Learn how to cook broccolini! Sauteed with garlic and red pepper flakes and served with lemon wedges for a squeeze, this is a delicious and easy side dish.
Ok, broccolini vs. broccoli. What are your thoughts?
As much as I love regular broccoli, I have to say…I am team broccolini! In fact, it’s one of my favorite vegetables to cook with. I think it’s very pretty, with bright green flowers and long, slender stems. It’s also easy to prepare and incredibly versatile. You can serve it as a side dish or add it frittatas, pastas, salads, and more. It’s available in many grocery stores year-round, so if you haven’t been cooking it, now is the time to start!
You can find my best tips for how to cook broccolini below, along with a simple sautéed broccolini recipe that you can serve as a side dish with almost anything. I hope they inspire you to cook this delicious vegetable more often!
What is broccolini?
But first thing’s first! What is broccolini, anyway?
Broccolini is also called “baby broccoli,” but the name is a slight misnomer. According to The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page, broccolini isn’t just miniature broccoli. Instead, it’s a cross between broccoli and gai-lan, a variety of Chinese broccoli. Although it tastes similar to broccoli, its flavor is milder and sweeter. And when you cook it well, the florets and stems have a wonderful crunchy-tender texture.
How to Cook Broccolini
There are many great ways for how to cook broccolini. I love to grill it and blanch it grain bowls and salads, but, when I want to serve it as a side dish, I usually saute it with garlic flakes and red pepper. Here’s how I do it:
- First, chop the broccolini. Cut off and discard the dry ends of the stems. If the stems are very thick, split them lengthwise. Leave any smaller, thinner stems whole.
- Next, heat a glug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add thinly sliced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds to infuse the oil with flavor.
- Then, add the broccolini and a little salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
- At this point, you will need to create steam in the pan to help soften the broccolini stems. Add a few tablespoons of water and cover the pan. If you don’t have a lid that fits your pan, a large baking sheet will do the trick!
- Reduce heat to medium-lowand cook, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and bright green.
Remove from heat and season with a large squeeze of lemon juice. That’s it!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Broccolini Recipe Serving Suggestions
This sautéed broccolini recipe is a delicious and easy side dish that goes with almost anything! To start, try pairing it with a simple cooked protein or one of these comforting recipes:
Leftovers store well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can enjoy them again as a side dish, either reheated or at room temperature, but they are a great starting point for a new meal. Throw them in sesame soba noodlesadd them to a grain bowlor use them in a clean-out-the-refrigerator frittata. As I said above, broccolini is a versatile veggie!
More Favorite Veggie Side Dishes
If you like this recipe, try one of these simple vegetable side dishes next:
This easy sautéed broccolini recipe is a perfect weeknight side dish! It’s ready in minutes, and it’s deliciously seasoned with garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon.
- 2 spoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch of broccolini, trimmed, halved lengthwise if thick (about 6 ounces)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus taste
- 2 spoon water
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds, then add the broccolini and salt and stir.
Cook, tossing occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the water, cover, reduce heat, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender and bright green.
Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and season to taste.