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Broccoletti

For a light side dish, saute long-stemmed broccoletti in olive oil with garlic, lemon zest, and spices. This pairs well with entrees like zucchini lasagna or baked chicken.

Broccoletti in a serving bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Pan-seared broccoletti is ready in 20 minutes, freeing you up to prepare the main entree.
  • All you need are bright, simple ingredients to flavor the vegetables.
  • The delicious side dish is naturally vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

What is Broccoletti (Broccolini)?

Broccoletti is a hybrid vegetable, a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli (Chinese kale), also known as gai-lan. It is similar to broccoli (in fact, it is called baby broccoli in some regions), but they have smaller florets and long, thin stems.

The leafy green vegetable goes by a number of names – broccolinibroccoli raberapinicime di rapa, or raab. Broccoletti takes longer to become tender than broccoli. They can also have tough and more fibrous stems. However, this recipe calls for blanching the broccoletti before pan-searing them with aromatics, causing them to become perfectly tender.

With small florets and long stalks, you can cook broccoletti like broccoli or kale – steamed, stir-fried, roasted, or sautéed. In Italian cuisine, the vegetable shines in pasta dishes like orecchiette, where the bitter, earthy taste complements creamy pasta recipes. Beyond pasta, it is a great addition to frittatas, quiches, and stir-fries.

It’s the perfect side dish for turmeric black pepper chickenpan-seared shrimp, or quick and easy baked Tuscan chicken.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Broccoletti: Similar to asparagus, prepare the vegetables beforehand by trimming 1-2 inches off the ends using a sharp knife. 
  • Olive Oil: Saute the aromatics and broccoletti in olive oil. You can also use butter or ghee.
  • Garlic: I suggest using two garlic cloves, but measure with your heart.
  • Spices: Season the bright green vegetables with salt and red pepper flakes for a little bit of heat.
  • Lemon: Finish the easy side dish with fresh lemon juice and zest. 

Additions and Substitutions

  • Blanch the greens in chicken stock or vegetable stock rather than water.
  • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar instead of freshly squeezed lemon juice for extra flavor.
  • Top the finished vegetables with freshly grated parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast if you prefer to keep the recipe vegan.
  • If you don’t have broccolini, use normal broccoli or Chinese broccoli.

Tools Used to Make this Recipe

Preparing this broccolini recipe requires a pot that is big enough to submerge the vegetables in water; this can be a stockpot, a Dutch oven, or a deep sauté pan. Additionally, you will need a stainless steel or nonstick skillet to sear the broccolini.

How to Make Broccoletti

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Bring a large saute pan or stockpot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice water.

Cut broccoletti in a bowl.

Step 2: Add the broccoletti to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes until bright green and tender.

Broccoletti blanching in a pot.

Step 3: Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoletti to the ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, drain the broccolini and pat them dry with paper towels to remove the excess water.

Broccoletti in an ice bowl.

Step 4: Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest; saute for 10 seconds.

Garlic and zest cooking in olive oil.

Step 5: Lower the heat to medium, and add the broccoletti in a single layer. Let them sear undisturbed for 3-4 minutes. Flip, and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Broccoletti searing in a pan.

Step 6: Transfer the seared broccolini to a serving platter and garnish with fresh lemon juice to serve.

Broccoletti in a serving bowl.

Expert Tips

  • Wash the broccolini under cold water and cut 1-2 inches off the bottom of the stalks to remove the tough, fibrous ends.
  • If the stalks are thick, consider cutting them in half lengthwise; this makes the pieces more manageable. Plus, they will saute faster.
  • For the best results, don’t let the pan get too hot or it will burn the garlic while you are sautéing the broccolini.

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Broccoletti in a serving bowl.

Serving Suggestions

What to do With the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate  Store the leftovers in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
  • Freeze – Let the vegetables cool and transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag. However, you should know the texture will change once frozen, so broccoletti is best served fresh.
  • Thaw – Defrost the vegetables in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat – Reheat the leftovers in the microwave in 30-second increments until warmed through, or warm it in a skillet with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is broccoletti the same as broccolini?

​Broccoletti and broccolini are alternate names for the same hybrid vegetable that is a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale.

What does it taste like?

Broccoletti is mild and has a sweet flavor compared to other cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli. People often compare the taste to asparagus, which makes sense.

More Vegetable Recipes:

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Broccoletti in a serving bowl.

Broccoletti

Tressa Jamil
For a light side dish, saute fresh broccoletti in olive oil with garlic, lemon zest, and spices. Pair it with entrees like casserole, chicken, or seafood.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 52 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 1 bunch broccoletti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • lemon juice, ½ lemon
Instructions
 
  • Bring a large saute pan or stockpot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice water.
  • Add the broccoletti to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes until bright green and tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoletti to the ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, drain the broccolini and pat them dry with paper towels to remove the excess water.
  • Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest; saute for 10 seconds.
  • Lower the heat to medium, and add the broccoletti in a single layer. Let them sear undisturbed for 3-4 minutes. Flip, and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Transfer the seared broccolini to a serving platter and garnish with fresh lemon juice to serve.
Notes
Expert Tips:
  • Wash the broccolini under cold water and cut 1-2 inches off the bottom of the stalks to remove the tough, fibrous ends.
  • If the stalks are thick, consider cutting them in half lengthwise; this makes the pieces more manageable. Plus, they will saute faster.
  • For the best results, don’t let the pan get too hot or it will burn the garlic while you are sautéing the broccolini.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 52 kcal | Carbohydrates: 4 g | Protein: 2 g | Fat: 4 g | Saturated Fat: 0.5 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g | Sodium: 598 mg | Potassium: 11 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 1 g | Vitamin A: 824 IU | Vitamin C: 40 mg | Calcium: 34 mg | Iron: 0.5 mg
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