This lemon parmesan smashed broccoli is the ultimate way to convert broccoli haters. It's tasty, healthy and dietitian approved!
As a dietitian and recipe developer, one of my favourite things to do is teach people to ENJOY vegetables. Healthy habits are way more sustainable when we enjoy them, so why not eat veggies that are both delicious and nutritious?
If you're not a broccoli fan, this smashed broccoli might change your mind. It's nothing like the bitter raw broccoli on veggies trays, or the bland rubbery boiled stuff. We use the same technique as smashed potatoes to create create the perfect side dish to any main course. Crispy, lemony and a little cheesey... what's not to love?
Why This Recipe Is Dietitian Approved
- No bitter flavours. I find that some people don't like the bitter taste from broccoli, but we're mellowing it out by roasting it with olive oil, then added fresh lemon and parmesan.
- High in vitamin C. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, which supports our immune system and healthy skin. Vitamin C can also improve the absorption of iron, making smashed broccoli a perfect side for any plant-based mains like vegan sloppy joes.
- Ready in 30 minutes. This recipe is easy and beginner friendly! A go-to for weeknight dinners.
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Lemon zest
- Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Steam broccoli until just tender (until broccoli can be pierced with a fork) about 3-4 minutes.
Once cooked, arrange broccoli on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and add garlic, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, lemon zest. Toss to combine.
Arrange broccoli in a single layer. Use the bottom of a cup or container to gently press down on the broccoli, flattening each floret.
Sprinkle Parmesan over the broccoli. Bake broccoli for about 10 minutes. To brown the cheese, broil the broccoli for 5 extra minutes.
Substitutions and Variations
To make gluten-free: This recipe is naturally gluten-free.
To make dairy-free/vegan: Use a dairy-free parmesan substitute or nutritional yeast.
To make nut-free: This recipe is naturally nut-free.
Switch up ingredients? Try these:
- Garlic: Swap for 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Fresh broccoli: Frozen broccoli can be used. If cooking straight from frozen, you will need to adjust the steaming time.
- Cheese: Make it extra cheesy by adding mozzarella, cheddar or another cheese of choice.
Smashed broccoli is best fresh. In the case of leftovers, it can last in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. For best results when reheating, I recommend broiling them in the oven for about 5 minutes.
For best results when smashing your broccoli- use the bottom of a glass and ensure the broccoli is soft enough (you should be able to pierce it fully with a fork) and gently press down!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes you can! If you are using frozen broccoli, you just need to steam it or defrost it prior to adding it to your air fryer basket. To cook in the air fryer, air fry at 400F for about 5 minutes!
No you do not! I personally find lemon helps contrast some of the slight bitter flavour broccoli has, however you can customize this recipe with any spices you choose!
Yes you can, To boil your broccoli- bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add in your broccoli florets and cook for about 3-5 minutes until the broccoli is soft enough to be pierced with a fork!
Yes you absolutely can! To make smashed cauliflower simply follow the same steps!
More Veggie Recipes
Want to eat more veggies this year? Try these recipes:
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make smashed broccoli, don't forget to snap a photo and tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it!
Lemon Parmesan Smashed Broccoli
- 500 g broccoli florets about 1 head
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ up freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Steam broccoli until just tender (until broccoli can be pierced with a fork) about 3-4 minutes.
- Once cooked, arrange broccoli on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and add garlic, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, lemon zest. Toss to combine.
- Arrange broccoli in a single layer. Use the bottom of a cup or container to gently press down on the broccoli, flattening each floret.
- Sprinkle Parmesan over the broccoli. Bake broccoli for about 10 minutes. To brown the cheese, broil the broccoli for 5 minutes. (Bake for 10 minutes, broil for 5).