Here’s a fun take on roasted broccoli! Regular roasted broccoli is forever and always one of my go-to side dishes, but this cheesy smashed broccoli recipe takes it up a few notches in the flavor and texture departments. Smashing the broccoli tenderizes it and provides a flatter surface for loading up with cheese. The method is slightly more involved, naturally, but it’s not too fussy.
Basically, we roast the broccoli until tender, smash it, top it with Parmesan cheese, and bake it for a few more minutes. The broccoli is tender, craggy and golden with crispy bits around the edges where the cheese meets the pan. A little sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional) and a squeeze of lemon juice really ramp up the flavor.
The results are not super crisp like French fries, but they’re nearly French fry-like in irresistibility. I have to stop myself before I eat the whole batch!
If you are a broccoli lover, this recipe is most certainly for you. If you have any broccoli-averse members of the household, this recipe might win them over. Serve it with dinner tonight?
How to Make Smashed Broccoli
Most recipes suggest steaming the broccoli until tender, then smashing it and roasting it. I found that it works just as well to roast the broccoli until tender, then smash it directly on the pan. This streamlined method saves a pot!
You’ll find the full recipe below, but here’s a brief rundown with tips:
- Line your large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. You must use parchment paper for this recipe to prevent the cheesy bits from sticking to the pan.
- Take care when cutting your florets. Ultimately, the florets should be about 2 to 3 inches wide and 1 inch thick or less.
- Toss the broccoli with olive oil, salt, onion powder and garlic powder. These simple seasonings offer a ton of flavor.
- Roast until the broccoli is easily pierced through by a fork, about 20 minutes. In the meanwhile, find a sturdy, heavy, flat-bottomed jar or glass to smash the broccoli with. I prefer to use a working jar for this purpose.
- Smash each broccoli until the stems splay out, then slide the jar forward to release the broccoli. Distribute the cheese over each floret and sprinkle the pan with red pepper flakes (optional) and black pepper. Be sure to use hand-grated Parmesan to avoid any additives that could interfere with melting.
- Bake until the cheese is nicely melted and turning golden around the edges. For a final blast of flavor, drizzle the broccoli with lemon juice. Serve while warm!
More Irresistible Broccoli Recipes
Here are just a few of the top broccoli recipes on the blog.
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Favorite Broccoli Salad
- Lemony Broccoli, Chickpea & Avocado Pita Sandwiches
- Parmesan Roasted Broccoli with Balsamic Drizzle
- Perfect Roasted Broccoli (check out the variations, too)
Please let me know how your smashed broccoli turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.Print
Cheesy Smashed Broccoli
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 1x
- Category: Side dish
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- Diet: Gluten Free
This smashed broccoli recipe is an irresistible riff on regular roasted broccoli! It’s cheesy, tender, and makes a great snack or side dish. Recipe yields 4 to 6 side servings.
- 1 bunch of broccoli (about 1 ½ pounds) or 16 ounces broccoli florets
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Scant ½ teaspoon fine salt, more to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 ounces (¾ cup) finely grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for a kick)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the cheese from sticking (parchment paper is key for this recipe!).
- To prepare the broccoli, cut the florets generously, using some stems to keep the little guys intact. First trim the stalk, then find a natural separation, then cut and turn and find another natural separation, and ultimately the florets should be about 2 to 3 inches wide and 1 inch thick or less. You might need to halve the really big florets to make this work.
- Place the broccoli florets on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the broccoli and sprinkle with the salt, garlic powder and onion powder. Toss until evenly coated (if you don’t have enough oil to lightly coat it all, then add another small splash). Arrange the broccoli in an even layer across the baking sheet.
- Roast the broccoli for 18 to 21 minutes, until the stems are easily pierced by a fork, then place it on a stable heat-safe surface. Use a sturdy, flat-bottomed jar or glass to smash each piece of broccoli, to the point that the stems splay out a bit. It works best to smash and then slide the jar forward to release the broccoli.
- Once each floret has been smashed, arrange them evenly across the pan again. Distribute the cheese over the broccoli, trying to center the cheese on each smashed broccoli. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using, and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper.
- Bake until the cheese is melted and the cheese on the pan is turning golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drizzle the lemon juice all over the warm broccoli, and promptly serve while warm. Leftovers will lose their crispness over time, but will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.
Make it dairy free/vegan: Omit the Parmesan and finish the dish with a hearty sprinkle of Easy Vegan Parmesan Cheese.