A healthy and easy tenderstem broccoli side dish is all you need to elevate your meal to another level! Gently boiled, and then pan-fried broccolini is the best quick way to cook this wonderful vegetable! A versatile recipe that goes with a range of meat, poultry and fish dishes, this is our go-to side dish when we’re looking for a flavoursome and nutritious sidekick that is ready in 10 minutes! Tenderstem Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon (and just a pinch of chilli flakes) may just become your favourite side this year!
Tenderstem Broccoli is one of our favourite vegetables to eat. It makes a simple side dish that you can serve with a bunch of different dishes, including roast dinner, Baked Salmon, Panko Chicken or (our favourite) Duck Leg Confit. Whilst we love boiling and then sauteeing our long stem broccoli, you can switch it up and make delicious Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli instead to add some crispy texture to your dinner plate.
What is Tenderstem Broccoli?
A hybrid of Chinese kale and standard broccoli is referred to by various names in different parts of the world. In the UK, it is most widely known as Tenderstem Broccoli (which is a trademarked name), whilst in the US and other countries, it is called Baby Broccoli or Broccolini. It is long-stem broccoli that has edible leaves, flower shoots and tender stems, and is a perfect no-waste vegetable. Flavour-wise, it is similar to regular broccoli itself, with slightly sweeter notes and a softer texture. Low in calories and high in Vitamin C, it is certainly a healthy and nutritious vegetable to use in your cooking.
How To Cook Tenderstem Broccoli?
I will be honest, there is no right or wrong answer here. Seb sometimes picks them up and eats them raw, when he cannot wait for dinner. But I much prefer this green vegetable cooked. And the choice is endless. Here are my favourite ways to cook Broccolini:
- Steam. It only takes about 4 minutes to cook in a colander placed above a simmering saucepan of water and covered with a lid ( a steam pan). Simply sprinkle some sea salt on top and serve.
- Fry. The best way to stir fry is in a wok. You may want to cut the long stems in half to speed up the process. Add a drizzle of your favourite oil (use sesame oil for an Asian-style side dish) and stir fry for 4-5 minutes on high heat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and red chilli flakes, and serve!
- Roast. Drizzle the tenderstem broccoli with some extra virgin olive oil (and add any seasoning or spices) and arrange on a large baking tray. Roast at 180° C Fan for approx 12-14 minutes. See the full Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli recipe.
We absolutely love the combination of lemon, garlic and chilli to go with broccoli (all ingredients and full method in the recipe card below), but there are other flavours that go very well.
- Drizzle cooked broccolini with balsamic reduction (or shop-bought balsamic glaze).
- Mix with crispy pancetta and sauteed onions.
- Mix with olive oil and Egyptian Dukkah and roast in the oven (the option we took in our Dukkah Roasted Vegetables with Spicy Couscous).
- Drizzle the top with Basil Pistou and some toasted pine nuts.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The cooking time of tenderstem broccoli depends on the cooking method, and of course on your own preference. We like our veggies to retain some crunch. A rough guide for cooking times for steaming, roasting and frying is in the text above.
Yes. It is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale that is known by different names across the world, including Broccolini, Tenderstem Broccoli and Baby Broccoli.
Absolutely! You may skip the chilli flakes altogether and still have a wonderfully flavoursome dish. Or you can add some very finely chopped red pepper if you’re looking for vibrant colours in your dish.
Yes! The beauty of this type of broccoli is that the stem cooks before the broccoli floret is overcooked. It’s perfectly edible and delicious! You may want to trim the bottoms of the woodier thick stems though.
What Goes Well With Tenderstem Broccoli?
Serve this great side dish with meat, poultry and fish. We absolutely love it with:
- Smoked Cheese & Chicken Risotto with Dukkah
- Baked Salmon With Mayo
- BBQ Pork Fillet
- Easter Lamb Stuffed with Apricots
- Slow-Cooker Duck Confit
Other Side Dishes To Try
If you like adding healthy and nutritious side dishes to your meals have a look at some of our favourite recipes below:
- Garlicky Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction
- Italian Cold Bean & Cherry Tomato Salad
- Asian-Style Broccoli Salad
- Spring Greens with Lemon & Thyme
Tenderstem Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon (Garlic Broccolini)
- 220 g tenderstem broccoli
- 2 fresh garlic cloves thinly sliced
- ½ lemon juice only
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- a pinch of chilli flakes
- Cut tenderstem spears into 4-5 cm pieces and place them in a large pan. Pour boiling water into the pan over broccoli and bring to a rapid boil. Cook for 1 minute, then drain in a colander. Your broccoli should soften but still retain most of its crunch.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and a pinch of chilli flakes. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli, season with a little bit of salt and black pepper, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Squeeze half a lemon juice over the broccoli and serve alongside your favourite main course.