This crispy smashed broccoli with parmesan on top is a side dish masterpiece! And it's always fun to make because there's smashing involved.
About This Recipe
This recipe transforms broccoli florets into little parmesan-covered crisps. It's hands-down my family's favorite way to eat broccoli.
The broccoli is boiled to soften it and then tossed with oil and seasonings. Then you get to smash it with the bottom of a cup and sprinkle parmesan on top.
Last, it's baked in the oven until each piece is charred to perfection.
The parmesan is creamy and melty; the broccoli is flavorful and crispy. This smashed broccoli is not your average side dish and it's always worth making.
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe. The full recipe and ingredient list can be found at the bottom of the page.
- 2 large heads of broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Here's how to make this recipe:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Salt a large pot of water with 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. The pot should have enough water to cover the broccoli.
- Once boiling, add the broccoli to the pot. Boil for 3-4 minutes, depending on the size of your broccoli. The broccoli should be tender when pierced with a fork but not cooked completely. Drain and let cool slightly.
- Add the broccoli to a baking sheet. Gently pat dry with paper towels or a kitchen towel.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the broccoli and then sprinkle the garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, and black pepper on top. Toss to coat.
- Lay the broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Using the bottom of a glass cup, smash each floret until they are about ½ inch thick or less.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese on each floret.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the parmesan is lightly browned and the broccoli is cooked.
- Serve immediately while warm.
Here's more information on the ingredients & popular substitutions for this recipe:
- Parmesan: This recipe calls for shredded parmesan, but you can substitute freshly grated parmesan. Use high-quality parmesan for the best flavor.
- Lemon: Add a squeeze of fresh lemon over the broccoli when you toss it with the olive oil to add acidity and freshness.
- Red pepper flakes: Season the broccoli with ¼ teaspoon (or more) of red pepper flakes for spice.
- Broccoli: Before boiling it, you'll want to chop your broccoli into bite-sized florets. If possible, keep your florets around the same size so that they bake evenly. Smaller florets will bake faster and get crispier. You can cut some of your large florets in half to make them smaller.
Frequently Asked Questions
It's not recommended to make smashed broccoli ahead of time because the broccoli will lose its crispiness as it sits.
Cut your broccoli into bite-sized florets. You can cut very large florets in half. Try to cut your florets into about the same size so that they cook evenly. Smaller florets will cook faster and will get crispier in the oven.
The broccoli is done when the parmesan cheese on top is browned and the broccoli is browned and crispy to your liking. Different sizes of broccoli will take longer to cook and reach different levels of crispiness.
Boil your broccoli for 3-4 minutes, depending on the size of your florets. The broccoli should be tender when pierced with a fork but not cooked all the way through. It needs to be tender enough to smash, but not so soft that it will fall apart.
How to Smash Broccoli
To smash the broccoli, you'll need a sturdy flat surface like the bottom of a glass cup, measuring cup, or mason jar.
Firmly and evenly press down on top of each broccoli floret until it is about ½ inch thick or less. The broccoli should flatten but not completely come apart.
If possible, try to flatten each floret to about the same thickness so that they cook evenly.
Smaller, flatter pieces will cook flatter and get crispier. Very small florets will be crispy like chips!
How to Store Leftovers
This smashed broccoli recipe is best enjoyed as soon as it comes out of the oven. As the broccoli cools, it will become less crispy and change texture.
If you do have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Even though leftovers will stay good in the fridge, they will lose their crispiness after an hour or two.
- Boiling the broccoli: Boil your broccoli for 3-4 minutes, depending on the size of your florets. The broccoli should be soft enough to smash, but not mushy (otherwise it will fall apart).
- Smashing the broccoli: Smash your broccoli until it's about ½ inch thick or less.
- For crispier broccoli: For crispier broccoli, use smaller florets and smash them until they are very flat. These will become crispy like chips.
Dipping Sauce Ideas
This recipe is absolutely tasty without any dipping sauce!
But if you do want to pair these with a sauce, here are a few ideas:
- Spicy Sriracha Mayo
- Creamy Tahini
- Honey Dijon