Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan

Simple and delicious. I don’t think there’s anything better than a recipe that is both simple and delicious.  Admittedly, I love to try complicated, time-consuming recipes partly for the challenge.  I also convince myself that a complicated recipe will taste better than a "simple" recipe.  I’ve realized, though, that complicated does not always equal better. So forget complicated, today we’re going simple... simple and delicious.

This recipe is so simple that I feel a bit odd calling it a recipe; rather it’s more of a method with one or two key embellishments. It’s Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan. I discovered this method a few years ago when I was home from college for the summer. It was back in the day when the only time I cooked in the kitchen was to make cookies, tomato soup from a can, grilled cheese, and Kraft macaroni and cheese. Really! That’s about all I made! That particular summer though, I discovered the Food Network and I began watching it every chance that I had. It was while watching it one day, that I saw Tyler Florence make a version of this on his show, Tyler’s Ultimate. Inspired, I got up off the couch, rummaged through the “crisper” drawer in the fridge and found some broccoli.  I then went to my mom who was working in the laundry room, and announced that I was going to “try something” for dinner and she needn't make a side.

Today, this is my most used recipe. Every time I buy broccoli (which is often), I make this recipe with at least one of the heads. The fact that I use this recipe so much speaks volumes for it because the recipe that I’ve made the most after this one, I’ve only made three times! I think that I use it so often because, in my opinion, it is the best way to prepare broccoli, and it’s the kind of recipe that once you do it one time, you’ll be able to do it again by memory every other time. Please give this recipe a try and use it often, it really is quite simple and quite delicious.

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan

Serves 2

For those of you who don't think you like broccoli because you've only had over-cooked, steamed, bland broccoli, you might be in for a surprise! I've had several non-broccoli lovers realize they really do like broccoli with this recipe! Also, feel free to add things to this recipe and play with it a bit to fit the meal or occasion. Toasted nuts, lemon zest, dried cranberries (for Thanksgiving or Christmas), dried chopped apricots, other roasted veggies, garlic, etc. would all make nice additions.

One large head of broccoli
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice (I estimate that I use around 2 tsp to 1 Tbsp)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

If I have them on hand I love to add toasted pine nuts as well

Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut off the stalk of the broccoli and cut the head into bite size florets. Spread florets onto a cookie sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Give everything a good toss with your hands, spread the broccoli out over the cookie sheet, and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your floret stems and the temperature of your oven. Turn florets over (they should be nicely browned where they were in contact with the pan) and gather the broccoli together in the center of the pan (in a single layer) to make a nice "bed" for the grated parmesan to land on. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top and replace back in oven for another 10 minutes (this will result in "crispy" cheese, if you only want the cheese melted reduce this second roasting time to five minutes and increase the first roasting time by five). When broccoli and cheese is to desired doneness, remove from oven, sprinkle on the lemon juice (and pine nuts if using) and serve. The cheese that missed the broccoli and fell on the pan is delicious too so don't hesitate to serve those crispy, crunchy morsels with the broccoli too!


  1. Hi Whitney, I'm a coworker of Dasha's and she sent me your blog because she knows I love food! I still need to try those tomatoes you raved about ... my mouth was watering reading about them. Your post on broccoli made me think about a similar dish I make that is so easy and so yummy, and healthy too. It's Roasted Broccoli and Shrimp ... I go heavy on the cayenne but I like spicy. Just thought I'd share. Enjoy! http://bit.ly/wONgK

  2. Hey K Bell,
    I'm glad you like the blog! You definitely should try the tomatoes! You don't have to use grape or cherry tomatoes either; I've discovered that Roma and just regular garden variety tomatoes work great if you halve or quarter them. I made a roasted tomato pasta sauce using regular tomatoes and then tossing them in the food processor for a quick whiz and ta-da, it's done!
    The roasted broccoli and shrimp recipe looks like a keeper too! Yum!