mediterranean.
The trick to making an awesome broccoli dish is to use the freshest bunch you can get. If you grow your own broccoli, like I do, be sure to pick it in the early morning for best flavor. (Harvested more than you can use in growing season? Blanch the extra for about 3 minutes, place it into freezer bags, and freeze for up to a year.)
Roasted Broccoli with Toasted Bread Crumbs and Pine Nuts is one of my family's all-time favorite broccoli recipes. The toasted bread crumbs and pine nuts give this dish both a special crunch and an earthiness that everyone seems to enjoy. I hope that you like it as much as we do!
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
- 2 pounds broccoli, rinsed and trimmed
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 to 3 pinches red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
- Splash good balsamic vinegar
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces and the stalks into very thin (1/8-inch) rounds. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine broccoli, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, bread crumbs, and olive oil; mix well.
- Spread broccoli mixture onto a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan to medium heat and toast pine nuts about 3 minutes.
- Remove broccoli from the oven, toss in the cheese and pine nuts, and place mixture in a serving dish. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the roasted broccoli and serve immediately.
Stacy Harris is pioneering the farm-to-fork eating movement that includes harvesting wild animals in addition to domesticated animals and homegrown fruits and vegetables. She’s the author of several books about sustainable living for healthy families, including her most recent release, Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living. For more recipes like this check out her website at GameandGarden.com and her Facebook page.