Sautéed Broccolini and Garlic is vibrant and delicious. You’ll love this easy side dish that comes together in under 10 minutes…that’s bursting with flavor and downright craveable. What? A nutritious green vegetable that easy to make and tastes incredible? Sign me up, STAT.
- Why you’ll love this sauteed broccolini recipe
- Ingredients and Substitutions
- How to choose broccoli
- How to trim Broccolini to cook
- Prep for Sautéed Broccolini with Garlic
- How to Sauté Broccolini
- Can you use this cooking method with other vegetables?
- Debra’s Pro Tips
- More Healthy Side Dish Recipes
- 📖 Recipe
Easy sautéed broccolini is just the tasty side dish we all need in our lives. It’s also my favorite way to make fresh broccolini. Simple ingredients like garlic and red chili flakes make this broccolini dish taste incredible.
Why you’ll love this sauteed broccolini recipe
- Quick and Easy: From fridge to table in under 10 minutes.
- Super tasty...yes, veggies can be fun and delicious!
- Simple ingredients let the baby broccoli shine.
- Veggie side dish that’s naturally vegan and gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy it.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Broccolini: You’ll need a couple bunches broccolini (also called baby broccoli) to make a pound. Substitute with regular broccoli. You can use the same cooking process for broccoli rabe, but keep in mind, it will be more bitter than the sweeter flavor of baby broccoli.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil helps with the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins in the broccolini. If you’re not using oil, sauté in water or veggie broth…but be sure to include some healthy fats from nuts, seeds or a drizzle of tahini.
- Garlic: For best results, use fresh garlic cloves. Otherwise, use garlic powder, not garlic salt. Mince the garlic cloves or use a microplane grater to grate and set aside until ready to cook, to allow the antimicrobial compounds to develop.
- Salt and Pepper: I use coarse grain sea salt and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes. For less heat, use freshly ground black pepper.
How to choose broccoli
No matter which type of broccoli you choose, the entire vegetable is edible. The florets have a sweeter flavor, the leaves contain the most antioxidants and the stems are loaded with fiber. Look for deep green or purple florets. Yellow flowers are edible but indicate a plant that was left in the field longer and may be more bitter.
- Regular broccoli: Calabrese broccoli (named for the town Calabria in Italy) is the most common broccoli found in grocery stores in the US. It has thick lighter green stalks and dark green, compact florets.
- Chinese broccoli: Also called gai lan or Chinese kale. Characterized by long stems and cabbage like big leaves that are dark green. It has high amounts of beta carotene and is a good source of Vitamin E.
- Baby broccoli: also called broccolini, is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has longer, thinner stalks and smaller florets than regular broccoli. It is generally milder, sweeter, softer and cooks more quickly than broccoli.
- Broccoli Rabe: also called rapini is known for being mostly stems and leaves with small buds that resemble florets. It’s known for its bitter taste.
- Romanesco broccoli: Romanesco looks a bit more like an artsy cauliflower, with more of a broccoli taste and nutritional profile.
How to trim Broccolini to cook
You will start to cook the slender stems before the smaller florets, so get out two separate bowls to place the different parts into as you trim.
Start by cutting the bottom third of the broccolini stems into ½″ pieces. These are pretty thin stalks, compared to regular broccoli stems.
Place the thicker, sliced stems into a small bowl and the thinner stems and smaller florets into another bowl.
Prep for Sautéed Broccolini with Garlic
Peel and mince the garlic cloves. Alternately use a microplane grater.
Measure out the oil and spices so you’re ready to cook before you heat the skillet.
How to Sauté Broccolini
Use medium-high heat to preheat your pan. You want to start with a hot skillet. Then add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the chopped stems.
Sprinkle on the sea salt and red pepper flakes and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring as you go.
Add the minced garlic all at once to the skillet, and reduce to medium heat.
Cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Garlic will be fragrant, but be careful not to let it burn.
Add the florets and thinner stems to the pan and drizzle on the remaining tablespoon olive oil.
Stir and cook for 2 minutes. The entire dish will turn bright green when done al dente.
Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm or at room temperature. The broccolini will continue to cook if left in the hot skillet.
Can you use this cooking method with other vegetables?
- The short answer is YES! Cutting off the stems and getting the cooking process started with that portion that is heartier first is an easy method to be sure the entire vegetable cooks evenly.
- Eye balling your green veggies to when they turn bright green to know they are done works well for me. Once they are darker in color, they’re overdone.
- Radish tops, turnip greens and beet greens are all edible. They are best cooked separately than the actual vegetable. Start by separating the leaves from their stems. Thinly chop the stems and let them start to get tender before adding the chopped leaves to the pan.
- Any leafy vegetable that has an inner stem can benefit from this cooking process. Think elephant (lacinato) kale, swiss chard, curly kale or collard greens. Remove the stem, thinly slice and sauté the ribs before adding the rest of the greens.
- Also, it is easy to accidentally burn garlic, so be sure to add it towards the end of the cooking process, and stir constantly once it’s added.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Broccolini cooks quickly because of the slender stems. The best way to cook it is on the stovetop. You can add a splash of water to the saute pan if it becomes dry, but there is no need to add cups of water and boil the broccolini.
- Serve with lemon wedges for those who like a citrus boost. I think it is one of the tastiest side dishes as is, so I wouldn’t add lemon juice to the entire dish.
- This is an easy side dish for a family dinner….place the cast iron skillet onto a trivet directly on the table and serve straight from the pan.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days. Enjoy cold, at room temperature or reheat in a hot skillet for 2 minutes.
You can adjust the seasonings in your broccolini recipe to go well with any main dish. Serve it alongside Italian stuffed peppers or vegan meatballs. Sauteed broccolini also tastes great as part of a nicoise salad or paired with mediterranean roasted eggplant.
The entire vegetable is edible. The stems of broccolini will take longer. tocook than the florets, so put them in the saute pan first to give them a headstart. They are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, so don’t throw them into the compost heap.
Yes! The entire vegetable is edible. The greens of broccolini are nutrient dense, with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Throw them in at the end of the cooking process to barely wilt.
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Sauteed Broccolini and Garlic
- 1 lb broccolini
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- Wash broccolini. Pat dry. Chop bottom third of the broccolini stems into ½" discs. Set aside. Leave tops intact, separating very large clusters. Set aside separately. Mince the garlic cloves.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and add chopped broccolini stems. Turn down to medium heat. Sprinkle with salt and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Continue to stir so they don't burn and add in the remaining tablespoon olive oil and the tops of the broccoli.
- Stir and cook for 2 minutes, until the broccolini turns bright green and the stems are tender, but not mushy.
- Serve immediately or plate and serve at room temperature.