Broccoli is a great all-purpose side dish, but when it’s not seasoned properly it can be kind of boring. When it comes to vegetables, broccoli included, you can never go wrong with a healthy dose of garlic and Parmesan! This quick skillet method for cooking Garlic Parmesan Broccoli is a nice alternative to oven roasting when you need dinner fast or don’t want to heat up the kitchen with a hot oven.
Why Cook Broccoli On the Stove Top Instead of Roasting?
This quick skillet method is great 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 also 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!
Don’t Toss the Stems!
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, peel the thicker skin off the bottom portion of the stem and cut it into thin spears (see the step by step photos below).
What to Serve with Garlic Parmesan Broccoli
This Quick Garlic Parmesan Broccoli combines my favorite flavors, garlic, lemon, and Parmesan, in one fast and easy dish. It would be great with any pasta, or meat dish. The flavors are quite versatile!
Easy Garlic Parmesan Broccoli
- 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 steam 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.
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How to Make Garlic Parmesan Broccoli – 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 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 (provided 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. ;)