An easy recipe for delicious, tender-crisp steamed broccoli, dressed with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.
Broccoli is one of the vegetables I make regularly for my family. It’s an easy choice, because it’s nutritious, tasty, and everyone likes it (or at least tolerates it) – including The Picky Eater.
There are all kinds of fancy ways to prepare this vegetable, such as roasting and stir-frying. Caramelized roasted broccoli is delicious! But I often find that my favorite way to enjoy broccoli is simply to steam it, as long as it remains tender-crisp.
Steaming is an excellent cooking method
Limp broccoli? Not so good. But tender-crisp broccoli that remains bright-green, simply dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, is wonderful.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty side dish (the exact amounts are listed in the recipe card below):
Fresh broccoli: When I want to make my life super easy, I buy a bag of pre-washed broccoli florets.
Fresh lemon juice: It’s better than bottled. Fresher-tasting and more flavorful.
Olive oil: I love drizzling this tasty oil on top pf the broccoli. Extra-virgin tastes best.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use.
Garlic powder: Make sure it’s fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
How to steam broccoli
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Start by placing florets in a steamer basket. Steam them until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, quickly prepare the dressing by whisking together the remaining ingredients.
3. Toss the cooked broccoli florets with the dressing and serve.
The secret: steam for a short time
The key is to steam until tender-crisp and bright green. So minimal cooking is the secret. You want your broccoli to be a beautiful bright green, not an olive green, which means it’s overcooked.
Timing this dish when it’s part of a complete meal can be challenging. Sometimes I find that the broccoli is ready, but the rest of the meal isn’t.
It’s tempting to keep it warm by keeping it in the steaming basket, covered. But I think that’s a mistake. It’s better to enjoy crisp broccoli at room temperature than to suffer through mushy, limp, warm broccoli!
So as soon as the broccoli is ready, remove it onto a platter. Dress it with the olive oil-lemon dressing, loosely cover with foil, and serve when the rest of the meal is ready.
Unless you prefer broccoli with cheese sauce, in which case the broccoli should be the last thing you make. You want the cheese sauce warm and gooey.
What is a good seasoning for steamed broccoli?
Simple is best, in my opinion. I season this dish with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. That’s it! As long as the broccoli is nice and crisp, it’s going to be delicious even with just a sprinkle of salt.
You can use a little melted butter instead of olive oil. I’ve tried both versions and both are excellent.
What if I don’t own a steamer?
The easiest way is to use your microwave and make microwave broccoli, which is essentially broccoli steamed in the microwave.
Another option is to place the broccoli directly in one inch of boiling water. It’s not ideal, because some of it will actually boil rather than steam. But it’s probably better than completely submerging it in water.
How to serve steamed broccoli?
Can I keep the leftovers?
Yes. You can keep them in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave on 50% power. They won’t be as good as when served fresh, though. Sometimes I just add them cold to a salad.
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- 1 lb. fresh broccoli
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Add 1 inch of water to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Rinse the broccoli. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the stalks.
- Cut the broccoli into bite-size florets and pieces, and place ina steamer basket.
- Steam until tender-crisp. Start checking after 5 minutes. As soon as a fork can pierce the stalks, the broccoli is done. Even if the rest of the meal is not ready yet, remove the broccoli from the steamer onto a plate. Crisp steamed broccoli is delicious even at room temperature. Warm limp broccoli is not.
- While the broccoli is steaming, in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Place the steamed broccoli in a bowl. Pour the dressing on top and gently mix. Serve immediately.