Easy Broccoli With Garlic Recipe
If I had to nominate a vegetable as Greatest of All Time, broccoli would be my GOAT, for sure. It cooks quickly, is an excellent companion for all sorts of flavors, and walks that fine line between bitter and sweet with ease. Plus, I’ve found that it’s often a green veg that otherwise picky kids tolerate. And, oh yeah, it’s good for us! It’s a winner indeed, and this easy broccoli with garlic recipe from Bare Minimum Dinners is one of my very favorite ways to eat it.
For a long time my default method of cooking broccoli was to roast it (toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and cook at 425F for about 25 minutes). But lately—meaning the last two or three years—I’ve been into boiling, yes boiling, it. It’s basically how my Italian mother-in-law cooks the veg, and I love it so much. The broccoli is lush and garlicky; honestly I could eat the whole plate-full myself.
A few notes: For this recipe, you want the broccoli tender, not crisp-tender and not falling apart. After four minutes of boiling, sample a floret and see where you are. They might need another minute. You want your teeth to sink into them easily.
Also, using a pot and a small skillet for one side dish may feel excessive. But, I promise that the return you’ll get from that little skillet is worth the extra dish to wash.
Finally, I can already hear some people saying that steaming or even microwaving the broccoli would be better than boiling it because you preserve more nutrients that way. I have three thoughts on that. First, boiled broccoli just tastes better. Because you salt the water, the veg gets seasoned from the inside out, and that makes it a hundred times tastier than if you just sprinkled salt on top. Second, okay, maybe you lose some nutrients. But you’re still eating broccoli! A quick boil did not turn that vegetable into saltine crackers. It’s still packed with nutrition. Third, if you want to steam or microwave the broccoli, go for it. I am not the broccoli police. (Although I feel like I would be good at that job.)
(And when I say “everyday,” I don’t mean that’s it’s boring, but that I could eat it everyday!)
1 bunch broccoli, cut into slender florets with 1-2 inch stems
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
Flaky sea salt, optional
1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. (To determine if the water is well-salted, take a small sip. It should taste almost as salty as the sea.) Add the broccoli and cook until it’s tender to your liking, 4 to 5 minutes. Fish the broccoli out with a spider, slotted spoon, or fine-mesh sieve, gently shake off some water, and transfer to a shallow serving dish. (You could also drain it in a colander. I just do it this way so I won’t have to wash an extra dish.)
2. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the sliced or chopped garlic, a large pinch of salt, and the crushed red pepper, if using. Cook until the garlic is tender and no more than lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Pour the garlic oil over the broccoli. Top with flaky sea salt, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cooking Tip: This is a great side dish for pasta because you can use the pot of boiling water to cook noodles after you remove the broccoli!
BLW Tip: Since the broccoli is tender and cut into long thin pieces, this is one veggie side dish you can easily share with baby. A few modifications: only lightly salt the cooking water, chop the garlic (instead of slicing), and omit the crushed red pepper.
Salt Tips: I prefer Diamond Crystal kosher salt, but Morton’s will work too. Kosher salt is my everyday salt; it has a cleaner flavor than table salt, and is easier to sprinkle with your fingers. For flaky salt, I am a Maldon fan. It’s available at most grocery stores and elevates basically everything with zero effort.
Want more veggie side dishes like this easy broccoli with garlic recipe? Bare Minimum Dinners has a whole chapter of sides, including Spicy Oven Fries, Peels-On Roasted Cumin Carrots, White Beans with Sage, and Cheesy Cauliflower Rice, just to name a few.