Weeknight Sides: Broccolini
Broccolini, also referred to as “baby broccoli”, is a mix of classic broccoli and the popular Asian vegetable, gai lan. You can identify it by its long stalks and slightly smaller florets. Milder and a bit sweeter than broccoli, it’s a family-friendly vegetable that cooks quickly, making it an ideal vegetable for fast weeknight side dishes. Here, we’re showing you how to prep broccolini for cooking and sharing three simple side dish recipes.
Like broccoli, broccolini is packed with nutrients. It’s a source of essential minerals, including calcium and magnesium, vitamins A and C, fiber, and protein. Like others in the cruciferous family, broccoli contains the phytochemical sulforaphane, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that may be protective against cancers and may slow tumor growth.
How to Trim Broccolini
After rinsing the broccolini, trim off the bottom ½-inch from each stalk. To ensure even cooking, cut thicker stalks in half lengthwise.
Broccolini Side Dish Recipes
Roasted Broccolini with Lemon and Parmesan
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss 1 bunch Perfectly Imperfect broccolini (trimmed) with olive oil and season to taste with kosher salt and crushed red pepper flakes (optional). Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until just crisp tender. Remove from oven and dress with Perfectly Imperfect lemon juice or zest and grated Parmesan cheese.
Stir-Fried Broccolini and Carrots
Heat 1 ½ tablespoons neutral cooking oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 bunch Perfectly Imperfect broccolini (trimmed), 2 Perfectly Imperfect carrots (thinly sliced), and 1 small Perfectly Imperfect onion (sliced). Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Add a large garlic clove (thinly sliced) and a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger. Sauté for 1 minute, then add ¼ cup water. Once the water has evaporated, toss the vegetables with reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari and toasted sesame oil, to taste.
Steamed Broccolini with Cheddar
Add 1 bunch Perfectly Imperfect broccolini (trimmed) to a pan. Add enough water to cover the bottom by ½ inch (you can also set the broccolini in a steamer basket). Bring water to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the broccolini is just crisp tender, or until cooked to your liking (5 to 8 minutes). Drain water, then sprinkle with ¼ cup grated cheddar cheese. Cover and let stand 1 minute, or until cheese melts. Top with freshly cracked black pepper.
Watch How to Trim Broccolini
By Carolyn Hodges, MS, RDN