Crack Broccoli

Roasted broccoli tossed with sliced toasted almonds, red pepper flakes, garlic, lemon juice, and aged pecorino cheese. Aka. ‘crack broccoli’. 

Crack Brocoli. Roasted broccoli with toasted almonds, lemon, red pepper flakes, and pecorino. This side dish is so addicting!

You guys. This roasted broccoli dish. It is absurdly addictive! Brace yourselves. I can easily consume a pound or two of broccoli in one sitting when it is prepared this way. Quite alarming, but true.

You all know how much I love my vegetables. I can’t go without them, but this is quite possibly the most tasty vegetable side dish on this blog. These charred green beans and these tarragon fingerling potatoes come in at a close second. Oh, and these roasted sprouts and squash. Gah, don’t make me choose!

If it helps, Connor is equally as obsessed with this broccoli (it is one of his favorite things that I make) and it has gotten rave reviews from lots of family members and friends.

Crack Brocoli. Roasted broccoli with toasted almonds, lemon, red pepper flakes, and pecorino. This side dish is so addicting!

If you’ve never roasted broccoli, you are missing out on the tastiest way to prepare it! If you’ve hated broccoli up to this point (confession: I never experienced this phase of life), give this recipe and method a try. I have an inkling that you’ll become a broccoli covert quite quickly.

It goes without saying that many vegetables taste better once caramelized and roasted in the oven. This isn’t ground breaking news, but broccoli is one of my all-time favorites.

Even more so than asparagus, carrots, and the other usual favorites. The broccoli florets get crispy and caramelized, and the normally flavorless stalks transform into addictive bites of heaven. I mean, really, you could stop right there…but once the roasted broccoli is mixed with toasted sliced almonds, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, and aged pecorino cheese – ugh, so good. 

We jokingly refer to it as crack broccoli for a reason.

Crack Brocoli. Roasted broccoli with toasted almonds, lemon, red pepper flakes, and pecorino. This side dish is so addicting!

So, here’s the deal. I actually posted a version of this dish a long time ago (read: multiple years ago), but I’ve adjusted and improved the recipe and felt it deserved new life!

New and improved recipe, new pictures, all good things. Most often, I like to move forward and share new recipes, but sometimes the old ones need some love and attention, you know?

Crack Brocoli. Roasted broccoli with toasted almonds, lemon, red pepper flakes, and pecorino. This side dish is so addicting!

My new favorite way to prepare this dish is to slice the broccoli into ‘steaks’. It gives the dish a better presentation, and the flat sides of the broccoli steaks allow the pieces to more evenly caramelize on the sheet pan. To make things easier, the raw sliced almonds are added to the sheet pan halfway through cooking. This makes things really easy, and eliminates the need to toast them separately in a skillet.

If you’re having difficulty slicing the broccoli into ‘steaks’- medium florets will also work. Just make sure your broccoli pieces are consistent in size (if the pieces vary in size, they will cook unevenly) and they are spread into an even, thin layer. Ideally when roasting, you want the vegetables not to touch each other on the sheet pan. Crowding will result in uneven cooking, less caramelization, and longer cook times.

It goes without being said that this recipe serves 3 to 4 people (in ‘normal’ world), but don’t be surprised if you find yourself consuming all of it in one sitting! SO ADDICTIVE.

Crack Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 1 and ½ pounds broccoli crowns (roughly 2 heads)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • large pinch of dried red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons raw, sliced almonds (with or without skin)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons freshly grated aged pecorino cheese
  • zest of half a lemon

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Trim any dry, tough ends of the broccoli crowns, leaving roughly 2-inches of stalk attached. Slice the broccoli into ½-inch-thick steaks, starting in the center of each broccoli crown and working out to the edges, reserving any small or medium florets that fall off for roasting. Slice any large remaining florets in half lengthwise.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, pressed garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the broccoli steaks and toss gently until evenly coated. Arrange the broccoli, cut-side down, on the lined sheet pan, setting them apart slightly. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. Roast the broccoli for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the broccoli, and sprinkle the almond slices evenly across the sheet pan. Roast for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is caramelized and tender, and the almond slices are toasted and golden.
  4. Transfer the broccoli to a platter, toss gently with the lemon juice and top with the grated cheese. Garnish with fresh lemon zest. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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