For a quick, easy and healthy dinner side, make basic broccolini. In less than three minutes, plus the time to get water to a boil, you’ll have one of my weeknight go-to side dishes on the table. But don’t serve it plain. Add a drizzle of good oil, some herbs or spices and you have a versatile and delicious vegetable packed with nutrition. See the serving ideas list at the end of the post.
Broccolini or Broccolette – One in The Same
The woman standing next to me in the produce aisle looked puzzled. I was bagging up a couple of bundles of organic broccolini. I said “its really good! Have you ever tried it?” She shook her head, so I shared my simple directions on how to cook it. She smiled, grabbed her own bundles and happily went about her grocery shopping. I love to talk with people at the grocery store.
Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and a variety of Chinese kale. It comes in both banded bundles and wrapped packages. It’s also known by other names at the market, like broccolette or baby broccoli (which it is not). Broccolini has a subtly sweet, mild flavor similar to broccoli and asparagus. The stems are long and slender compared to broccoli, and they are tender when cooked so there is little waste. The entire stalk is edible.
A Superfood to Add to Your Diet
In terms of nutrition, both broccoli and kale are “superfoods”, foods high amounts of nutrients. They are nutritional powerhouses and highly beneficial to include in our diets.
Broccolini belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family. This group contains a chemical called sulforaphane which is an antioxidant. It exhibits anticancer, anti-diabetic, and antimicrobial properties and is high in vitamin C and fiber, just to name a few benefits. See links below for more information.
How to Prepare Basic Broccolini
To prepare, trim a little off the stems end and slice any thick spears from top to bottom into a thinner piece. That’s it. Drop trimmed spears into a big pan of boiling salted water for about 2 ½ minutes. Drain and remove to your plate. See dressing ideas below.
Ideas on How To Dress Basic Broccolini
- Asian flair – use a little toasted sesame oil. Sprinkle with Penzeys Szechuan Pepper Salt for extra flavor.
- Italian flair – use white truffle butter for an aromatic indulgence and white truffle salt and pepper. It’s amazing stuff that instantly transforms the simple into the extravagant. And a sprinkle of Parmesan would be good too.
- Citrus Flair – use lemon olive oil. Drizzle your broccolini with a lemon-flavored olive oil and sprinkle with Lemon Pepper. Add little chopped chives for additional flavor .
- Spicy Flair– use a chili oil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes or Piment D’Espelette
To Cook Ahead
To prepare broccolini ahead of time, cook broccolini for 2 minutes and shock in a bowl of ice water. Drain and refrigerate. When ready to eat, warm it up again in a hot sauté pan with your oil and, adding a little garlic or shallot for added pizzazz. That’s what I did this evening served with roast chicken breasts.
Basic Broccolini: A Fast and Healthy Side Dish
- 2 bundles broccolini or broccolette
- 1 tablespoon sea salt for the water
- extra virgin olive oil
- chopped fresh herbs
- grated Parmesan cheese
- non-dairy cheesy sprinkle recipe on this site
- crushed pink peppercorns
- hemp seeds
- pine nuts
- lemon zest
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While it’s coming to a boil, trim the broccolini. When water is boiling, add salt, about tablespoon to 4-5 quarts of water.
- Drop broccolini into boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes. Drain immediately and dress with salt, pepper, other seasonings and oil to taste.