Sambal might be my new favorite sauce. There are a million different kinds, some sweet, some salty, some vinegary, but almost all are spicy. I recently bought a small jar of sambal oelek made by the same wonderful people who make my beloved sriracha sauce and I fell in love. This particular variety of sambal is very vinegary and very spicy. Sambal oelek is probably the variety that you’re most likely to find in grocery stores in the U.S. Look in the Asian section of large grocery stores or in ethnic markets. If you can’t find sambal, there may be something similar called “chili garlic sauce” which will also work (see a picture of chili garlic sauce in this post).
Anyway, I found this recipe while on break at work the other day. Someone had left behind an issue of Cooking Light and I found this wonderful Roasted Chile-Garlic Broccoli hiding in the back of the issue. I knew immediately that I had to make it.
As usual, I tweaked the recipe just a bit. First, I added a touch more brown sugar because I wanted to balance the heat of the sambal and I also wanted it to caramelize a on the broccoli and make just a hint of a sweet crust. It worked. Second, I reduced the sesame oil because, well, I was almost out of it. Plus, it is a little bit more expensive. Sesame oil is wonderfully potent so you only need a drop to add intense flavor. It can also be found in the Asian section of most major grocery stores in the U.S. Lastly, I reduced the garlic because I wanted the sambal to the the star of the show.
This broccoli turned out SO GOOD that I found myself snacking on it like I would chips or some other guilty pleasure. I will definitely be making this on a regular basis. It’s so easy that there’s just no excuse not to.
- 3 crowns broccoli (1.5-2 lbs) ($3.12)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.08)
- 1 tsp sesame oil ($0.12)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sambal ($0.42)
- 1 tsp brown sugar ($0.02)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp) ($0.06)
- salt to taste ($0.05)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the broccoli into “two bite” sized pieces. If the broccoli is cut too small, it may dry up too much in the oven. Too large and you’ll need to cook it longer.
- In a large bowl (big enough to hold all of the broccoli), combine the vegetable oil, sesame oil, sambal, garlic, and brown sugar. Stir until it is evenly combined. Add in the broccoli florets and stir until it is well coated in the sambal mixture (stir longer than you’d think and it will eventually coat the broccoli well).
- Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and then spread out the seasoned broccoli florets so they are in a single layer. Sprinkle the broccoli generously with salt.
- Roast in the oven for 25 minutes or until the broccoli is just softened but is still crisp in the center. The edges will be browned and slightly wilty. Eat it up!
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Step By Step Photos
Cut the broccoli into florets that are just larger than bite-sized. Too big and they won’t cook through, too small and they may dry out. Don’t stress too much about the size, you can just keep an eye on them in the oven and adjust the cooking time as needed.
In a really large bowl, combine the vegetable oil, sesame oil, sambal, garlic, and brown sugar. Stir until it is evenly combined.
Add the broccoli to the bowl and stir and stir and stir until the broccoli is well coated with the sambal mixture. Spread the broccoli out on a baking sheet coated in non-stick spray and then sprinkle generously with salt.
Cook it in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until the edges are wilty and brown. The broccoli will be slightly softened but will maintain a nice crunch in the center. And it will be wonderfully spicy and every so slightly sweet! Perfect!
Really excellent recipe. Made several times, and will make many more times, too
A bit oily, but dang so good!! It’s best fresh out of the oven, but I don’t eating it wilted the next day either. It’s hard to stop popping these guys.
Absolutely delicious. I had no sesame oil but used rice vinegar (rice vinegar and broccoli were made for each other) and didn’t bother with the garlic. INCREDIBLE.
My husband hates broccoli and loved this. Thanks so much! Always looking for new ways to make up veg.
Thanks for the tip Jessica! I want to make this, but am out of sesame oil. I’ll be trying it with the rice vinegar!
Update: I made this but totally forgot the rice vinegar and was still out of sesame oil. I also subbed in coconut palm sugar instead of brown. Wow – this was better than I could have imagined! Thanks for another awesome recipe!
This sounds delicious! I’ve got a huge bag of frozen broccoli waiting to be used, do you think I could make that work somehow?
I haven’t had great luck roasting frozen vegetables because they tend to have too much moisture, but some people still do it. :)
My first screw up. I cooked it with the Ginger Salmon since they both called for the same temperature and for about the same time. Let’s just say that the broccoli got a little bit too roasted. Note to self: Keep an eye on the broccoli while it’s roasting. The flavor still came through and it tasted great. Will try again separately not as a side so I can give it my full attention
I made the sauce and used it over steamed broccoli. I didn’t have time to roast and was a good option. Looking forward to roasting version!
So excited to see sambal oelek in your post! I’m Indonesian and I eat everything with sambal in it. questionable things included. Yum!
Spicy broccoli! One of my very favorites. This looks great; I might have to swing through my local spice market & pick up some sambal tomorrow.
WOW you’re good. But is it filling?
Depends how much you eat. This is more of a side or a snack to me, but if I ate the whole recipe I’d be quite full off dat fiber and oil.