I was originally going to make this Garlic Parmesan Broccoli roasted in the oven, but in the end I opted for a quick stove top steam + sauté for two reasons: it’s faster and it makes larger servings. What do I mean by that? Well, when you roast vegetables in the oven, they not only get really tasty, but they shrink a bit due to dehydration. I could easily eat an entire crown of roasted broccoli myself. When it’s steamed, the broccoli stays plump and fills you up faster. Gotta stretch those pennies any way you can!
Fresh broccoli is kind of on the expensive end of the vegetable spectrum around here, so the second trick I used to keep it cost effective is to include more of the stems. A lot of people tend to cut the florets right at the base where they join to the thick stalk, but that stem is actually pretty delicious, why not eat it? To help make it more tender, I peeled the thicker skin off the bottom portion of the stem and cut it into thin spears (see photos below).
This Quick Garlic Parmesan Broccoli combines my favorite flavors, garlic, lemon, and Parmesan, in one fast and easy dish. I served it with my Eggplant Parmesan Pasta this week, but it would be great with any pasta, or meat dish. The flavors are quite versatile!
Quick Garlic Parmesan Broccoli
Quick Garlic Parmesan Broccoli
This super fast Garlic Parmesan Broccoli highlights vibrant flavors like lemon, garlic, and Parmesan. Makes a great, quick side to any weeknight dinner!
- 2 crowns broccoli (approx. 1 lb.) $3.07
- 1 lemon $0.59
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (or butter) $0.32
- 2 cloves garlic $0.16
- 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.08
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste $0.05
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough skin from the lower portion of the thick broccoli stems. Cut the florets off the crown, including a 1 to 2-inch spear of stem on each (see photos below). Use a microplane, zester, or fine cheese grater to remove the yellow zest from the lemon. Set the zest aside.
Add one to two inches of water to the bottom of a medium sauce pot. Place a steaming basket in the pot, then add the broccoli. Place a lid on the pot and heat the water over high flame until it begins to steam. Steam the broccoli for about five minutes, or until it is bright green and can be pierced with a fork, but is still slightly crisp. Remove the broccoli from the heat and remove the lid to prevent further cooking.
While the broccoli is steaming, mince two cloves of garlic and add them to a large skillet along with the the olive oil. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for one to two minutes, or just until soft and fragrant. Turn the heat off if needed, to wait for the broccoli to finish steaming.
Once the broccoli is finished steaming, transfer it from the sauce pot to the skillet with the oil and garlic. Squeeze a small amount of lemon juice over top, then toss to coat in the infused oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked pepper, then top with grated parmesan and a pinch of the lemon zest.
OPTIONAL: Place the skillet under the broiler for a minute or two to toast the parmesan and crisp the edges of the broccoli, for a slightly nutty/smoky flavor. Make sure to only do this with an oven safe skillet.
Step by Step Photos
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the tougher skin from the lower portion of the stalks on two broccoli crowns (about 1 lb. total). You don’t have to be super technical about this part, so don’t worry if you can’t get in the nooks and crannies of the stalk.
Instead of cutting the florets off straight across where they attach to the stalk, cut down to create 1-2 inch spears with some of the stem attached. Cutting the spear section on the thin side and removing the tough skin will help it become tender during cooking (it’s usually more tough than the floret).
In preparation, remove the zest from the a lemon (you’ll only need 1/2 tsp or so) and mince two cloves of garlic.
Place 1-2 inches of water in the bottom of a sauce pot, then place a steaming basket inside. Add the broccoli to the basket, place the lid on the pot, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Steam the broccoli for about five minutes, or until you can pierce it with a fork, but it’s still slightly crisp (the cooking time will depend on the size of your spears).
While the broccoli is steaming, add 2 Tbsp olive oil (or butter, if you want it more rich) and the two cloves of minced garlic to a large skillet. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until it’s soft and fragrant. If you need to, turn off the heat until the broccoli is done steaming to prevent browning the garlic.
Once the broccoli is done steaming, transfer it from the basket to the skillet. The beauty of steaming is that the broccoli won’t be soaking wet and won’t add a bunch of water to the skillet. Squeeze a bit of the lemon juice over the broccoli, then toss it until it’s coated in the garlic infused oil.
Finally, season the broccoli to taste with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Top with 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan (yes, that is just ONE Tbsp of Parmesan in the photo! :D ), and a pinch of the lemon zest.
And that’s it! Ready to eat! If you want to take it one step further, you can pop the whole thing under the broiler for a minute or two (providing you’re using an oven safe skillet) to brown up the Parmesan and the edges of the broccoli. That will give the dish a nutty/smoky flavor.
Or just enjoy the full, fresh flavor just the way it is. ;)