Easy Broccolini

Broccolini & Garlic

I really want to thank all of you for the heart-warming, personal stories you shared about your proudest moment in the past year. I knew a question like that might provoke some really insightful answers, but you guys just blew me away by how honest you were. And I love honesty.

Speaking about being honest, I have to come clean and say that I used to have the unhealthiest diet as a child. Fish fingers, chicken nuggets, fries out of a bag, you named it, I had it. I was a weekly regular at McDonald’s in the space between catechism classes and evening Masses, because the chain had (conveniently) opened a spanking new outlet across the street from our church. Coincidence or God’s plan?

I balanced this wonderfully nutritious diet with my utter distaste for vegetables and the fact that the only part of the chicken I’d eat were the wings and the skin. Yes, that gelatinous, slivery skin off the breast of a perfectly steamed chicken, was my indulgence. It was Chicken Concentrate in a bite, full of flavor and easy to munch on, I was addicted to the stuff.


But this post isn’t about my unhealthy childhood obsession with chicken skin (which might cause a few of you to squirm in disgust by now), it’s about this gorgeous green vegetable called Broccolini, a product of Corporate Agriculture that’s actually healthy and delicious!

After a casual purchase one of our trips to the Farmers’ Market, we now stock up on it every week. Fresh, sweet and crunchy, the slender stalks don’t need much to be transformed into a tasty side dish – olive oil, garlic and some salt is all you need. We have this with anything and everything – grilled chicken, pork chops, quiche…..and even on it’s own. I have had a few broccolini-only lunches myself, because it’s so simple and delicious. And I also happen to be a big fan of garlic, so those caramelized chunks hiding in a moss of green florets are like little rewards for finally eating my greens.

Were you vegetable-averse as a child? What changed your mind?

Easy Broccolini Recipe with Caramelized Garlic
Serves 2 or one really hungry broccolini fan

This method is an adaptation of the Chinese stir-fry, where greens are cooked quickly, over high heat which intensifies flavor and maintains their crunch and color. The garlic is slowly caramelized in oil, giving it a golden brown surface while remaining pillowy soft, its intense flavors mellowed by an extended period in hot oil.

4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
ΒΌ to Β½ cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
Half a pound/ 228 grams of broccolini stalks, washed and drained
Pinch of salt

Heat a saucepan that’s at least 2 inches deep, add ΒΌ cup of the olive oil and the garlic, making sure that most of the cloves are submerged in the oil. Add more oil if needed. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cloves start to turn a light brown (about 8 minutes). Remove the garlic cloves with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Turn the heat back to high and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the broccolini to the pan in batches (be careful, it will splatter), and cover the pan for 30 seconds. Remove the lid, give the vegetables a quick stir, add more oil if needed to prevent them from sticking to the pan, cover and leave for another 30 seconds.

Remove the lid, stir again and season with salt, and cover the pot for one last time (another 30 seconds). Turn off the heat, sitr in the caramelized garlic cloves and serve piping hot with your main course.

Other broccolini recipes to try:


  1. Oh, Danielle: I was the queen of toaster strudels, pizza bites, hot pockets, corn dogs, and tater tots as a kid. Looking back, I have NO IDEA what my parents were thinking as they’re not at all that way now. But it was the 80’s I guess…I try not to think about how those were the formative years and the damage is probably already done πŸ™‚

    I love broccolini, too! Since I’ve been packing up my place, I’ve eaten more take-out than I usually do, so I”m excited to get back into the groove of farmer’s market veggies soon! Have a great weekend.

    • @Megan: I’m wondering the same thing about the food we had in the ’80s! I guess it was still a brave new world of convenience foods back then and we had front row seats. At least we know better now!

  2. When I stopped eating meat in junior high, I didn’t start eating vegetables, I just ate carbs. Fried carbs, baked carbs, boiled carbs, you name it. Also, I have yet to forgive my mother for only trying to feed us spinach in the form of frozen spinach souffle, bastard offspring of a factory and Swamp Thing.

    Years later I discovered that vegetables that taste like crap boiled taste like DELICIOUS MAGIC when roasted! Who knew?!?!

    • @Stacy: Haha, you cracked me up with your description of frozen spinach. I have heard many horror stories about that ingredient and Swamp Thing is spot-on! I love discovering new ways of preparing vegetables – makes it alot less boring to consume – and roasting is definitely one of my favorite methods. Although, roasted spinach….? πŸ˜‰

  3. I loved chicken skin too, the relatives still remind me of how I used to fight for the “plastic”. πŸ™‚

    I’m still not too hot about vegetables, though give me an Asian vegetable stir-fry any time. I guess I like them cooked but still crunchy and with a light sauce or with a sambal.

  4. It sounds like we might have grown up with the same parents. My parents allowed my siblings and I to eat at MCD, served platters of chicken wings and did not blink whenever I pulled the chicken skin off to gobble – I still do the last one. πŸ™‚

    This plate of baby broccoli looks delish!!! I love the picture of the garlic cloves, they resemble flower petals.

  5. When I was little, I wouldn’t eat anything unless I could dip it in ranch dressing. My parent’s hooked me on it trying to get me to eat vegetables, but then I wouldn’t eat anything (ANYTHING!) if I couldn’t dip it in ranch. For the most part, I find children have interesting food idiosyncracies. I didn’t like chicken that had skin on it. Or chicken that I had seen have skin on it, even if it were removed.

    I love love love broccoli, I’m going to have to try out broccolini.

    • @Dana: Yup, kids have their own world of food idiosyncrasies alright! I found the intense green of Chinese vegetables to be really icky and the moment I associated those green icky things with the word ‘vegetable’, it started a vegetable-less era for me.

  6. Felicia

    My dad gave me Snickers bars and chocolate milk for meals, or even a slice of bak kwa (Chinese pork jerky) for dinner. haha!

    I actually haven’t seen broccolini for sale around here. I shall keep my eyes peeled! (And I only like eating Chinese stir-fried veggies though…)

  7. outsideoslo

    I had a pretty adventurous palate as a child, but one of the few things I didn’t have a taste for was asparagus. Can you believe it? Now I love fresh asparagus in the springtime.

    In fact, I just got back from Europe, where the most amazing, tender, large, white asparagus was in season. Amazing! I

  8. Back when I was growing up it was Swanson TV dinners, canned stew and chili, fish sticks and Baby Burgers from A&W.

    I saw some broccolini just the other day and thought I should buy some and try it. Next time I’ll pick some up and try this recipe.

  9. El

    Thanks for this recipe. I had no idea how to use this veggie. As a kid? I liked basic veggies – carrots, corn, peas. Your basic Thanksgiving sampler. We hardly ate fast food but I did eat too much sugar cereal and too many Pop Tarts.

  10. What a delicious-looking plate of greens, and so easy to make!

    I’d like to suggest a variation though, that’ll use only 4-5 tbsp of oil. Steam the broccolini, and prepare the garlic oil in the same manner. When the garlic is browned, drizzle the hot oil over the steamed broccolini. Toss though & serve. (Learnt this technique from ‘From a Monastery Kitchen’ by Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette).

    And speaking of chicken skin- OMG. I still leave the skin on when I cook chicken because I love the flavour. And in Taiwan I came across a street vendor selling deep-fried chicken-skin tempura. Heart attack in a bag.

  11. @Felicia, Mrs L, El: Hope you enjoy this recipe – makes a great (light) side to any main course.

    @Meghan: I used to drink copious amounts of Coke as well, which probably explains my chubby teenaged years. Haven’t touched the stuff since I was 16!

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