Learn how to cook broccolini! Sautéed with garlic and red pepper flakes and served with lemon wedges for squeezing, it’s a delicious, easy side dish.
Ok, broccolini vs broccoli. What are your thoughts?
As much as I love regular broccoli, I have to say…I’m team broccolini! In fact, it’s one of my favorite vegetables to cook with. I think it’s so pretty, with its bright green florets and long, slender stems. It’s also easy to prepare and incredibly versatile. You can serve it as a side dish or add it to frittatas, pastas, salads, and more. It’s available in many grocery stores year round, so if you’re not already cooking with it, now’s the time to start!
You can find my best tips for how to cook broccolini below, along with a simple sautéed broccolini recipe that you can serve as a side dish with just about anything. I hope they inspire you to cook this delicious veggie often!
What is broccolini?
But first thing’s first! What is broccolini, anyway?
Broccolini is also called “baby broccoli,” but the name is a slight misnomer. According to The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page, broccolini isn’t just miniature broccoli. Instead, it’s a cross between broccoli and gai-lan, a variety of Chinese broccoli. Though it tastes similar to broccoli, its flavor is milder and sweeter. And when you cook it well, the florets and stems have a fantastic crisp-tender texture.
How to Cook Broccolini
There are lots of great methods for how to cook broccolini. I love roasting it and blanching it for grain bowls and salads, but, when I want to serve it as a side dish, I typically sauté it with garlic and red pepper flakes. Here’s how I do it:
- First, trim the broccolini. Cut off and discard the dried ends of the stems. If the stalks are very thick, halve them lengthwise. Leave any smaller, slender stalks intact.
- Next, heat a glug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add thinly sliced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds to infuse the oil with flavor.
- Then, add the broccolini and a little salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, for 2 minutes.
- At this point, you’ll need to create steam in the pan to help the broccolini stems soften. Add a couple tablespoons of water and cover the pan. If you don’t have a lid that fits your pan, a large baking sheet will do the trick!
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the veggies are tender and bright green.
Remove from the heat and season with a big squeeze of lemon juice. That’s it!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Broccolini Recipe Serving Suggestions
This sautéed broccolini recipe is a delicious, easy side dish that goes well with almost anything! To start, try pairing it with a simply cooked protein or one of these comforting recipes:
Leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can enjoy them again as a side dish, either reheated or at room temperature, but they’re also a great starting point for a new meal. Toss them into sesame soba noodles, add them to a grain bowl, or use them in a clean-out-the-fridge frittata. Like I said above, broccolini is one versatile veggie!
More Favorite Veggie Side Dishes
If you love this recipe, try one of these simple vegetable side dishes next:
This easy sautéed broccolini recipe is a perfect weeknight side dish! It’s ready in minutes, and it’s deliciously seasoned with garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch broccolini, trimmed, halved lengthwise if thick (about 6 ounces)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Heat the olive oil in a large lidded skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds, then add the broccolini and salt and toss.
Cook, tossing occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the water, cover, reduce the heat, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until tender and bright green.
Remove from the heat, toss with the lemon juice, and season to taste.