Perfect Sautéed Broccoli comes together in just 15 minutes and will become your go-to way of cooking broccoli. Never dried out, perfectly tender, and lightly charred, this broccoli will win over even the pickiest of eaters.
The BEST Way to Cook Broccoli
When I tell folks that broccoli is my favorite vegetable, I usually get looked at like I have two heads. However, once the skeptics try the method in which I cook it, it all makes sense. This way of cooking broccoli takes less than HALF the time as roasting, and it’s never dries out. Which is really the biggest downside of roasting any veggie, right? Roasting is a dry cooking technique, which, unfortunately, can rob food of its natural moisture.
This way of sautéing, however, also involves steaming, which traps in moisture. The result is crisp-tender broccoli florets that are lightly charred and perfectly crunchy. I keep the seasonings pretty basic with just salt and pepper, however I give suggestions later on fun spice combos. My favorite is lemon juice and garlic powder, which keep the broccoli incredibly versatile.
Either way, this way of cooking broccoli will entice even the pickiest veggie eaters.
How to Make Perfect Sautéed Broccoli
This recipe could not be simpler, and all you need is a large skillet WITH a lid. You can use a nonstick, stainless steel, or cast-iron pan—whatever you have on hand! And of course you need fresh broccoli, extra-virgin olive oil (or avocado oil), salt, and pepper. (Or, you can get wild with seasonings, which is always encouraged.) Regardless, the cooking method is the same. Here’s how it goes down:
- Chop one large head of broccoli into florets, aiming for similar size. I also like to cook the stems, however they are tougher than the florets. I suggest slicing them into bite-sized pieces to ensure they get adequately tender.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once the oil is shimmering, add broccoli florets, and season with salt and pepper. (Note: It’s important to wait to add the broccoli when the oil is HOT. Otherwise, it will absorb the oil and become greasy rather than using the oil as a cooking medium.)
- Cook the broccoli uncovered for 1 to 2 minutes, COVER it, and continue cooking for about 6 more minutes (8 minutes total). Lift the lid occasionally (every 1 to 2 minutes) to stir the broccoli and prevent burning. You want the florets to lightly char, which adds depth of flavor to the veggie. However if you let it go too far, it could end up tasting bitter.
- Stir 1 to 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, plus whichever additional flavor boosters and spices you like. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is always delicious, as is granulated garlic and chili flakes.
- Remove from heat and serve!
And in just 15 minutes, you have perfectly cooked broccoli ready to enjoy any which way you like!
Do You Have to Boil Broccoli Before Stir Frying?
Broccoli does NOT requiring boiling before sautéing or stir-frying IF you implement the steaming method. Trapping hot air in the pan is what helps soften the broccoli so it doesn’t just appear cooked on the outside. That’s not to say broccoli won’t cook if not covered, but it may run the risk of burning before becoming sufficiently tender.
It’s also important to note that boiling can cause some nutrients to leach out, like vitamin C. (Vitamin C is water-soluble and quite sensitive to heat.) Therefore, sautéing can help vegetables retain some of their more delicate nutrients.
Sautéed Broccoli Nutrition:
Broccoli is a nutrition powerhouse high in fiber, iron and vitamins A and C. It also offers a decent amount of potassium and folate—two nutrients most folks don’t get nearly enough of. And, fun fact: Frozen varieties contain about 35% more eye-healthy beta-carotene since they’re mostly florets. However I also have BIG love for broccoli stalks, which are a rich source of prebiotics.
And although broccoli is available all year, it peaks from October through April, which is when it’s richest in nutrients.
This sautéed broccoli recipe is as versatile as they come, and you can use any seasoning combo you like. It’s delicious with just salt and pepper, however I love switching up the spices based on what I’m serving it with. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Lemon juice and zest, plus granulated garlic.
- Freshly grated Parmesan and fresh minced garlic.
- Chili oil and goat cheese.
- Orange zest and fresh thyme.
- Chili powder and lime zest.
Once the broccoli is seasoned to your liking, serve it with your protein of choice! For example, baked fish, turkey burgers, crispy tofu, or roasted chicken. It’s also delicious tossed in risotto or pasta with white sauce, such as this creamy miso sauce.Give this simple side a try this week for a guaranteed family favorite. And be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!
Best Broccoli Recipes:
Perfect Sautéed Broccoli
- 1 large head broccoli
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
- 1 to 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- Cut head of broccoli into bite-sized florets (you should end up with around 6 cups). If using, slice stalk into 1/2-inch pieces, or save for another use. (Note: the stalk won't become as tender as the florets, however it's a great source of prebiotics and is delicious roasted!)
- Heat oil in a large skillet with a fitted lid over medium-high. Once oil is shimmering, add broccoli, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and cook, uncovered, 1 minute.
- Cover and continue cooking, lifting lid to stir every 1 to 2 minutes to prevent burning, until crisp-tender and lightly charred, about 8 minutes total. Stir in garlic powder and lemon juice, and remove from heat.