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Talking about one of the most overlooked veggies out there today: broccolini ( or baby broccoli, depending on where you shop)! So the next time you are at the store or placing your grocery order, make sure some of this healthy green veggies jumps in your cart. You won't believe how easy it is to cook, and it feels downright special to eat.
Before we dive into cooking, there are some important things to address. Namely ...
What is broccolini?
SUPER IMPORTANT ITEM: It is NOT Broccoli Rabe. I'll go into this in more detail below the next photo!
Broccolini is a mix between regular ol' broccoli and Chinese Broccoli. It actually isn't "baby broccoli" at all ( sorry, quirky grocery chain from California. Y'all are totally mislabeling that stuff.)
The texture is VERY crunchy, and when roasted, the fluffy top parts get a nice little crisp, almost like something fried. YUM.
broccoli vs broccolini vs broccoli rabe vs Chinese Broccoli
Okay, so we've established that broccolini isn't broccoli rabe, and that it isn't just long broccoli either.
Broccoli is in the cabbage family, just like Brussels Sprouts. Seems like a stretch, doesn't it? Unless you've had the pleasure of overcooking either and noticed the similar, uh, fragrant result that filled your kitchen. Broccoli has a mild, buttery flavor when cooked.
Broccoli rabe, aka rapini, is in the turnip family. It is b-i-t-t-e-r, even when well cooked. Think of the flavor as something similar to turnip greens (which, well, it essentially is! )
Chinese Broccoli is in the same family as broccoli - it's leafier and longer than broccolini, but shares the same mild flavor as broccoli.
Broccolini is a mix of Chinese Broccoli and Broccoli. With their similar flavors, it means that broccolini keeps that same flavor, with a hybrid stem that is a little longer than regular broccoli, but not quite as chewy at the Chinese variety.
So how do we cook broccolini in the oven?
how to cook broccolini
Roasted broccolini ( aka broccolini cooked in the oven ), is really the most simple, and IMHO flavorful way to cook it. The raw texture of the broccolini holds up marvelously to a roast, and continues to keep well in the fridge even after dinner is long over.
To make roasted broccolini, you're going to want to get your oven relatively hot ( 425 degrees F), toss the broccolini in some olive oil, and then bake it until it starts to wilt and brown.
Be sure to scroll all the way down to see the full recipe! Or click here to jump straight to it:Jump to Recipe
I've also included a recipe for toasted breadcrumbs that really takes this baby broccoli recipe ( yeah yeah so that's not a real thing but let's indulge ourselves a little, shall we ) over the top.
If you like this broccolini recipe, you might also like these other healthy side dishes:
- Maple Roasted Carrots with Bacon
- Garlic Ginger Green Beans
- Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Onion
- 1 bunch broccolini ( roughly 6 - 8 ounces )
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
Toasted Panko ( optional )
- 3/4 cup panko or bread crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Trim about 1" off of each piece of broccolini to remove any rough ends.
- (You can do this directly on the sheet pan for easy clean up!) Drizzle the olive oil over the broccolini, season with the salt, and toss all to combine.Arrange in a single layer, without pieces touching if possible. Bake for 14 minutes, or until broccolini slightly tenderizes and starts to brown.
- As an added treat - I like to serve mine with warm toasted breadcrumbs. To make the breadcrumb topping ( which is totally optional but fantastic to make a weeknight side dish special ):Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium heat. Add the panko and garlic powder. Stir to combine, then continue to cook over medium heat stirring occasionally, until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Keep any eye on them! They can go from cooked to bunt quickly.Sprinkle about half of the breadcrumbs on top of the broccolini right before serving. Save the rest of the breadcrumbs for some pasta or to top fish or chicken later!